June 2011: Emergency savings

Financial Security Index survey chart

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How much do you have in emergency savings — that is, money that is readily available in a checking account, savings account or money market?

  • Among respondents that were 18 to 29 years old, 35 percent had no savings and 28 percent had less than three months' worth of expenses.
  • Only one in 10 of respondents under 30 had six months' worth of expenses saved, or more.
  • Respondents 65 or older were most likely to have six months or more of emergency savings, at 39 percent, but 15 percent of this age category have no emergency savings.

The majority of Americans still have much work to do in building an adequate emergency savings cushion.

Greg McBride, CFA

Bankrate senior financial analyst

Over 6 million people have been out of work longer than six months, yet only 24 percent of Americans have at least six months' expenses in an emergency fund. An equal 24 percent have nothing tucked away for a rainy day. And 22 percent have some savings, but not enough to cover even three months' expenses. Those under age 30 and the lowest-income households were most likely to report having no emergency savings at all.

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