Fewer than one in four Americans, or 24 percent, have enough savings to cover at least six months of expenses that could arise from an emergency, such as unemployment or a health crisis, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com.
Precisely half have enough saved up to cover less than three months of emergency expenses, and 27 percent have no emergency savings whatsoever.
These numbers have “barely budged in the past three years,” Bankrate said.
They have improved a bit from the pre-recession days of 2006, when only 39 percent of Americans had at least three months’ expenses saved up.
But that modest progress isn’t nearly enough, said Greg McBride, a certified financial advisor and Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst.
“We measure five key components of Americans’ financial security each month, and we routinely find that savings is the weakest area,” McBride said. “People who are less comfortable with their savings now versus a year ago outnumber people who are more comfortable by a margin of nearly two-to-one.”
That’s especially troubling since people are feeling much more optimistic about other aspects of their finances, he said.
Bankrate.com‘s Financial Security Index reached a new high of 102.7 in June.
This is the fourth consecutive month in which consumers have indicated improved financial security compared to the previous year.
Specifically, consumers currently are saying that their net worth is higher and they feel more secure in their jobs. They also say that they are more comfortable with their debt and their overall financial situations have improved.
- Only 17 percent report lower net worth than last year, the lowest since polling began in Dec. 2010.
- Those feeling more secure in their jobs outnumber those feeling less secure by a two-to-one margin. Merely 13 percent of employed Americans feel less secure in their jobs compared to one year ago, a new low.
- Thirty percent of Americans feel more comfortable with their debt compared to one year ago, a new high.
- And just one in five Americans feel their overall financial situation is worse now than one year ago, tying the lowest reading.