"CareerBuilder reports that nearly 10 percent of Americans with salaries of $100,000 or more live paycheck to paycheck as well."
Every time I see this in a client, I warn them. I tell them I see equations all the time, and theirs scares the sh^t out of me.
One time, it was a couple making about $260K, and they couldn't seem to pay a bill on time, or save a dime for retirement. When I warned them they're in for a nasty shock when they retire, he responded by saying, "Well, I've penciled it out, and if I stay at this job another 20 years, I'll retire with a pension of $100,000 a year!" (btw...he's gone from the job already)
I congratulated him, and then wondered aloud: since that was only HALF of what they were spending now, exactly what they were planning on giving up when they retired? Clearly, no one had ever couched their predicament in those terms. They were stunned, and as a result, he started putting away $250/month.
Two months later he calls me: "We got a problem," he said, "I told them to take out $250, and they only took out $175." I asked him what his paystub showed, and he said $250/month. "But," he added, "my take-home only dropped by $175."
I had to point out the additional $75 would've gone to taxes, and for them, putting away $250 a month didn't cost $250 a month. I use this example all the time to teach folks saving money isn't as expensive as you think. Saving $250 didn't cut $250 from their budget, only $175.