Nov 22, 2022

Question of the Day: What percentage of Americans cannot cover a $400 emergency with cash/equivalent?

Whether it's a faulty furnace or a broken many people are short on the money needed to pay for an emergency?

Answer: 32%

*Ways of payment include cash, funds from savings account, or credit card transaction paid off next statement.



  1. Are you surprised by this number? Why or why not?
  2. What are some emergency expenses that could amount to $400?
  3. How do you think the 32% cover this emergency cost if they don’t have money saved to cover it?
  4. Your friend says “Why would you want to save money when interest rates that banks pay for savings are so low?” Convince them that saving money is a good idea.  


Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the numbers (Federal Reserve Board):

"Relatively small, unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or a modest medical bill, can be a hardship for many families. When faced with a hypothetical expense of $400, 68 percent of all adults in 2021 said they would have covered it exclusively using cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement (referred to, altogether, as "cash or its equivalent"). The remainder said they would have paid by borrowing or selling something, or said they would not have been able to cover the expense."



Our DATA CRUNCH: How Would Americans Cover a $400 Emergency? from our Savings unit fits perfectly with this post.


Your students can play the NGPF Arcade Game "Spent" to experience what it means to live one unexpected expense away from financial difficulties. 

About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan grew up with and maintains a love for learning. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in Business Administration and worked in sports marketing for a number of years. After living in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Minnesota, the call of education eventually brought Ryan back to his home state of Wisconsin where he was a Business and Marketing teacher for three years. In his free time he likes to spend time with his wife and daughter, play basketball, read, and go fishing. Now with NGPF, Ryan is excited to help teachers lead the most important course their students will ever take.

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