New research finds most Americans are unprepared to weather a financial crisis.
Standard financial planning advice presumes that financial emergencies – the loss of a job, an illness or accident, or an unexpected car or household repair – are relatively infrequent for most households. But new research shows that many American households live in a constant state of financial uncertainty, experiencing major monthly swings in their income and expenses.
A recent report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute, which analyzed a sample taken from 2.5 million accounts, finds that volatility is the norm, even at higher incomes. According to the study, as many as 89 percent of Americans see their incomes fluctuate by more than 5 percent from month to month, while 60 percent see changes in spending greater than 30 percent from month to month. Moreover, these figures are roughly the same across all income levels.