Do two-thirds of Americans have no savings?

Thursday, February 3, 2022
By Lisa Freedland

Estimates of the number of Americans with no financial savings vary, but all are lower than two thirds.

A July 2021 survey by Bankrate found that one in four Americans (25%) have no backup cash in the event of an emergency — up from 21% in 2020.

A February 2021 survey by GOBankingRates found that 40% of Americans had less than $300 in savings.

GOBankingRates reported in 2019 that 45% of Americans had $0 dollars in a savings account. Respondents attributed their inability to save to living paycheck-to-paycheck and a high cost of living. The top cited solution to these issues was a higher salary.

A 2019 Federal Reserve survey found 12% of respondents could not afford a $400 expense, while an additional 37% would use credit cards, borrowing, or selling to cover it.

Most financial planners recommend maintaining an emergency fund capable of covering 3-6 months of expenses. 

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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