One-third of Americans say they’d have trouble coming up with an emergency $2,000

MarketWatch

About a third of consumers say they would have trouble coming up with an emergency $2,000, according to a new study released Monday.

The New York Fed, as part of its survey of consumer expectations, has begun releasing the answers to questions about financial fragility. The study found around 67% said they were likely to come up with $2,000 in a month, meaning nearly 33% said they weren’t likely.

The differences were most pronounced by credit score — only 11% of those with a credit score of 760 and above said they would have difficulty, versus 64% of those with a credit score of 680 and below.

The survey is consistent with other findings. The more than one-third of families that had large fluctuations in their incomes were more likely than those with stable incomes to say they wouldn’t be able to come up with $2,000 for an unexpected need, according to a study by the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts released in March.

The difference with the New York Fed report is the timeliness — it’s based on responses to a survey conducted in February. So it means that even an economy where the unemployment rate has been driven down to 4.7% hasn’t really changed the perceived vulnerability of Americans.

The survey also found the share of respondents who were too discouraged to apply over the past 12 months despite needing credit rose to 7.1%, the highest level since June 2014. That’s up from 5.7% in October 2016.

Perhaps less surprising, with the rise in mortgage rates, is the decreased desire to refinance mortgages. The likelihood of applying for a mortgage refinance over the next 12 months fell to 8.4% in February from 12.2% in October.

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