NEW YORK –More than 1 in 3 (34%) Americans has less emergency savings now than one year ago, while fewer than 1 in 4 (24%) has more, according to a new Bankrate.com report. Meanwhile, 32% have about the same amount, and 10% had no savings then and have none now. Consequently, most Americans (58%) are now uncomfortable (including 32% who are very uncomfortable) with the amount of emergency savings they have, up from 48% last year and 44% in 2020.
Only 42% profess any comfort with their savings now, including 29% who are somewhat comfortable and just 13% who are very comfortable. Among those who are either very or somewhat comfortable, 82% have at least three months of expenses saved. For those who are either very or somewhat uncomfortable, 75% either have no savings or less than what would cover three months’ worth of expenses. Of those who are very uncomfortable with their current state of emergency savings, just 43% have any savings at all.
“The percentage of Americans who are comfortable with their emergency savings has gone from 54% to 42% in the past two years, while those uncomfortable has jumped from 44% to a majority 58%,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride, CFA. “Inflation at the highest levels in 40 years will erode the comfort level with, and buying power of, your emergency savings.”
Overall, nearly 1 in 4 (23%) has no emergency savings at all, down from 25% last year and among the lowest levels seen in the 12 years of polling. At the other end of the spectrum, 27% of households have enough emergency savings to cover six months or more of expenses, up from 25% each of the past two years and the highest since 2018. An additional 22% of households have savings that would cover 3-5 months of expenses, while 28% have some savings, but not enough to cover three months of expenses.
“Even with fewer households having no emergency savings and 56% having the same or more savings than one year ago, the majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the emergency savings they have in 2022, a change from the previous two years,” added McBride.
Generationally, just 40% of millennials (ages 26-41) have at least three months’ expenses saved compared to 47% of Gen Xers (ages 42-57) and 62% of baby boomers (ages 58-76).
Accordingly, just 38% of millennials are somewhat or very comfortable with their emergency savings, increasing to 41% among Gen Xers and 49% for baby boomers.
Among households earning less than $50,000 annually, 37% have no emergency savings, while a majority in all income groups earning $50,000 or more annually have enough to cover at least three months of expenses (57% of those earning $50,000-$74,999; 59% earning $75,000- $99,999; and 71% earning $100,000 or more).
Only households with annual earnings of $100,000 or more have a majority (59%) feeling comfortable with their level of savings compared to 45% earning $75,000-$99,999, 46% earning $50,000-$74,999, and 31% earning less than $50,000 annually.
This study was conducted by SSRS on its Opinion Panel Omnibus platform. The SSRS Opinion Panel Omnibus is a national, twice-per-month, probability-based survey. Data collection was conducted from June 3 – June 5, 2022, among a sample of 1,025 respondents. The survey was conducted via web (n=995) and telephone (n=30) and administered in English (n=1,000) and Spanish (n=25). The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All SSRS Opinion Panel Omnibus data are weighted to represent the target population of U.S. adults ages 18 or older. Data collection for surveys fielded prior to 2022 were conducted entirely via RDD telephone.