Americans Are Optimists Despite Having Fewer Than 3 Months Emergency Savings.

We are living in arguably the most affluent time in human history and most people don't have even $500 saved...

“Many Americans are kidding themselves if they have less than three months’ worth of expenses in emergency savings and claim to have any level of comfort with that,”

23% of Americans have no emergency savings, according to a survey by bankrate.com. With low unemployment and wages moving upward, "Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund," says Axios — but many (particularly millennials) are battling debt, and "only a small fraction" of Americans could "comfortably" maintain their lifestyle in an economic downturn. But there's good news: That 23% is at a seven-year low, and 29% of those surveyed have enough saved to cover at least six months of expenses.

You would guess Americans with insufficient savings would be wracked with angst and determined to beef up their funds.

Sadly, no.

"We are living in arguably the most affluent time in human history and most people don't have even $500 saved according to a recent article I just read. This is not an income problem, this is an out-go problem. The majority of the people living paycheck to paycheck are more than likely simply living beyond their means and/or in excess. Do you need that top of the line cell phone? Do you need that $60000 suv? Do you need that house that you paid 2x for an extra 1000 sqft while two generations ago your grandparents with 6-12 kids lived in a 900 sqft house? No. I fear this is a context problem. The past can teach us how to not make the same mistakes. Most of the people in this situation can correct their financial situations through lifestyle adjustments...like I did. " - Jonathan Arena

Want to impact the American economy in a truly life-altering way? Eliminate student loan debt. That alone would kick our economy up a few notches. Oh... and don't let our students get BACK into debt again. " - Brian Crum

How much do you have in emergency savings?

If you’re struggling to save, remember to crawl before you attempt to walk.

First write down all the costs you would need to keep up with, such as your mortgage or health insurance, even if you lost your job or couldn’t work for a spell.

Compare what you would need to spend in a month against what you have in savings. If you’re below the six-month threshold, make a plan to increase your savings.

One step: Automate your savings so 5 to 10 percent of your paycheck goes into a savings account. Increase your contributions anytime you receive a raise.

Train yourself to put extra cash into your emergency fund until you’ve hit one month worth of savings — then two, then three and so on.

The key, though, is follow-through. About 23 percent of those who had some amount saved, but less than three months, said they were somewhat comfortable with what they had. While that’s a start, it’s not nearly enough.



This study was conducted for Bankrate via landline and cell phone by SSRS on its Omnibus survey platform. Interviews were conducted from June 6-10, 2018 among a sample of 1,006 respondents. The margin of error for total respondents is +/- 3.68% at the 95% confidence level. SSRS Omnibus is a national, weekly, dual-frame bilingual telephone survey. All SSRS Omnibus data are weighted to represent the target population.