Life is unpredictable and any of us can be hit by a crisis at any time that may be connected to, for example:
- The loss of employment
- A sudden illness or accident
- A bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship
When these unexpected events bring with them serious financial impact and insecurity they are referred to as ‘income shocks’. Only 39% of Americans have enough money to cover a $1,000 emergency. Millions of us have neither savings nor access to family and friends who may offer temporary assistance in such a time of crisis.
Without an adequate safety net, many people’s last resort is high- cost borrowing in the form of credit cards, payday loans, overdrafts, and pawnbrokers. This toxic combination of an unexpected financial challenge arriving suddenly in the absence of protective factors pushes millions of people per year into serious problem debt.
What can we do about it?