Right now, do you have $1,000 to deal with an emergency that came up suddenly? How about just $400? If the answer is no, you are like almost half of America, according to a recent Federal Reserve Board survey.

In a well-known and oft-shared 2016 article in The Atlantic, Neal Gabler explores (and shares from his own life) a pervasive economic problem in our country. The problem is paycheck-to-paycheck living by “middle class” people. You may be able to relate to some of Mr. Gabler’s financial struggles.

Financial shame

According to the results of the Federal Reserve survey, 47 percent of people don’t have $400 available if they needed it. This is a definitive sign of living paycheck to paycheck — a situation in which many millions of Americans find themselves.

Gabler points out that even though the problem of being cash-poor (and other kinds of poor, like having significant credit card debt or low or non-existent net worth) is incredibly common, nobody wants to talk about it. Shame is a huge factor for many people with good jobs, college degrees, houses and other signs of membership in the “middle class.”

Bankruptcy, savings and debt

Many people experience problem debt after a divorce, a job loss, a serious medical problem or another event outside of their control. Most of us will acknowledge that having savings is important, but even people with a good amount of money in the bank can burn through that money during hard times.

A Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing can help consumers eradicate or restructure their debts and move toward a more hopeful financial future. Bankruptcy is not right for everyone, so get proper legal advice if you are considering debt relief through the courts.