Welcome to CrushTheStreet.com's Weekly Market Wrapup!
Our top story of the week is brought to us by BankRate.com, the Web's leading aggregator of financial rate information. In their latest survey of 1,000 American adults, it was discovered that approximately 1 out of 3 individuals, or an astounding 29%, have no emergency savings at all. This is the highest such percentage ever recorded by BankRate since they began conducting this survey five years ago and it flies in the face of the so-called economic recovery that has been trumpeted by the current Obama administration.
The numbers are veritably grim: extended to the entire population, the survey implies that roughly 70 million Americans are teetering on the edge of a very deep financial cliff. One event of misfortune, such as a tire blowout or an unexpected housing repair, could force hundreds of thousands of families into unfavorable debt instruments to pay off necessary liabilities. At best, this could entail the use of high-interest credit cards or personal loans from the bank, or at worst, bankruptcy.
Only the most naive would assume that they can skate by on life without a financial lifeline. According to a 2014 survey conducted by American Express, half of all Americans experienced the smelly stuff hitting the fan, being forced to take action on an unforeseen expense. Amongst those affected, 44% dealt with health-care related costs while 46% had to confront car troubles -- none of these issues can reasonably be avoided and they can typically be quite onerous.
What's even more bizarre is that according to the BankRate survey, only 22% of Americans have enough savings to cover six months of expenses -- a commonly advised threshold to maintain in case of emergencies. This also happens to be the lowest level of personal savings ever witnessed by BankRate through its research. Logical deduction dictates that either American households by the millions were utterly decimated by the culmination of banking, real estate, and investment market collapses, or, many of them simply don't care or can't find the means to care about tomorrow and are only living for today.
Supposedly, the unemployment rate nationwide is declining and less workers are signing on for unemployment benefits. While such developments -- if they are accurate -- should be celebrated, the inability for much of middle-class America to string together free and unencumbered assets has reached critical mass. We are only one crisis away -- regardless of specific source -- from an all-out national catastrophe. It's not something than any political party from the mainstream dichotomy will express, especially in an election year, but the longer the condition is ignored, the greater will be the consequences.
In financial news, the U.S. equities market softened against the prior week as investors consolidated recent geopolitical drivers, with the benchmark S&P 500 down three-tenths of a percent on Thursday. The precious metals sector is struggling to gain momentum after a bearish series of trades, with gold down to 1,172 while silver also took a beating, closing down at 15.81. It's been an awful month for palladium, with the industrial metal now nearly 20 dollars below the 700 dollar level. In contrast, bitcoin is starting to show signs of life, with the digital currency trading just under 242 dollars at last count.
And that will do it for this edition. Thanks for watching and we'll see you next week!