WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 140 of 195

or unexpected home or auto repairs — or a significant mismatch between the income and expenses, food insecurity can be a short- term struggle. "Tightening the belt," sacrific- ing food and/or nutrition in favor of making fixed payments like rent, mortgage, utilities, car payment, or medicine, is often a go-to strategy in this situation. Success hinges, how- ever, on how long one can go without ade- quate cash to pay the bills. Today, 63 percent of Americans do not have sufficient savings to cover a $500 emer- gency, according to a recent study by The Pew Charitable Trust. Accumulating ample savings can be particularly challenging in cities like Boston that have a high cost of living: hous- ing costs are 94 percent higher here than the national average, childcare costs are the second highest in the country, and many have signifi- cant student loan debt. It takes a higher wage to earn a living wage, and to save, in these parts. Unfortunately, that means that financial shocks can quickly, and abruptly, transport people from being full to being hungry. (The exception, of course, is in situations where there is external financial support — from friends and/or family, for example.) How common are financial shocks? Sixty percent of households have experienced one or more financial shocks during the last 12 months. Like hunger, financial shocks are highly democratic. They happen at the same rate to people of all ages, ethnicities, and in- comes. What is less egalitarian is how big of a 139 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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