Financial advisors urge consumers to save on a regular basis, not just for retirement but to also put money away to meet unexpected expenses.
A new survey from CareerBuilder suggests the reason more consumers aren't doing this is because they often have no money left over at the end of the month. The survey shows 78% of employees sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck.
For many, that's a regular pattern. Forty percent of people in the survey said they usually or always have just enough money to get from one pay period to the next.
While that's bad news for the households struggling to make ends meet, Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, says employers suffer as well.
“As an employer, your employees’ money problems can become your problem as well,” Haefner said. “Workers may become so distracted by their financial struggles that their quality of work decreases. Financial struggles can take a hit on employees’ morale, productivity and ability to concentrate."
Higher salary not always the solution
Earning more money isn't always the answer either. The survey finds it isn't just entry-level workers who are struggling. Nearly one out of 10 employees who earn at least $100,000 a year usually or always live paycheck to paycheck.
There seems to be a common reason so many people struggle to make their income cover all their expenses, and have some left over for savings. In a word, it's debt.
The survey shows 71% of people are in debt -- mostly credit card and student loan debt. Fewer than half describe that debt as "manageable."
As a result, people simply are not putting money away in savings. Twenty-six percent save no money while 31% manage to save $100 or less each month.
Haefner says employers can help by implementing financial wellness programs for employees, teaching basic money and budgeting skills.
"It’s worth your time and effort to help employees manage their finances and ease some of their financial worries – by doing things such as matching 401(k) contributions, hosting financial planning seminars, or providing discounts to local goods and services,” she said.
Still, the survey suggests it might not be easy to convince people to make sacrifices in order to build savings. It found there are a number of expenses people are very reluctant to trim or eliminate, including internet service, smartphones, dining out, and cable TV.