Most Americans would have some trouble paying for an unexpected $400 expense. About 45 percent of people would pay off the cost with cash from their checking or savings account. Other respondents hobbled together a combination of alternative payments including, paying off credit cards
over time; borrowing from friends and family; selling something; opening a line of credit or bank loan, and using a payday loan or accepting overdraft fees.
Since 2013, people’s self-reported ability to handle unexpected expenses has increased. Still, 16 percent of respondents simply said they would not be able to pay for the expense if it came up. The Federal Reserve
, which conducted the study, found that a fifth of adults had an unexpected medical bill
the previous year, with about a quarter of adults skipping essential medical care in 2018 because they couldn’t foot the bill.