How far will our savings go?
Our disparate savings habits are reflected in this interesting parallel: roughly an equal number of Americans could live for a year off of their savings (25 percent) as could only make it a month or less (22 percent).
|America's savings aspirations|
Women are much more likely than men to say they can only live one month or less off their savings (26 percent vs. 17 percent).
Roughly a third of men (29 percent) report they can survive off their savings for a year or more if they were laid off, versus 20 percent of women.
"There is clearly a gender issue and that shouldn't be a surprise in terms of family trajectories, divorce rates, income differences," says Manning. "But clearly women are reflecting greater financial anxiety. Not only are they more likely to have debt, but they're more concerned about it."
Nondebtors are more likely to have the wherewithal to live for a year or more off of savings (31 percent vs. 21 percent for debtors). More importantly, close to half of current nonsavers (45 percent) could only last for a month or less on their accumulated savings.
|How long would savings last?|
Savings and satisfaction
Some 41 percent of survey respondents report they are satisfied with the amount they save. However, that means the inverse is true: nearly 60 percent are not satisfied.
David Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, says that level of dissatisfaction seems pretty accurate. "However, I suspect that the 41 percent who say they are satisfied relates mostly to a feeling that they are saving as much as they possibly can, not that they would not want to save more," he says.
As a reminder that the responses are self-reported with no control for accuracy, Bankrate senior analyst Greg McBride says, "Just for comic relief, I have to point this out: 50 percent of those who don't save say they save as much as possible because they're worried about tomorrow."