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According to the New York Times, four in 10 American adults wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that could be quickly paid off, a new Federal Reserve survey finds.


  1. According to the survey, how many people surveyed would need to borrow or sell something to pay for a $400 bill?
  2. Overall, what has happened to household finances over the history of the survey?
  3. What major disparities exist in the survey results?


Smilek, J. (2019). Many Adults Would Struggle to Find $400, the Fed Finds. New York Times, May 23 (retrievable online at )