Fewer Americans living paycheck to paycheck (audio)

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Fewer American workers are living paycheck to paycheck than a year ago, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. That’s a slight decrease from 42 percent in 2011. This year’s figure marks a recession-era low, continuing a downward trend from a peak of 46 percent in 2008, during the early days of the financial crisis.

KFWB’s Jon Baird has the details in this report with Penny Griego and Phil Hulett:

What Are The Most Valued Expenses?

A majority (59 percent) of workers say they have cut back on leisure activities since the start of the recession, but for many, the following expenses are too important to give up, regardless of financial concerns:

Internet connection – 57 percent
• Driving – 44 percent
• Pet – 39 percent
• Cable TV – 29 percent
• Mobile phone – 24 percent

Savings and Retirement

More than a quarter of workers (27 percent) do not save anything each month – the same as last year. Thirty percent save more than $250 and one in ten (10 percent) save more than $1,000. Sixty-seven percent of workers contribute to a 401(k), IRA or comparable retirement plan, similar to 2011 (66 percent). Twenty percent of workers said they reduced their contribution to these plans in the last year, which is also relatively unchanged from 2011 (21 percent).

Paycheck to Paycheck by Gender and Age

The number of those living paycheck to paycheck varies by segment and demographics:

• Gender: Consistent with past studies, women (44 percent) are more likely than men (36 percent) to live paycheck to paycheck. Additionally, one quarter (25 percent) of female workers missed a monthly payment at least once in the past year, compared to 17 percent of men.

• Age: Compared to other age groups, workers close to retirement (55+) are least likely to report living paycheck to paycheck.

18-34 – 40 percent

35-44 – 42 percent

45-54 – 43 percent

55+ – 34 percent

Additionally, workers age 55+ are more likely than those workers age 25-54 to report saving more than $1,000 dollars a month (13 percent) and most likely to participate in a 401(k), IRA or comparable plan (73 percent).

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