Study: Half of Americans Would Go Broke in a Month If They Lost Their Income

Old recliner on a street curb
via Wealth Gang

Imagine this: half of America standing precariously on the edge of a cliff, with the slightest gust of financial misfortune ready to blow them into a canyon of bankruptcy.

Sounds dramatic?

That’s the stark reality for many, according to a recent poll.

According to a new study on financial goals by Clever Real Estate, a significant 51% of Americans would be flung into financial turmoil within a month without their income. And for the 29%? It’s even more dire. Think of them as dancers on a melting ice stage, sliding into financial chaos in less than seven days.

Ah, 2023. It had all the promise of a fresh start.

2023’s Financial Goals: Where Dreams Met Reality

The Clever study paints a picture of America’s financial wish-list at the beginning of 2023: 49% hoped to rein in the spendthrift within, 42% envisioned a year tethered to their budgets, while a heartening 38% aspired to feather their emergency nest eggs.

Fast forward to now, and reality paints a different, less rosy picture. It’s as though they’ve been on a ship aiming for Treasure Island but found themselves marooned on Debt Desert. Almost 1 in 5 (18%, to be exact) not only missed the mark but didn’t even score a single financial goal.

Using the Clever study as our guide, we find that 40% of our financial adventurers discovered their savings reserves drying up instead of overflowing.

Picture the collective facepalm of 83% of Americans, reflecting on the missed opportunities and detours of 2023. It’s the equivalent of setting out for a scenic cross-country drive but somehow getting perpetually stuck in traffic jams.

The Homeownership Hurdle & The Illusion of Instant Wealth

On the topic of the great American dream, Clever’s study sheds a murky haze on the aspirations of those hopeful homeowners. A staggering 83% feel like homeownership is as elusive as catching a unicorn—mythical and just out of grasp. Of these, only 28% successfully navigated the hurdles, managing to plant a flag on their very own property plot.

Now, let’s indulge in some fantasy, inspired by Clever’s intriguing findings. Suppose a benevolent billionaire bestowed $10,000 on one-third of Americans.

Sounds like a game-changer, right?

Yet, this study’s insight uncovers that they’d still be left scrambling, the sum insufficient to meet their financial dreams. It’s akin to thinking you’ve struck oil, only to find it’s just a puddle.

The Clever study is based on responses from 1000 participants, so it’s not exactly a crystal ball prediction. And it’s not brimming with optimism. A massive 80% are apprehensive, the looming year casting long, anxiety-inducing shadows on their financial prospects.

So, if 2023 were a chapter in America’s fiscal tome, as portrayed by the Clever data, it might be labeled “The Year of Hopeful Miscalculations.”

As we prepare to turn the page, here’s hoping that 2024 provides a tale of resilience, recovery, and, yes, a tad more fiscal savvy.

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.