Savings vs. credit card debt

Financial Security Index survey chart

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Which is greater, your credit card debt or your emergency fund or savings?

  • Over 65 years old: 26 percent had neither debt nor savings, the most among all age groups.
  • 30 to 49 years old: One out of three people had higher debt than savings, the highest proportion.
  • Under 30 years old: 59 percent were most likely to report their emergency fund was larger.

Many people still have a lot of work to do …

Greg McBride, CFA

Senior financial analyst,

Only a little more than half of Americans, 52 percent, have more money in emergency savings than they do in credit card debt. Nearly one in four, or 23 percent, actually has more credit card debt than emergency savings. And 19 percent of Americans have no credit card debt — but no savings either, which puts them one unplanned expense away from the payday lender, the pawnshop or another high-cost source of funds. With more than 6 million Americans out of work longer than six months, the need for emergency savings has never been greater. Many people still have a lot of work to do in paying down credit card debt and accumulating an adequate savings cushion.

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Financial Security Index