Economic Report: Nearly half don’t have the cash to pay for a $400 emergency, Fed survey finds

Seven years into an economic recovery, nearly half of Americans didn’t have enough cash available to cover a $400 emergency, according to a new survey released Friday.

That’s according to the latest findings from the Federal Reserve’s annual economic well-being of U.S. households, which found 44% in 2016 said such an expense would have to be covered by borrowing or selling something. That’s a similar percentage to what was found in past Fed surveys — 46% said so in 2015 — and in other studies.

Of the group that can’t pay in cash, 45% would use a credit card to pay off the expense over time, about a quarter would borrow from friends of family, another 27% just couldn’t pay the expense and smaller fractions would turn to selling items or using a payday loan.

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