According to a survey undertaken by Bankrate.com, approximately half of Americans are without savings that can last them more than three months if they lose their income. The implications are that most Americans would actually be unprepared for a financial emergency. The study put the number at 25% of the country having no funds to take care of a rainy day.
Bankrate.com, a website offering financial planning advice and services, commissioned the study done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. For the survey, the researchers contacted and spoke to 1006 Americans across all age groups.
The findings were shocking; indicating that America is a nation living beyond its means. The reasons for this could not be easily identified but the economic woes of the recent past must have had an effect on the financial status of Americans.
27% of the surveyed Americans had no saving at all; while 50% had savings which could not see them through 3 months. The ideal situation or rather the rule of thumb is that an individual should have a savings cushion to cover the living expenses of 6 months. According to the survey, only 24% of Americans satisfy the provision. The margin of error for the research was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
The survey indicates that older Americans are marginally wealthier and are most likely to have sufficient savings. 39% of the people in the 65 year or older age group had sufficient savings with only 15% of them having no savings at all.
On the other hand, the younger Americans within the 18-29 years bracket had no saving culture. Figures obtained from the study show that 63% of people within the age group had no savings to see then past three months of living expenses. 35% of this group had no savings at all.
The recession must have taken its toll especially because many Americans lost their jobs and subsequently a stable income. The result: emergency funds were quickly depleted. Many Americans are therefore vulnerable to financial duress should anything nasty happen. Greg McBride from Bankrate.com, when presenting the results, insisted that the majority of Americans need to work harder at building savings for emergency situations. The reasoning behind that assertion is that over the last three years, the economy has been performing favorably, job security has been on the rise and the overall financial situation has been commendable yet savings rates have changed little.
Further still, Americans are using debt to finance their lifestyle choices. Too many people have taken huge mortgages to buy houses bigger than they actually need. In essence, many Americans are operating on a negative cash flow. The tide is changing albeit slowly and people should build their savings as their debt load become lighter and their financial situation looks up.
Basic skills such as budget preparation can cut down on splurging and spending. Lastly, people should be aware of the fact that establishing an emergency fund or building some savings is usually an arduous process where savings grow gradually.