Americans continue to show a stunning lack of progress in accumulating sufficient emergency savings. Bankrate.com's latest look shows that two-thirds of Americans have saved less than the recommended six months' worth of expenses -- and 26 percent, or just over 1-in-4 -- have no emergency savings at all. Even among the top third of income-earning households, those with annual income of $75,000 or more – fewer than half, just 46 percent -- have a six-month savings cushion.
People between the ages of 30 and 49 are more likely than any other age group to have no emergency savings. However, 18- to 30-year-olds are the most likely to have up to five months' expenses saved up. Why the contrast? Many of those under age 30 have the benefit of lower expenses due to roommates, living with their parents or being students. Ages 30 through 49 are high-spending years when expenses often rise faster than emergency savings can keep up.
Graphic showing percentage of Americans with emergency savings:
No emergency savings – 26 percent.
Some, but less than would cover 3 months' expenses – 24 percent.
3 to 5 months' expenses – 17 percent.
Enough to cover 6 months' expenses or more – 23 percent.
Don't know/refused – 9 percent.
Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index posted a rebound in June, to 101.5, indicating improvement over one year ago. Feelings about both job security and comfort level with debt recovered, and net worth and overall financial situation remain areas of strength, particularly as the stock market continues setting new record highs. Savings remains a weak spot and has been in negative territory every month since polling began in December 2010.
For more information on this month's Financial Security Index, just visit Bankrate.com. I'm Greg McBride.