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The Unrelenting Panic Of Being One Crisis Away From Financial Disaster

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(Photo by Peter Dutton via Flickr)
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You're not the only one not saving money.

As housing costs continue to plunder paychecks across California, residents are left without savings, without a nest egg, and without the peace of mind of knowing they have resources to address an unexpected expense or emergency.

Life on the brink of financial ruin is not a new situation, but it is the focus of a new installment of The California Dream series -- a statewide media collaboration that includes LAist's cohort, KPCC.

KPBS's Amita Sharma reports that a third of California renters -- and 16 percent of homeowners -- are paying more than 50 percent of their paycheck on housing; the federal government recommends spending no more than 30 percent on housing. This imbalance leaves little, if anything, to save. Meanwhile, rent and home prices keep rising.

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Since 2013, the average monthly rent on a three-bedroom apartment has jumped 19 percent in California, according to Irvine-based ATTOM Data Solutions. Home prices are up nearly 40 percent. "Roughly since that time period, we've seen average wages go up 9 percent," said Daren Blomquist, ATTOM's senior vice president of communications. "It's not sustainable at all."

Read the full report, which follows the cyclic panic of one Southern California renter.

Then tell the #CADream Facebook group about your experience saving (or not saving) money in California.

The California Dream series is a statewide media collaboration of CALmatters, KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the James Irvine Foundation.