©2018 By PayShield

Emergency expenses are common. Financial security is not.

July 18, 2018

As it turns out, financial shocks like mine are the norm, not the exception. Fifty-four percent of American families experienced a financial shock in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available. (A financial shock could include unplanned home or car repairs, a pay cut, or uncovered medical expenses.) The typical shock set families back $2,000, though higher-earning households often experienced bigger setbacks.

The United States of Debt: 5 surprising facts about the state of consumer credit in America

June 25, 2018

When I decided to investigate consumer lending, I had a rough idea that financial insecurity was a serious problem in this country. But I had no idea of the magnitude of America’s debt crisis. Even after years of economic recovery and a tightening labor market, millions of Americans are still hurting and remain woefully unprepared for the next downturn. Perhaps more importantly, they don’t have the resources to even withstand a little financial bad luck.

Student loans hit us when we’re most vulnerable

May 01, 2018

Millions of Americans — in fact, more than 69 percent of all households — have so little in savings that they cannot withstand a single financial shock without experiencing hardship. Last week I wrote about the proliferation of medical debt and how medical emergencies can become financial emergencies: 1 in 4 Americans experienced an unplanned medical expense last year, at an average cost of $2,500. At the same time, just 15 percent of households save for future medical expenses; perhaps it is unsurprising that 37 percent cannot afford a medical bill greater than $100 without going into debt.

When medical emergency leads to financial shock, and what we can do about it

April 22, 2018

Last week I wrote about my experience with financial shocks: after falling from my bike and knocking out my two front teeth, I found myself burdened by a $6,000 medical bill. My health insurance provider refused to cover the accident, which it viewed as elective treatment. Figuring out how to piece together the money to pay this bill was deeply unsettling.

What I learned from knocking out my teeth and the $6,000 bill that followed

April 14, 2018

Around July 4th, 2016, I was enjoying a bike ride with friends in Washington, DC, a place I had called home since graduating from college. Luck was not on my side that day. As I came down the hill by Union Station, my attention was focused on the people exiting the metro, I failed to see a lane divider in front of me in the bike lane. (Yes, that’s the actual culprit, still standing two years later.) 

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