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September 22, 2011


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With the current state of the economy and the collapse of easy credit, no I am not surprised. There were way too many people living beyond their means.

I don't know their definition of 'bad financial shape', but I expected to see that more are in bad shape, at least on paper.

My neighbors are running away from their mortgage because they moved out of state. Yet they are both lawyers. Are they really in bad shape, or taking advantage of the system? Would they be counted in bad shape?

On the other hand, I know many that are in bad shape, but live like there is no tomorrow and they certainly dress like they are financially secure.

Seems to me if you're stuck in a mortgage that you can't get out of without harming your finances, you're sure not in good shape, no matter what you earn (surprisingly, these days many lawyers don't earn what we imagine).

These pronouncements are pretty vague, though. Define "good" and "bad" financial shape. And who is to judge what an individual believes is adequate for his or her lifestyle, values, and goals?

I would love to know their definition of good financial shape and bad financial shape...

If you care enough about your financial shape to read a blog like FMF, then you are either already in good shape or heading in that direction, I think.

The definitian is a bit tricky. I would like to be in "better" financial shape which means I'm not happy where I'm at --- does that mean I'm in bad shape (even though it's probably better than the average)?

I would also like to know the definition of bad financial shape. If you ask Suze Orman, everyone is bad financial shape! There are also different age groups, family dynamics, ect. This has to be a very subjective survey!!!

I would define the worst degree of "Bad Financial Shape" as:

No income.
No Healthcare.
Lots of Debt.
Behind in rent or house payments.
Very little savings.

or in other words, "A disaster waiting to happen".

The 33% referred to are more likely the group that are still functioning but one major car repair away from those I described.

That 61% in the "bad financial shape" category comes pretty close to the 69% in Jean Chatzky's "payday to payday" and "further in debt" categories, as mentioned in her book "The Difference".

A quick Bing search on "% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck" found estimates ranging from 2/3 up to 77% (you could probably find the same thing using a Google search if you insist on using an inferior search engine for whatever reason).

So I'm actually a bit surprised that only 60% are in "bad financial shape". I would have expected a higher number.

61% sounds right. But its hard to know without a real definition of what they think 'bad financial shape' means.

I'm surprised that 16% of people think they are in bad shape and aren't. That % seems high to me. They could be on the margin. Or maybe they think that cause nobody defined what 'bad financial shape' means??

In my book, you are in bad financial shape if you cannot financially survive an extended period of unemployment.

JimL - I am surviving an extended period of unemployment - I'm retired! Ha!!

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