Consumer

Parents Are Bankrupting Themselves to Look Adequate

Only parents can end this arms race. You don't have to live in Scarsdale, or drive a Porsche SUV, or send your kids to Stanford.

Why can so few people seem to save any money? The number of people scraping along from paycheck to paycheck is astonishing; surveys routinely find that somewhere between a third and half of all Americans don’t have the savings to fund ordinary emergencies -- a moderately large repair, a month with no income. These are not the kind of astonishing runs of bad luck that no one could realistically expect to cover, like a $100,000 medical bill, or a multi-year illness that makes it impossible to work. They’re just the normal vicissitudes of regular life, and somehow, Americans are unprepared.

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