A large number of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and lack funds necessary if an emergency arises, according to recent surveys.

Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey discovered that although 58 percent of workers think their finances are heading in the right direction, 38 percent of employees are living paycheck to paycheck, and 39 percent could not come up with $3,000 in an emergency.  Almost one-fifth of those making more than $100,000 are living paycheck to paycheck, and about one-third say their financial problems negatively affect their lives. The survey polled 8,000 American workers.

Another report, the 2020 Financial Planning Survey by First National Bank of Omaha, discovered 53 percent of Americans don’t have an emergency fund, and 49 percent are living paycheck to paycheck this year.  But 91 percent name better money habits as a goal for 2020, and 83 percent plan to keep and stick with a monthly budget. More than 1,000 adults were polled.  Per Bankrate, only 41 percent of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense with money from savings. For almost 30 percent of people, their credit card debt total is higher than their savings account total, Bankrate has found.

Willis Towers Watson revealed money concerns can take a toll on worker performance and well-being. Among those living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to control their spending — which applies to about 27 percent of workers — four in 10 believe their money concerns prevent them from doing their best work; many also said they’re not fully engaged at work.

About half of those struggling financially said they’ve felt stressed, anxious or depressed during the past two years, compared to 16 percent of workers with no financial concerns, Willis Towers Watson discovered.  “Many employees are struggling with their financial situation even as the job market and economic conditions improve. Some employees struggle to pay for their basic needs, including health care, while others are falling behind in saving for retirement. No matter the source, financial stress has a negative impact on their lives, underscored by hampering their ability to perform effectively at work,” Steve Nyce, senior economist for Willis Towers Watson.

A majority of employers believe their employees are having financial issues and worry their employees are struggling to save for retirement, pay off debt or cover medical costs, according to a recent MassMutual study, reports HR Dive. In response, more companies are offering financial wellness programs as an employee benefit.

In a recent analysis, online real estate referral service Clever found the average American has less than $140 left from each paycheck. Residents of certain U.S. metro areas have even less.

Read the rest of Caitlin Mullen’s article at The Business Journals