Survey finds that one out of every five Americans could be out of money “by Election Day”

This week we learned that there won’t be any more stimulus checks for the American people before the election, and that prompted tremendous eruptions of anger all over social media.  At first I didn’t understand why people were so angry, but now I do.  It turns out that a substantial portion of the population is desperate for another round of checks because they are almost entirely out of cash.  In fact, a very alarming survey that was just conducted found that one out of every five Americans “could be out of money by Election Day”

In fact, nearly one-quarter of U.S. consumers say they have less than three weeks of financial runway before they run out of cash, according to a weekly survey on Americans’ finances by consumer finance company Credit Karma. With just four weeks until the election, 1 in 5 Americans could be out of money by Election Day, the data shows.

This is yet more evidence that is consistent with the assertion that the economic downturn in the United States is starting to accelerate again.  The trillions of dollars of “stimulus money” that the federal government borrowed and spent earlier this year is starting to wear off, and tens of millions of Americans simply aren’t going to be able to make it without more emergency government assistance.

But none is coming for a while, and so many American families are going to be faced with some really “tough choices”

“People are going to be forced to make tough choices,” says Colleen McCreary, chief people officer at Credit Karma. “There are a lot of Americans who either haven’t been in this situation in a long time or have never had to face this reality. Many will have to sacrifice and prepare because it could get worse before it gets better.”

Sadly, I think that McCreary’s assessment is overly optimistic.

There is absolutely no guarantee that economic conditions will get any better for the foreseeable future.

With each passing day, more businesses are going under and more jobs are being lost.

In fact, another recent survey found that approximately half of all small businesses in America will “need more aid from the government over the next 12 months to survive”

Half of all small businesses expect to need more aid from the government over the next 12 months to survive, according to a survey by the right-leaning National Federation of Independent Business. Sales for about one-fifth of small companies are still down 50% or more from pre-pandemic levels, the NFIB said.

Please take a moment and let that sink in.

We are talking about half of all small businesses in the entire country.

How in the world can the mainstream media be using the term “recovery” when half of our small businesses are on the verge of going belly up?

That doesn’t make any sense at all.

Of course large businesses continue to deeply struggle as well.  For example, we just learned that Wells Fargo has eliminated 700 commercial banking jobs

Wells Fargo has cut more than 700 commercial banking jobs as part of workforce reductions that could ultimately impact ‘tens of thousands’ of staff, according to a new report.

The San Francisco-based company has made layoffs for positions across the whole division, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

And we also just learned that Ruby Tuesday has formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Hobbled by the pandemic and facing the same long-term challenges as other casual dining chains, Ruby Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Wednesday.

The company hopes to use the debt-cutting process to improve its finances and stay in business, saying in a statement that it had “reached an understanding with its secured lenders to support its restructuring.”

Ruby Tuesday has already closed 185 locations, but they are hoping that a restructured company will allow the rest of their restaurants to stay open.

I remember eating at Ruby Tuesday quite a few times when I lived out on the east coast many years ago, and I don’t remember ever having a bad meal there.

If the chain completely collapses, that will definitely be a very sad day.

Of course Ruby Tuesday is far from alone.  So far in 2020, a total of 509 large companies have filed for bankruptcy.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

In September, another 54 large companies filed for bankruptcy, after 54 had already filed for bankruptcy in August, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, bringing the total for the year as of October 4 to 509, the highest for the same period since 2010.

These are companies that are either publicly traded (minimum $2 million in assets or liabilities), or are private companies with debt that is publicly traded (minimum $10 million).

But this is just the beginning.  As I have discussed previously, we are being warned that a “tsunami of bankruptcies” is coming in 2021 unless the federal government steps in.

At this point, just about every industry wants federal help, and not everyone will be able to get it.

So we should expect to see more numbers like these as the months roll along…

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has said that nearly three-quarters of hotels say they will have to lay off more workers without further financial aid.

And American Airlines and United Airlines combined furloughed 32,000 employees last week. Airlines have already shed tens of thousands of positions through early retirements and buyouts. Delta Air Lines began the year with 91,000 employees, but 18,000 left voluntarily and 40,000 others agreed to take unpaid leaves of absence. The company may cut 1,700 pilots Nov. 1 unless their union agrees to contract concessions.

