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Americans making risky financial choices as they deal with inflation

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-21 14:35:11-04

Inflation is stressing people out.

New research shows almost half of American workers are financially stressed.

20% regularly run out of money between paychecks.

“In general, people are having to spend more to get the same stuff. Another reason is, although wages are going up, for many people they've got less money coming in, because government programs, covid relief time programs have kind of come to an end,” said Dan Macklin, CEO of Salary Finance.

“Added to that, the fact that so many people - 68% from our survey - don't have money set aside and saved for emergencies,” he said.

A growing number of people are making risky financial choices.

The number of people using payday loans has tripled in the last 12 months.

18% of Americans used an online installment loan that offers a lower interest rate and a longer term than a payday loan.

It can still cost you hundreds of extra dollars in interest or late fees.

“The financial stress exists among all income levels - pretty much all income levels. So, there are things that we need to do better. We need to borrow more smartly, we need to borrow in a way, at lower interest rates,” Macklin said.

“That doesn't mean that most of our money is going to interest costs. We need to save better. We need to be more disciplined having emergency savings and putting money in them,” he continued.

More than a quarter of U.S. companies offer a loan program in worker benefits packages.

Those loans are paid back out of future paychecks and have a lower interest rate than riskier options, like payday loans.

Other companies offer emergency savings accounts.

Those accounts take a small portion of each paycheck until you need it in an emergency.

You can set up a similar system yourself, using direct deposit and a second bank account.