A six-figure household income may not be enough to supply more than basic family needs anymore.
According to a survey by retail consulting firm WSL/Strategic Retail, 52 percent of Americans are struggling to afford necessities and nearly 30 percent of those in the $100,000-$150,000 income bracket claim they can’t afford more than the basics. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2010 the median family income was $49,445.
“There is a huge fundamental issue when more than half of Americans can only afford basic necessities and people who earn up to $150,000 think they are poor,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. “Brands and retailers cannot ignore this. They will need to re-think the way they do business over the next three to five years — or longer.”
The survey asked participants to choose one of four categories that best described them: “I can’t even afford the basics”; “I can barely afford the basics and nothing else”; “I can afford the basics plus some extras” and “I can afford the basics, the extras and I’m able to save too.” Only at the $150,000 income level did the vast majority of consumers – 88 percent – said that they could afford to save a bit after buying necessities and splurging on extras.
Young people, between ages 18 and 34, were more likely than other age groups to say that they didn’t have enough money to meet basic needs.
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