44% of U.S. families live week-to-week

Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- About 44 percent of U.S. households have almost no savings to cushion a job loss, health crisis or other income-depleting emergency, a non-profit group says.

The 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard by Corporation for Enterprise Development said these families lack adequate savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for three months if they suffer a loss of stable income.

Included in this group are the Americans who live below the official income poverty line of $23,050 for a family of four and 26 percent of households earning $55,465 to $90,000 a year.

Because these Americans are struggling to cover daily expenses, they have limited savings, high debt, bad credit and little ability to save for college, buy a home or set aside money for retirement, the scorecard said.

"In order to cope with the recession's continued impact, these families have had to prioritize today's expenses over tomorrow's goals," Andrea Levere, president of Corporation for Enterprise Development, said in a statement.

The Scorecard also found that white households have 10 times the median net worth of households of color -- $110,973 and $10,824, respectively. The home ownership rate for white households was 72 percent, while 46 percent of households of color owned a home.

For the second year in a row, more than half -- 56.4 percent -- of consumers have sub-prime credit rates, meaning they do not qualify for short-term credit at "prime" rates, making them more likely to turn to high-cost payday, auto-title or installment loans, the scorecard said.

Two out of every three college graduates left school with student loan debt, the average amount of which increased by $553 over last year's to total $26,600, Levere said.

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