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Report: Nearly One-Third Of Utah Households "Financially Insecure"

PHOTO: A new report shows more than 30-percent of Utah households are financially insecure. Photo credit: U-S Department of the Treasury.
PHOTO: A new report shows more than 30-percent of Utah households are financially insecure. Photo credit: U-S Department of the Treasury.
January 30, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly one in three Utah households is living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little or no financial safety net, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

The CEFD's annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard shows that 32 percent of households don't have enough savings to cover basic expenses for even three months in the event of job loss or health crisis.

Martha Wunderli, executive director at AAA Fair Credit Foundation in Utah, says despite the state's unemployment rate being well below 5 percent, it seems more people are struggling.

"It appears to be getting worse,” she stresses. “I think the down economy has contributed to that. People lost overtime, hours, they lost their jobs."

The scorecard is a national report that examines assets and income, businesses and jobs, housing and home ownership, health care and education.

Wunderli says agencies like hers offer help for people to restore their credit and build a better life.

"Credit counseling – debt management services going through asset building strategies that would include match savings,” she explains. “So we have a full continuum of services so we can meet somebody wherever they are."

Wunderli adds the AAA Fair Credit Foundation specializes in Individual Development Accounts that provide matching funds for low-income people.

The combined savings can be used to help purchase a home, get an education or start a small business.

She says there are many success stories, including a single mother who was homeless and eating from garbage cans, who now owns a home and has a master's degree in social work.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT