Many reasons Americans don't put money into savings
Millions of Americans likely know full well that when it comes to their finances, one of the smartest things they can do is put money away for a rainy day financial emergency. However, many also know all too well that this is often much easier said than done, and there are a number of reasons even beyond the lack of financial flexibility with which some still struggle that contribute to low or no savings for many consumers.
Perhaps the biggest reason that Americans aren't putting money into their savings accounts these days is that they don't see much of a reason to do so, according to a report from the financial news site MarketWatch. Indeed, while banks used to provide significant interest rates that earned decent returns for money in a savings account, those numbers have fallen precipitously industry-wide, to the point that the average rate usually isn't much higher than 1 percent for most bank customers, meaning the effort just isn't worth it to some people.
Troublesome bank practices
However, there's often a bigger problem here as well: Bank accounts just aren't affordable for millions of Americans, the report said. In addition to making the rate of return on savings accounts less generous, many banks have also increased the fees on many of the accounts they offer, meaning that unless people are maintaining a solid minimum balance or otherwise keeping things running along smoothly, they're going to be hit with some significant fees. That effectively prices many low-income Americans out of the market for a savings account altogether in many cases.
In addition, people are now dealing with a lot of debt, even after much of it was shed during and after the recession, the report said. As such, they often simply don't have enough money lying around to make managing a savings account a viable long-term idea.
Other financial problems
In addition to all that, there's also the persistent problem that consumers' wages haven't increased all that significantly in years, the report said. That comes as prices for all sorts of things have increased over the same span, meaning that the "personal" rate of inflation - that is, what people experience in their everyday lives - has been significant, even as the actual inflation rate has remained relatively static for years. This is also true for a number of other reasons, such as employers shifting more health insurance benefit costs onto workers while keeping their salaries unchanged.
Saving money is, however, something that should be pursued aggressively by consumers on a regular basis. That will help them to be in a better position to cover emergency costs when they arise - as they so often do - and put them on a better financial footing going forward. In some cases, it may even allow them to pay down their debts more quickly, thereby building up a better credit score and further improving their financial position overall.