Four in 10 American adults would struggle to find $400 to cover an unexpected expense, according to a new Federal Reserve survey.
About 27 percent of people said they’d borrow money or sell something to pay for the $400 expense, while 12 percent couldn’t cover the cost at all, according to a 2018 Fed survey that was released Thursday.
The survey of 11,316 adults found that 61 percent could cover a surprise expense with cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement. That’s up from 50 percent in 2013, the first year the Fed conducted the survey.
“Many families have experienced substantial gains since the survey began in 2013, in line with the nation’s ongoing economic expansion during that period,” the report said. “Even so, another year of economic expansion and the low national unemployment rates did little to narrow the persistent economic disparities by race, education, and geography.”
For example, 87 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are doing at least ok, while just 64 percent of those with a high school degree or less said the same. Two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics said they are doing at least ok financially, compared to nearly 8 in 10 whites. More than half of adults living in rural areas rated the economy as at least good, less than the two-thirds of those who live in urban areas.