The financial downturn hit many consumers particularly hard, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to successfully build their savings accounts to cover even basic rainy-day expenses that might arise over the course of their lives.
Today, 46 percent of consumers say they have less than $800 in savings, and of that group, nearly half have less than $100, according to a new survey from CashNet USA. This can obviously be problematic for Americans who run into a financial emergency, particularly for those with children under the age of 18 years old, 56 percent of whom say they have less than $800 to access in an emergency.
Interestingly, those closer to retirement now say they have less in savings than their slightly younger counterparts, at least compared with last year, the report said. In all, just less than three in five of those in their 50s have savings of $800 or more, compared with 69 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of people in their 40s who had that much stashed away rose to 56 percent from 47 percent last year. Savings rose most in the North Central U.S., where 76 percent of people now have savings of more than $100, compared with 69 percent last year. The West saw a similar dip, as savings rates fell to 75 percent from 82 percent, and both the Northeast and South held steady.
Further, only 37 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 30 said that they’d turn to family members for financial help if necessary, compared with more than half of that group saying the same thing last year, the report said. There was also a significant decline in interest in doing so among people in their 30s, as 38 percent now say they would ask family for assistance, compared with 48 percent last year. Overall, those who would do so dipped to just three in 10 across all age groups from slightly more than two in five. On a different demographic level, one-third of women said this is something they would do, compared with just 28 percent of men.
Having funds on hand to cover expenses when necessary is often vital to helping consumers avoid debt they may not be able to afford in the long-term. Many consumers made concerted efforts to slash debt in the last few years.
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