Making bank doesn’t mean you have loot saved in the bank. Roughly 45% of those making more than $100,000 say they live paycheck to paycheck; 47% of those making between $150,000 and $200,000-a-year; and 28% of those making over $200,000, a new report from PYMNTS.com found. What’s more, a 2022 survey from LendingClub revealed that 30% of those earning $250,000 or more live paycheck to paycheck. And that’s too bad, as many savings accounts are now paying more than they have in a decade — see the highest rates you may get on a savings account now here.
“The combination of taxes and inflation leave little purchasing power,” says MaxMyInterest CEO Gary Zimmerman, who notes that a $100K salary isn’t what it used to be. So how do these high earners start spending less and saving more? We asked the pros.
One way to “save more is to add discipline.”
“To break out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you need to earn more or spend less — and preferably both,” Zimmerman says, adding that while that may seem unrealistic in today’s economy, one way to take back control is to “‘save more is to add discipline.”
How? “Automatically deduct a portion of your bi-weekly paycheck to go directly to a savings account,” Zimmerman says. “Or, better yet, elect to save as much of your income as you can by directing it to a 401(k) plan, which is tax advantaged and often matched by your employer. If you don’t see the funds in the first place, you won’t miss them, and you certainly won’t spend them.”
That’s backed by research: A recent study from professors at Harvard, Yale, Brigham Young and William & Mary found that individuals who auto enrolled in a company retirement plan still carried similar levels of debt as those who opted to save on their own. “We found there’s no difference between the two groups in how much credit card borrowing they’re doing,” said Yale finance professor James Choi, who assisted in conducting the report. “There was no difference in credit scores and their measures of financial distress.”
Reexamine your spending habits and cut lingering debt
Look to pay down pricey debt as quickly as you can, and make big changes to big-ticket items like rent, food, travel and more, if you can. In particular, NerdWallet data analyst Elizabeth Renter suggests looking at ways to reduce credit card debt. “When you carry a balance from month-to-month, you’re punishing yourself unnecessarily with interest, and interest rates are rising,” Renter says. “Consider opening a balance transfer credit card to get the balance paid off during an initial interest-free period.”
Renter adds that you should also try to limit luxuries such as streaming accounts, name brand foods and meals at sit-down restaurants.
Consider added income via the ‘gig economy’
Even if you’re making what on paper looks like a lot, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can be helpful to up your income. “Increasing income has become easier now with the gig economy we are in,” says Vanessa N. Martinez, founder and CEO of Em-Powered Network, a financial consulting and mentorship program for women says. For a professional, that could mean taking on a role as a consultant of some sort.
Whether you decide to take on any of the above strategies, it is clear that all consumers, high earners included, are feeling the pressure. As many as 93% of rural and 92% of urban consumers say they’re noticing higher prices due to rising inflation, according to the PYMNTS.com report. In response, its writers say people of nearly all socioeconomic classes will have to take some measures to adjust. “With inflation expected to continue, it will likely press consumers of all financial lifestyles further, and time will tell how well they continue to adapt.”
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