By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A new survey conducted by WSL/Strategic Retail shows families in many parts of the country can’t even live comfortably on a six-figure household income. Additionally, more than half of respondents say they’re struggling just to meet their basic needs.
The study asked participants to put themselves in one of four categories:
▪ I can’t even afford the basics.
▪ I can barely afford the basics and nothing else.
▪ I can afford the basics plus some extras.
▪ I can afford the basics and the extras, and I’m able to save, too.
Nearly a third of American households earning between $100,000-150,000 report that they can only afford the basics; $150,000 seems to be a threshold of sorts, as 88 percent of households earning this amount say they can buy the basics and extras, then save money. But that’s also a great deal of money — about three times the median income in the United States — and fewer than 10 percent of all households earn that much.
Additionally, about a quarter of respondents between 18 and 34 years old say they can’t even afford the essentials. (The disproportionately high number of unemployed young people has a lot to do with this.) Also in that category are 17 percent of people in the 35-54 age group.
The survey, which focused on retail, did not ask any questions about housing as far as I know. Presumably, that could be considered to be one of the “basics.” But the fact that so many people aren’t able to save — indeed, can barely make ends meet — obviously has major implications for real estate.
What do you think of these findings? What does this mean for your business?