Overall, more than 60 million Americans have filed initial claims for unemployment benefits this year.  It is a nightmare that never seems to end, and many experts expect the pace of layoffs to start increasing again as we head into 2021.

Many Americans are hoping that the upcoming election will change things for the better, and right now everyone is buzzing about the VP debate.  But there have been bubbles of optimism around previous elections, and yet our long-term economic problems have just continued to get worse and worse.

Over the past 12 years we have added 17 trillion dollars to the national debt, we have witnessed the greatest corporate debt binge in world history, and U.S. consumers have been borrowing and spending money like there is no tomorrow.

But tomorrow always arrives, and our day of reckoning is now at hand.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Consumer Spending Drought: 16 Signs That The Middle Class Is Running Out Of Money

Drought - Photo by Bert KaufmannIs “discretionary income” rapidly becoming a thing of the past for most American families?  Right now, there are a lot of signs that we are on the verge of a nightmarish consumer spending drought.  Incomes are down, taxes are up, many large retail chains are deeply struggling because of the lack of customers, and at this point nearly a quarter of all Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank.  Considering the fact that consumer spending is such a large percentage of the U.S. economy, that is very bad news.  How will we ever have a sustained economic recovery if consumers don’t have much money to spend?  Well, the truth is that we aren’t ever going to have a sustained economic recovery.  In fact, this debt-fueled bubble of false hope that we are experiencing right now is as good as things are going to get.  Things are going to go downhill from here, and if you think that consumer spending is bad now, just wait until you see what happens over the next several years.

Even though the Dow is surging toward a record high right now, everyone knows that things are not good for the middle class.  A recent quote from CPA Howard Dvorkin kind of summarizes our current state of affairs very nicely…

“The fact of the matter is that America is broke — whether it’s mortgages, student loans or credit cards, we are broke. The old rule of thumb is that people should have six months’ of savings,” Dvorkin says.”If you talk to people, most don’t have two pennies.”

These days most Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck, and thanks to rising prices and rising taxes, those paychecks are getting squeezed tighter and tighter.  Many families have had to cut back on unnecessary expenses, and some families no longer have any discretionary income at all.

The following are 16 signs that the middle class is rapidly running out of money…

#1 According to one brand new survey, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank.

#2 J.C. Penney was once an unstoppable retail powerhouse, but now J.C. Penney has just posted its lowest annual retail sales in more than 20 years

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) slid the most in more than three decades after the department-store chain lost $4.3 billion in sales in the first year of Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson’s turnaround plan.

The shares fell 18 percent to $17.40 at 11:28 a.m. in New York after earlier declining 22 percent, the biggest intraday drop since at least 1980, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. J.C. Penney yesterday said its net loss in the quarter ended Feb. 2 widened to $552 million from $87 million a year earlier. The Plano, Texas-based retailer’s annual revenue slid 25 percent to $13 billion, the lowest since at least 1987.

How much worse can things get?  At this point the decline has become so steep for J.C. Penney that Jim Cramer of CNBC is declaring that they are in “a true tailspin“.

#3 In the United States today, a new car has become out of reach for most middle class Americans according to the 2013 Car Affordability Study

Looking to buy a new car, truck or crossover? You may find it more difficult to stretch the household budget than you expected, according to a new study that finds median-income families in only one major U.S. city actually can afford the typical new vehicle.

The typical new vehicle is now more expensive than ever, averaging $30,500 in 2012, according to TrueCar.com data, and heading up again as makers curb the incentives that helped make their products more affordable during the recession when they were desperate for sales. According to the 2013 Car Affordability Study by Interest.com, only in Washington could the typical household swing the payments, the median income there running $86,680 a year.

#4 The founder of Subway Restaurants, Fred Deluca, says that the recent tax increases are having a noticeable impact on his business…

“The payroll tax is affecting sales. It’s causing sales declines,” he said, estimating a decline of about 2 percentage points off sales at his restaurants. “There are a lot of pressures on consumers,” Deluca said, adding “I think this is on the permanent side, but I think business will adjust to it.”

