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Financial Literacy - Emergency fund
POLL
National poll results
The results are mixed. Americans are saving more than last year, but some are better off than others.
Creating an emergency fund

Women trail men in saving

Nearly half of Americans have managed to sock away at least three months of living expenses in emergency savings and three quarters have managed to save at least something. Plus savers are earning more interest than they did last year.

Men vs. women

Women, however, lag markedly behind men in all three areas.

Bankrate commissioned GfK Roper to conduct a random survey of Americans' emergency savings situations as part of our yearlong Financial Literacy series. We ran an identical poll a year ago and compared the numbers. While the survey reveals some progress over last year and a couple areas of distinct improvement, women, the young and lower-income groups take up the rear, living in uncertain circumstances.

Do you have any of the following types of accounts?

Source: Bankrate.com 2007

Savings: good and bad news
Having a savings cushion to fall back on in case of job loss, medical emergency or large unexpected expense is one of the most important things you can do to avoid falling victim to crushing debt or bankruptcy. While three in four (77 percent) respondents report holding some type of savings product, men are significantly more likely than women to own any savings-based account (81 percent versus 72 percent).

"It's important to have money that's easy to get at so you don't have to turn to credit cards or dip into a 401(k)," says Sharon Epperson, CNBC correspondent and author of "The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money -- And Live Richly Ever After."

"The fact that 50 percent don't have at least three months' expenses in savings is the reason so many people are in credit card debt," she says. "I don't know if it's worse or just as bad, but without emergency savings the other option people turn to is to dip into 401(k) funds, which they will have to pay back, usually with interest."

-- Posted: July 23, 2007
 
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