Who spends the money?

There are approximately 212,000,000 people in America between the ages of 18 and 80. Based on surveys, 70% of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

That leaves 63,600,000 adult Americans to drive the economy if you assume that living paycheck to paycheck means that virtually all pay goes toward necessities.

Can that be?

Who buys all the $40,000 pickup trucks? Who keeps sports arenas and concert venues full, who creates profit for Netflix, HBO, etc. That 93 million must travel to a theme park quite often. Who helps the millions of retail business selling non essential stuff stay in business? The number of Americans taking a cruise each year has grown each year since 2007 to 12.4 million last year.

Those 93 million Americans with money left over each pay period sure are busy folks


could it be we have poorly defined living paycheck to paycheck, just as our definition of poverty is not close to poverty in the rest of the world.


  1. I made an error myself, I should have said the population above 18 is about 255 million, not the population between 18 and 80. That being the case. The population between 18 and 80 could possibly be closer to “212,170,000” , not 312,170,000. If that is the case, Q may have simply typed a 3 instead of a 2.

    Trust. But verify.


  2. “There are approximately 312,170,000 people in America between the ages of 18 and 80.”

    Not thinking this number was credible as it appears to underestimate the population under 18, I looked up the latest U.S. Census numbers: Total population is approximately 327,000,000; population under age 18 is approximately 22%. So, the population between 18 and 80 is around 255 million, not “approximately ” 312,170,000.

    Having made such an error, I question the other number, “70% living pay check to paycheck.


    1. Your right. There are about 5% full time college students according to the figures I found. So 22+5= 27% Therefore only 3% of the population doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck. Of those, I hope that the “1%” are not living bonus to bonus.


  3. I think that everybody should live paycheck to paycheck. I know I do or should I say pension checks. If I do not have the money to buy something, I wait until the next paycheck and save for it. I do not go into debt for small non-essential items or vacations. I also have money in the bank and I still put some money away every month for those unforeseen items and emergencies. I do not see waiting as a problem but the smart thing to do.

    Policy makers imply that living paycheck to paycheck is a measurement of poverty. They imply that these people will die without their next paycheck.

    I say the way most people use the term that it is really a measure of fiscal irresponsibility. Sure, there are people who are poor that have one financial crisis after another in their life and just can’t get ahead. But there are millions of Americans which earn above the median income that do not save, do not have an emergency fund, who cannot budget their money, who just spend every dime in their paycheck until they start charging things on credit cards. Your auto loans and mortgage payments should not be 100% of your paycheck.

    The majority of people living paycheck to paycheck are people who are just financially irresponsible by choice and or financially illiterate. They probably are not the poor. Maybe free courses from people like David Ramsey and others should be offered instead of more social programs and demands for wage increases.


  4. Who are the people that live paycheck to paycheck?… It’s the people who want everything whether affordable or not and own a credit card or take out student loans never considering that the money has to be paid back at some point. Financial illiteracy is at epidemic levels.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s