I don’t like seeing people struggle to make ends meet, but unfortunately, that’s part of the reality going on in today’s world. So what happens when nobody can afford to live?
In that case, people have to rely on family or friends for financial support. Or even worse, seek government assistance if unemployed.
Most people end up working multiple jobs in that situation, living with others, or even going homeless.
In this post, I will go over some of the contributing causes of this issue. Also, I’ll break down some scenarios where being in survival mode can be difficult as well.
I’ll go over my best solution that people should do if they’re struggling financially, and why it’s better for you as well.
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- How Can People Afford To Live?
- Causes Contributing To The Issue
- Living On The Brink: Scenarios To Meet Survival Mode
- What Is The Best Solution To This Problem?
How can people afford to live?
When struggling to make ends meet, it can be a challenge when the cost of living goes up. It’s still an issue with inflation being relatively high.
For many people, living paycheck to paycheck means relying on every single one to cover basic expenses- until the next one arrives.
That can be a stressful and precarious way to manage finances- unexpected expenses or a loss of income can quickly lead to financial hardship.
Here are some of the latest statistics outlining the financial numbers in the United States.
- According to a CNBC Money Survey, less than 60% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.
- On the other hand, 70% of them felt financially stressed out
Also, around 73% of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck as well. That’s an even more alarming number to think about in general.
Those are some alarming numbers to think about. It shows that the cost of living is going up in the currently inflationary environment being confronted.
|Americans living paycheck to paycheck||58% (CNBC Money Survey, 2023)|
|Americans under financial stress||70% (CNBC Money Survey, 2023)|
|Millennials living paycheck to paycheck||73% (PYMNTS, 2023)|
What happens when nobody can afford to live?
People have to rely on family or friends for financial support, or worse, seek government assistance if unemployed.
A lot of people end up working multiple jobs in that situation, living with others, or possibly going homeless.
Causes contributing to the issue
There are a few things to note that contribute to the increased cost of living. It’s high for a lot of people.
As of March 2023, the Consumer Price Index is around 5%- according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics.
So the price of goods and services has been going up, including energy costs, food, and used cars.
The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour, which has stayed the same since 2009. If you made that much today, you’re technically living in poverty.
Most places in the U.S. likely pay hourly wages at $10 or more an hour. Or more recently, there’s been a call for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
There’s not one single state where a person working full-time at the minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment at a fair market rent.
More than 10 million renters in the US pay more than 50% of their income on housing- according to the Joint Center For Housing Studies at Harvard University.
Usually, the rule of thumb is to pay between 25-30% of your gross income on housing. Anything higher than that is too much, as there are other expenses you have to consider as well.
How do I know if I can afford to live on my own?
One of the biggest indicators is when your income exceeds your living expenses; in other words, you’re spending less than you make each month.
In that case, you have a nice cushion of money left over to save or invest in areas that you know best.
That’s the best path to financial success.
Living on the brink: Scenarios to meet survival mode
Many Americans have to work more than one job to make ends meet. It’s an unfortunate reality to go through.
For example, a single parent working a minimum-wage job may struggle to afford basic expenses. In that case, taking on a second job can be necessary to make up the difference.
Other things that contribute to being in “survival mode” include medical bills, student loan debt, and high rent costs.
A relevant article from notimekillers.com
Read next on “What Is The Key To Financial Success? My Best Tip“, to learn more about which tip can help you succeed financially.
What is the best solution to this problem?
I could list out the most common solutions that are often said over and over again.
Raising the minimum wage, providing universal healthcare, or a universal basic income sound nice in the short run.
However, these are not the best solutions for addressing the long-term problems. I won’t go into too much detail, but the consequences of implementing these policies can be detrimental.
When it comes to the external causes and factors, none of that is in your control. Again, they don’t address the long-term implications of what can come about it.
What to do if you can’t afford to live on your own?
The best thing to do is to live with family or friends for the time being. In the meantime, find a way to earn income so that you can afford to pay living expenses.
Also, use your spare time to invest in yourself; for example, learn a new skill that can help you earn more income and make you more valuable down the road.
What can you do?
If you’re employed and struggling to make ends meet, there are a few things you can change to get on the right track.
Especially when it comes to personal finance, there are three things you can start doing to improve your situation.
Spend less than you make
You don’t want to eat up your entire paycheck in a short period of time. You want to have some money left over to use for other things besides living expenses.
For example, if you make $50,000 a year as an employee, can you find a way to cut that salary in half?
How can you live off $25,000 a year instead? I know that can be uncomfortable, but it’s good to look at reducing your expenses as much as possible.
Save a little money aside
It’s good to put some money into an emergency savings fund (for the in case s–t happens to you moments). Even putting away $50 a month helps, and it can add up over time.
Invest the rest in things you understand
The most important step is to invest whatever money you have leftover into things you understand.
If there’s not an area that you understand well, that’s fine. In that case, invest in yourself.
When you have little to no money to invest in, what you do have is time. When you have spare time to invest in, that’s where you want to make the most out of learning new things.
What can you learn now?
Even if you have little money to spend, you can still do searches on Google or YouTube to learn new information.
Sure, you can get most of the information for free, so you want to keep that in mind. But still, you can easily learn a new skill via a Google search (i.e. article) or a video on YouTube.
If you’re into video editing and want to make videos on YouTube, take the time to learn how to make YouTube videos.
Or look into short-form videos. YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok are all platforms where short-form videos are popular at the moment.
That can be an opportunity to make additional income, or even start your own business someday.
Whatever you decide to do, there are great opportunities to take advantage of ahead.
Curious to learn the basics of building a blog (or starting a YouTube channel)? Check out my top recommendation for getting started.
Open up a free starter account and give it a test drive to see if it fits you.
Questions to ask yourself
- Are you struggling to make ends meet?
- Do you find yourself relying on others to financially support you?
- Is it hard for you to cut back on spending when living paycheck to paycheck?
- Will you take the time to control the source of your income, so as to have a better future?
These numbers regarding the financial health of Americans are very concerning. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it won’t get better.
These external problems will still exist for some time, and there’s not much you as an individual can do about it.
Luckily, you can change course by looking to focus on yourself. If that’s learning a new skill or starting your own business, it can be a worthwhile adventure to go into.
Whatever you do, it’s best that you do something sooner than later. The sooner you start, the better you’ll improve your situation in the long run.
Your Turn: Will you take charge of gaining financial independence?
I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Are you alarmed at the recent statistics regarding the financial health of Americans?
Do you find yourself in a similar situation right now? If so, what can you do to improve your situation?
Will you take charge of your financial future today?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.