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March 29, 2023
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Why Americans Feel So Poor | CNBC Marathon

CNBC Marathon explores why American workers’ budgets feel so stretched.

The middle class was once a symbol of the American dream. It meant financial security and an opportunity for a better future. But that portrait of the American middle class is quite different today. A survey in 2018 found that a third of middle-income adults don’t have as much as $400 to cover an unexpected expense. And while the middle-class lifestyle grows more expensive and uncertain, it’s also moving beyond the reach of younger generations.

Maybe the cause is related to American workers’ income? When adjusted for inflation, wages have remained virtually unchanged over the last 50 years, with workers today earning just 12 cents more than they did in 1972. And with inflation at its highest since 1971, Americans are feeling the pain of slow wage growth. Two-thirds of American workers said that inflation has outpaced any salary gains made in the past year. But some economists argue that the concept is merely a myth politicians use to promote their careers. So, how real is wage stagnation in America today and what does it mean for American workers?

And CNBC takes a look at why Americans have so much debt. Household debt in America reached $16.15 trillion during the second quarter of 2022. And debt is likely to grow even further due to soaring inflation. 43% of Americans are expected to add even more debt within the next six months. So why are so many Americans in debt today and what impact does it have on the U.S. economy?

Money can be stressful in the U.S. Americans are more worried than ever about money and the economy. In a survey by the American Psychological Association, 87% of Americans said inflation and the rising costs of everyday expenses were causing them stress. Roughly two out of every five U.S. adults said money is negatively impacting their mental health, according to Bankrate. Watch the video above to learn what’s causing this anxiety around money and how Americans can deal with their stress.

CNBC Marathon brings together the best of CNBC’s coverage of American workers’ financial woes.

00:35 Introduction
00:37 Why The Middle-Class Is Disappearing (Published February 2022)
13:20 Why Americans Aren’t Paid Enough (Published July 2022)
27:34 Why Americans Are Drowning In Debt (Published August 2022)
42:01 Why Americans Are So Stressed About Money (Published May 2022)

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Why Americans Feel So Poor | CNBC Marathon

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