#5 Many other large restaurant chains are also struggling in this tough economic environment…

Darden Restaurants, which owns the casual dining chains Oliver Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster, said blended same-store sales at its three eateries would be 4.5 percent lower during its fiscal third quarter.

Clarence Otis, Darden’s chairman and chief executive, said that “while results midway through the third quarter were encouraging, there were difficult macro-economic headwinds during the last month of the quarter.”

“Two of the most prominent were increased payroll taxes and rising gasoline prices, which together put meaningful pressure on the discretionary purchasing power of our guests,” he added.

#6 The CFO of Family Dollar recently admitted to CNBC that this is a “challenging time” because of reduced consumer spending…

At Family Dollar where the average customer makes less than $40,000 a year, the combination of a two-percent hike in the payroll tax, rising gas prices and delayed tax refunds has created a “challenging time and an uncertain time for the consumer right now,” said Mary Winston, the company’s chief financial officer.

“In our case, anything that takes money out of our customer’s wallet gives them less money to spend in our stores,” she told CNBC. “So I think all of those things create nervousness for the consumer, and I think there are sometimes political dynamics going on that they might not even fully understand the details, but they know it’s not good.”

#7 Even Wal-Mart is really struggling right now.  According to a recent Bloomberg article, Wal-Mart is struggling “to restock store shelves as U.S. sales slump“…

Evelin Cruz, a department manager at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pico Rivera, California, said Simon’s comments from the officers’ meeting were “dead on.”

“There are gaps where merchandise is missing,” Cruz said in a telephone interview. “We are not talking about a couple of empty shelves. This is throughout the store in every store. Some places look like they’re going out of business.”

This all comes on the heels of an internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to the press earlier this month that described February sales as a “total disaster”.

#8 Electronics retailer Best Buy continues to struggle mightily.  Best Buy just announced that it will be eliminating 400 jobs at its headquarters in Richfield, Minnesota.

#9 It is being projected that many of the largest retail chains in America, including Best Buy, will close down hundreds of stores during 2013.  The following is a list of projected store closings for 2013 that I included in a previous article

Best Buy

Forecast store closings: 200 to 250

Sears Holding Corp.

Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125

J.C. Penney

Forecast store closings: 300 to 350

Office Depot

Forecast store closings: 125 to 150

Barnes & Noble

Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments

Gamestop

Forecast store closings: 500 to 600

OfficeMax

Forecast store closings: 150 to 175

RadioShack

Forecast store closings: 450 to 550

#10 Another sign that consumer spending is slowing down is the fact that less stuff is being moved around in our economy.   As I have mentioned previously, freight shipment volumes have hit their lowest level in two years, and freight expenditures have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#11 Many young adults have no discretionary income to spend because they are absolutely drowning in student loan debt.  According to the New York Federal Reserve, student loan debt nearly tripled between 2004 and 2012.

#12 The student loan delinquency rate in the United States is now at an all-time high.  It is only a matter of time before the student loan debt bubble bursts.

#13 Due to a lack of jobs and high levels of debt, poverty among young adults in America is absolutely exploding.  Today, U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#14 According to one recent survey, 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#15 Median household income in the United States has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 during that time span.

#16 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is currently taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Retailers are desperate for sales, but you can’t squeeze blood out of a rock.

For much more on how the middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, please see this article: “Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves“.

But if you listen to the mainstream media, they would have you believe that happy days are here again.

Right now, everyone seems to be quite giddy about the fact that the Dow is marching toward an all-time high.  And I actually do believe that the Dow will blow right past it.  In fact, it is even possible that we could see the Dow hit 15,000 before everything starts falling apart.

But at some point, the financial markets will catch up with economic reality.  It is just a matter of time.

In the meanwhile, those that are wise are taking advantage of these times of plenty to prepare for the great economic drought that is coming.

Don’t be caught living paycheck to paycheck and totally unprepared when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.  Anyone that believes that this debt-fueled bubble of false hope can last indefinitely is just being delusional.

During The Years Of Plenty, Prepare For The Years Of Drought - Photo Taken By Tomas Castelazo

The Economic Collapse