Survey: Nearly 80% of U.S. workers are living paycheck to paycheck

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Jazandra Barros is a nutrition educator in Providence living paycheck to paycheck.

“You get the paycheck and then it’s what’s priority and what can wait and then by the second day after you’ve gotten the paycheck it’s gone,” Barros said.

Barros is like 78 percent of American workers who say they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, according to a new CareerBuilder.com survey. That’s up from 75 percent last year.

“The trend is continuing and we expect it to go forward,” Careerbuilder’s Michael Erwin told CBS News.

Survey Highlights:

  • 78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet
  • Nearly one in 10 workers making $100,000+ live paycheck to paycheck
  • More than 1 in 4 workers do not set aside any savings each month
  • Nearly 3 in 4 workers say they are in debt today – more than half think they will always be
  • More than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet

Donald Sowa of the Sowa Financial Group said it’s possible to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

“If you’re actually paying yourself and treating your savings as if it’s a bill, like your utility bill or your taxes or any of those things, then you will have a disciplined savings plan and it will accumulate faster than you think,” Sowa said.

But workers will have to make tough decisions.

“You’re going to have to give up something,” Sowa said. “The first thing you have to look at in your budget is what we call fixed expenses, these are things you have no choice over. Now, everything other than that is discretionary.”

“List all of these discretionary items and then number them 1 through 10 in the order of absolute importance, and then figure on giving up numbers 9 and 10,” Sowa added.

Careerbuilder’s survey found there are plenty of things people aren’t willing to give up regardless of financial concerns, including a home internet connection and smartphone.

“For me, it’s going out to eat once in a while, just to treat yourself,” Barros said.