Car rates

In an unequal economy, the poor face inflation now and job loss later

However, the lease only lasts for a year and Mrs. Clarke worries about finding accommodation if it is not renewed. Even now, she can barely make ends meet: She recently lost her car keys and had to spend nearly $500 to replace them, wiping out almost all of her small rainy-day fund and leaving her in a meltdown. financial disaster.

“When you don’t have any money, you’re on a fixed income, you’re constantly thinking, ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t have bought that,'” she said. “There is no cushion. There really never was.

More financially comfortable families also face headwinds, which could eventually prompt them to slow down their spending. The cash savings they’ve accumulated during the pandemic won’t last forever, and rising prices could prompt many households to cut spending.

And swoon stock markets could prompt wealthier families, who tend to invest more money, to spend less than they otherwise would. Some economists believe that people in this demographic have mostly continued to spend recently – despite their declining economic confidence – because they are eager to take vacations they had postponed earlier in the pandemic.

“Where I budget is to make room for travel,” said Mr. Trevino from Los Angeles. “I feel like I kind of missed that.”

Economists have speculated that the resilience of wealthier consumers may fade as the fall approaches and they are taking stock of their finances amid an economic downturn. But for now, the reality that America’s wealthiest consumers have yet to retreat sharply from rising prices could pave a difficult path for the country’s poorest.

“We really, in a way, haven’t noticed much inflation,” Schoenfeld said. “This economy is very unfair.”

Jason Karaian contributed report.