How many paychecks can your bank statement afford to miss?
Two surveys this past week showed half of Americans are unprepared should their rainy day arrive.
In a monthly Discover U.S. Spending Survey, more than 43 percent said they can only last a month or less maintaining their current lifestyle if they suddenly lost their income. Only 21 percent said they had enough reserves to last six months or more.
A MetLife study showed a similar state of unreadiness - 50% of Americans with only a one-month money cushion, or less, if they were to lose their job. About 28% said they couldn't last more than two weeks.
Those with stout paychecks aren't immune. Of respondents making more than $100,000, 29 percent say they'd be unable to pay the bills after more than a month of unemployment.
Financial planners have recommended keeping three to six months' expenses set aside - three months if you have a two-income family and six if only one income. But with the job market so weak right now, five to eight months is better.
There's a good news/bad news byproduct here: Americans who still have jobs have been spooked by the recession into saving more. While only 30% say they're cutting back on non-essentials such as dining out and vacations, 56% said they are doing so to prepare themselves should bad job news arrive.
How many paychecks could you miss? Tell us if you're less ready - or more - than you were a year ago.
President Obama is optimistic on the economy. The GOP - not so much, reports the New York Times.
What do the corporate giants really think of your opinion? The Washington Post explores.