If you have been paying attention, it should come as no surprise that most American’s are living on the financial edge. For many American households it takes a minimum of two incomes to keep them just afloat, with no money left to set aside and save for a rainy day.
One American man, 54 year old James DeVolid, was splitting his time working two jobs, one for Walmart and one for Tyson Foods. After twenty years working for Tyson foods in the janitorial department, he was forced to quit the position recently when he developed nerve damage due to his job requirements including cleaning freezers. The freezing temperatures only made his damage much worse. DeVolid was able to retain his position at Walmart but the position he holds in the cart corral is only 32 hours a week at a pauldry $10 per hour. The loss of his Tyson position literally cut his annual income in half, from $40,000 to $20,000. He also lost his much needed healthcare because it was supplied through his position at Tyson. He assumed that in a few weeks he would be able to gain health benefits from Walmart. Shortly before he was able to do so, he suffered not one, but two heart attacks that required triple bypass surgery followed by a second surgery to drain fluid that had collected around his heart. It required him to be off work for six weeks to recover, and DeVolid only received half his wages in that time. The family drained their $5,000 savings rapidly and then were hit with $8,000 in debt plus medical bills. DeVolid, in his position, is similar to many Americans who find themselves in this type of situation. He has no idea how, of it ever, he’ll be able to recover from this debt.
The worst part of this story is it is nothing unusual in the United States. A recent study showed that only 39% would be able to cover any unexpected expense of $1,000 with money they had in savings. The most popular response was that most would have no choice except to incur debt weather it was loans or by credit card. In a 2016 study, medical expenses were listed as the biggest contributor to the rising amount of people living in poverty. The problem may be worse than this recent study led people to believe. Just last year another study showed that 44% of adults couldn’t afford a surprise expense of just $400.
It is sad to know that so many in a country of so much are suffering such financial downfalls, but there doesn’t seem to be an answer. For a family earning just $2,500 per month, their bills likely run near $2,300 per month leaving nothing to set aside and save. It is incredibly discouraging to see that there seems to be no solutions. For the full story on DeVolid, head to the Huffington Post.