About half of Americans believe they do not have enough money on hand to “make a major purchase, such as a car, appliance or furniture, or pay for a significant home repair” if they needed to, according to new research.
Gallup discloses this finding in a Gallup Daily tracking survey conducted throughout 2015. Based on responses from more than 44,500 Americans, the survey randomly polled adults, ages 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The report shows that high-income Americans are more likely than their lower-income counterparts to say they could handle such a financial situation, as would be expected. But 16 percent of those whose annual household income is $240,000 a year or more say they, too, wouldn’t be able to make a major purchase or handle a major repair.
In 2015, 51 percent of Americans said they would have enough money for a major purchase or repair, while 48 percent said they would not. These perceptions have not changed significantly in recent years. In 2011, the first full year in which Gallup asked the question, 50 percent said they would be able to handle a financial emergency.
Less than half of those with a household income below $48,000 a year say they would have enough money for an emergency. That percentage rises to three-quarters among those with an income of $90,000 to less than $120,000 a year, well above the national median income. The percentage tops out at 84 percent among those in the highest income category included in the analysis — those earning $240,000 or more.
7 in 10 have enough
The fact that half of Americans say they would not be able to make a major purchase does not mean that half don’t have enough money to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis. Responses to a separate question, asked of a different subgroup of respondents, show that 70 percent of Americans say they have enough money “to buy the things they need.”
Only those in the two lowest income groups — those whose household income is less than $24,000 a year — are below the 50 percent mark in saying they have enough money to buy what they need. The percentage rises to above 50 percent among those making $24,000 or more a year, and generally continues to climb across each increasing income group.