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The 2023
Cash Poor Report

The Total Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Living on the Edge

On the Edge: the financial realities of living paycheck to paycheck
$1900 is the annual average amount of unplanned expenses. 6% of Americans were unable to pay for an unplanned expense in the past year.
Most common causes of unplanned expenses: Auto Repair, 29%; Utilitiy Bill, 19%; Medical Bill, 17%; Home Repair, 14%; Pet Emergency, 9%; Funeral, 7%; Childcare, 5%
Lack of Resources for Cash Poor Americans: 3 in 5 of Americans have a bank account; 1 in 3 of Americans have a savings account; 1 in 4 of Americans have an investment account; 1/2 of Americans have a side hustle
Coping Strategies: Only a quarter of cash poor Americans can rely on savings or a credit card alone to pay for an unplanned expense.

No Room For Error

No Room For Error: The Consequences of Unexpected Expenses
Who Lives Paycheck to Paycheck? 30% of the US population (estimated) had an emergency need for cash in the past 12 months.
Lack of Resources: 2/5 cash poor Americans held less than $200 in their savings or checking accounts.
Costly Debt Options: Subprime credit cards and payday loans are the two most expensive debt products, with average fees of 41% and 33% of the principal borrowed. Subprime credit cards are 2x more costly than fintech solutions like BNPL, Cash Advance/EWA, and SoLo Funds.

The Great Divide

The Great Divide: Democratic Disparities in America’s Cash Poor
The Young and the Cashless: Two-Thirds of Millennials and Gen Xers have faced economic shocks resulting in stagnant earnings and higher debt burdens. Millennials and Gen X are more likely to be cash poor and experience unplanned expenses.
Living Paycheck to Paycheck: 53% of Cash Poor Americans identify as women. A significant number of Americans struggling financially have a household income of six-figures or higher.
The Income Divide: It is easy to assume that only those on low incomes are living paycheck to paycheck. 11%, income of $100,000 or more; 34%, income of $50,000 or more; 15%, income of $15,000 or less
Personal Circumstances: 23% of Americans are a caretakers for someone in their life. 2 in 5 Americans say they have a health condition or disability that has affected them for more than 12 months.
The Diversity of Financial Hardship: 24% identify as Hispanic, Latinx or of Spanish origin. Gen Z may yet come to experience the same financial circumstances as the generations before them, as they are currently the minority (14%) of cash poor Americans.

The 2023 Cash Poor Report

It’s no secret that many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. With inflation on the rise, families are doing what they must to make ends meet. But what happens when an emergency occurs? A new term for lending, Total Cost Rate, removes the fluff to provide a real look at what people must pay when dealing with unplanned expenses. To help explain this in detail, SoLo Funds commissioned a study by research firms Opinium and the Center for Economic Business and Research (CEBR). The resulting report, authored by Professor Melody Harvey from the University of Wisconsin, determines the total cost of borrowing for common options to cover unplanned expenses. This report looks at “cash-poor” households, those that live paycheck to paycheck, and includes a sample size of 2,000 U.S. adults. Consumers deserve to understand how much borrowing truly costs and what options they have.

Unplanned expenses are like a wrench being thrown in the works.
Male, 46, California
Along with my current part-time job, I’ve started to door dash for extra income. It’s still a work in progress to save and plan.
Female, 55, Texas
My family has been struggling, we have all been working very hard for money, but our youngest daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia. It’s been so expensive for the treatments and medication to help her out, and I’m not sure if we can pay it all off.
Female, 27, Kansas
I had to make repairs on our one car so we could go back and forth to work. The money spent on the car caused me to take money away from other bills which then made them late and caused a lot of worry and anxiety over paying that back.
Male, 37, Pennsylvania
I was my mother's caretaker and, in the last two years of her life, couldn't work. Went through my savings and, upon her death, had to face the expenses of it, the funeral, and trying to hang onto my home, which is a 5-acre farm and apiary I built to help supplement my income. I almost lost it twice and still struggling. I don't know what the future holds.
Male, 58, Tennessee
Don’t like to owe money or pay interest but had to, makes me upset to put money on a charge card that I can’t pay off every month.
Female, 68, Indiana
The 2023 Cash Poor Report: The Total Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck. The 2023 Cash Poor Report: The Total Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck.
The 2023 Cash Poor Report: The Total Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck. The 2023 Cash Poor Report: The Total Cost of Living Paycheck to Paycheck.