Few Americans have any money in savings
Millions of people across the country have recently gone through some rather difficult financial times in recent years thanks to the economic downturn, and while there has been improvement, many still struggle to this day. In fact, the problem is still so bad that these days that more than 1 in 3 adults have no money in savings at all.
Today, more than 72 million people don't have any emergency savings, representing 34 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to new research from the nonprofit NeighborWorks America. That's up from 29 percent a year ago. Moreover, though, it seems that people who are hit with difficult financial problems may be in trouble even if they do have savings; close to half say the money they have stocked away wouldn't last for more than three months, and that number, too, is up from last year (when it was 41 percent).
"These data are sobering, but not that surprising for those of us who have been working on the front-lines to help families rebuild their finances," said Paul Weech, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America. "The hole that many people found themselves in due to the Great Recession - dug by sharply reduced home equity during the crisis and lagging wages during the recovery - was deep and digging out is going to take more time."
A shift in priorities?
In addition, just 1 percent of people say that they feel saving for emergencies is an important financial goal, the report said. That's down from 5 percent a year ago, but it might indicate that people are generally feeling better about their current financial positions as well. And unsurprisingly, income disparity plays a huge role in the ability to save overall; only 1 in 5 people making at least $100,000 per year said they had emergency savings on hand, while more than half of those with incomes of less than $40,000 annually responded similarly.
Saving money should be a priority for many Americans because it can help to firm up their financial standing. But so too does access to reliable, affordable credit, and as such it might be wise for low-income Americans to ask their landlords and utilities companies to report their monthly bill payments to alternative credit score providers such as PRBC to boost their standings overall.