Only 39% of Americans could cover emergency expenses of $ 1,000, report says

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The physical health of many has been ravaged by the COVID-19 crisis, but it is also affecting financial health.

According to a new report from Bankrate, only 39% of Americans say they could cover an unexpected expense of $ 1,000.

Liz Coyle of the statewide consumer group Georgia Watch says it’s even worse for consumers in Peach State.

“Most Georgians couldn’t even afford an emergency expense of $ 400,” Coyle said. “You know, for a lot of people, $ 1,000 would be completely impossible to save. “

Coyle says that while some people have kept their jobs, others have faced reduced hours or layoffs.

“There are a lot of them in restaurants and other jobs that may have been permanently affected by the pandemic,” she said. “What was already bad for many Georgians is only worse.”

She says many still owe utility companies money, and that although there has been a moratorium on evictions, at some point people have to make up their rent.

“What really concerns us is a ‘tsunami’ of debt. I’m afraid people are forgetting that there are still a lot of Americans, a lot of Georgians, who got so stuck in the hole during the pandemic that they need to have some kind of protection, ”Coyle said.

Coyle says that should include not having COVID-related debts reported to credit unions.

“It could ruin someone’s credit rating, and it could take years for people to rebuild themselves,” Coyle said. “When you have a low credit score, it means you’re going to pay a lot more to borrow to buy a car or a house. “

She hopes state lawmakers take swift action early in the legislative session by passing more rules to prevent predatory lending and astronomical interest rates on some of those loans.

“So we really hope that action will be taken very early in this legislative session,” Coyle said. “Many Georgians, even before the pandemic, were living paycheck to paycheck and were unable to save. “

Coyle says those in need will need more help than ever.

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