A stunning percentage of Texas households have no savings whatsoever, according to figures compiled by the left-leaning Corporation for Enterprise Development.
1200 WOAI news reports that 27.7% of Texas adults, other than their home and car, have no assets whatsoever to deal with emergencies and financial needs.
Wendy Kowalik, president of the prominent San Antonio financial management firm Predico Partners, sees it all the time.
"We are becoming more and more dependent on credit," she said. "We are not in the habit of paying ourselves first, we are used to that more immediate gratification."
Kowalik says the figures are 'scary' because they indicate that more than one quarter of all families, a slight 'hiccup,' like a needed car repair or a plumbing emergency, could send the families spiraling further into debt. She says it is this tenuous financial situation which led to so many people losing their homes during the Great Recession.
Democratic-party aligned groups point to the study as evidence that the 'Texas miracle,' as touted by Governor Perry, of low taxes and low regulation, is leading to a growth in the number of working poor, and shows the rot at the center of the state's financial success.
But Kowalik says in many ways, the Federal Reserve and the policies of the Obama Administration are more to blame than state government. She points out that people want to see some reward for taking tough measures like saving rather than spending, and she says Certificate of Deposit interest rates of less than one half of one percent are not an incentive for savings.
"When they can see a benefit from having increased savings and getting more return for it, they are more likely to put some money away," she said.
She says people are also worried about inflation, and since in inflationary times money is worth less tomorrow than it is today, provides an incentive to spend today and not save for tomorrow when those dollars will buy less.
But Kowalik says it is critical to have a savings for emergencies, and, fortunately, a wonderful opportunity to accomplish that is right around the corner.
"You have a lot of people with tax refunds coming in very quickly," she said. "Take that money and rather than buying that TV or buying something else you have been waiting on, put that money aside to start a savings account."