By Nathalie Voit
One-third of American adults earning $250,000 a year or more are living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a survey from fintech marketplace bank Lending Club and digital merchant PYMNTS.com released on June 1.
The astonishing survey results found that 36% of U.S. consumers who made up the top five percent of income earners in the U.S. claimed to be living paycheck-to-paycheck.
“Earning a quarter of a million dollars a year is more than 5x the national median and is clearly high income,” said LendingClub’s Financial Health Officer Anuj Nayar in a press release. “The fact that a third of them are living paycheck to paycheck should surprise you.”
According to PYMNTS.com and Lending Club, consumers in the $250,000-and-above income bracket are spending a disproportionate amount of their budget on housing expenses such as mortgages. The real estate market has been particularly hard hit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge in the interest rate.
“These high-income earners have an average FICO score of 758. They are creditworthy, but they have higher financial obligations and are more likely to leverage their capital to finance their lives,” Nayar said.
According to The Paycheck-To-Paycheck Report: The High Earners Edition, top-earning consumers were more likely to pay off their bills with a credit card than lower-income groups. While 85% of high-income U.S. consumers have used a credit card in the past three months, just 47% of consumers making less than $50,000 a year have made a credit card payment in the last 90 days, PYMNTS.com and Lending Club said.
Credit card ownership is also higher among wealthy Americans, with one in two U.S. consumers (48%) who make a quarter of a million dollars a year or more holding two or three credit cards. Twenty-two percent of those earning $250,000 a year reported having three credit cards.
The survey also found wealthier households tend to carry higher credit card monthly balances. However, Lending Bank said they are more likely to pay off their balance at the end of each month.
Overall, just 12% of Americans belonging to the $250,000-and-above income bracket had issues paying their bills. In contrast, 36% of those in the lowest income category reported living paycheck-to-paycheck “with difficulty” or struggling to make ends meet.
The fintech firms said living paycheck-to-paycheck does not necessarily mean actual hardship since the survey makes a clear distinction between those who can or cannot pay their bills.
The study was conducted between April 6 to April 13, when consumer prices rose 8.3% over the past twelve months, according to data from the Labor Department.