4 of 10 Americans have $0 in savings

The standard financial advice is that we should have at least three months’ worth of income in savings for emergencies like job loss, sickness, and sudden expenses like car repair.

Alex Whitehouse, president and CEO of Whitehouse Wealth Management in Vancouver, Washington, said:

“Having cash in a savings account is important because life happens. Companies lay off employees, cars break down and people get sick. Without savings, unexpected spending forces people to take on debt, frequently using credit cards. At 16% or more interest, credit cards become a very costly way to handle sudden expenses.”

According to the U.S. Census, the median U.S. household income in 2016 was was $59,039 or a monthly income of $4,919. That means the average American household should have at least $14,000 in savings.

For the past two years, GOBankingRates has surveyed Americans to find out how much we have in savings.

Cameron Huddleston reports for GOBankingRates, Sept. 12, 2017, that this year, GOBankingRates asked more than 8,000 Americans the same question as in years past:

“How much money do you have saved in your savings account?”

 Respondents were asked to choose one of the following answers:

  • $0
  • Less than $1,000
  • $1,000-$4,999
  • $5,000-$9,999
  • $10,000 or more

The results of the survey are nothing less than alarming:

  • 39%, i.e., nearly 4 out of every 10 Americans, said they have $0 in savings. That’s an increase of 5% from last year’s 34%.
  • 57% or more than half of Americans said they have less than $1,000 in savings, which is an improvement from last year’s 69%.
  • 12% said they have $1,000 to $4,999 in savings, which is slightly better than last year’s 11%.
  • Only 6% said they have $5,000 to $9,999 in savings, which is better than last year’s 4%.
  • 25% said they have more than $10,000 in savings, which is much better than last year’s 15%.

In other words, as compared to last year’s survey results, Americans increasingly are bifurcated: the number of savers with more than $10,000 in savings has increased from 15% to 25%, but the number of those with literally NOTHING in savings has also increased, from 34% to 39%.

As one would expect, how much savings one has is somewhat correlated with age:

  • Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are more likely than other generations to have nothing saved. In 2017, 46% of millennials have nothing in savings — 15% more than last year’s 31%.
  • Among baby boomers (ages 55 to 64), one-third (33%) have nothing saved, just like last year. But the percentage with more than $10,000 in savings has increased from last year’s 17% to 32%.
  • Seniors (ages 65 and older) have the highest percentage of all age groups with more than $10,000 in savings — 39% (last year was 23%). However, almost as many (32%) have $0 in savings.

How much should you have tucked away?

Intuit‘s Kimmie Greene offers a simple formula to help you figure out if you’re setting aside enough money:

  • In your 20s: Aim to save 25% of your overall gross pay, including retirement account contributions, matching funds from your company, cash savings or money you have invested elsewhere, like in index funds or with robo-advisers.
  • By age 30: Have the equivalent of your annual salary saved. So, if you earn $50,000 a year, aim to have $50,000 in savings when you hit 30.
  • By age 35: Have twice your annual salary saved.
  • By age 40: Have three times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 45: Have four times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 50: Have five times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 55: Have six times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 60: Have seven times your annual salary saved.
  • By age 65: Have eight times your annual salary saved.

Fidelity Investments says a good rule of thumb is to have the equivalent of your salary saved by age 30 and to have 10 times your final salary in savings if you want to retire by age 67.


14 responses to “4 of 10 Americans have $0 in savings

  1. Try saving while on soc sec disability LOL

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Dangerous time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Total Amount In Savings:


  4. Pingback: 4 of 10 Americans Have $0 in Savings | The Olive Branch Report

  5. Like the bottom 39%, I have $0 in savings, and I have no prospects of ever again saving any money at all. My meager retirement account of $11,000 was wiped out in 2011 as a result of my being laid off in October 2010. I still don’t have a full-time job seven years later. I am 60, and I will never be able to retire. I used to live in a house, but now I just rent a room. I never know if I will be able to pay the next month’s rent even though I teach college. This is not a sob story; this is the new American economy. I only expect things to worsen greatly for more and more people as the petrodollar system collapses under assault from the gold-backed yuan and the dollar begins to precipitously decline in value.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Voltaire: Inevitably fiat currency reaches its intrinsic value: zero.
    The Fed has “printed” trillions of dollars out of thin air devaluing
    the US dollar. The USS Titanic has been commandeered and is
    sinking rapidly. As one prominent figure said “When we are done,
    America will blow away in the wind.”


  7. Count me in among the 40%. But, in all honesty, count us all in: The debt-based and worthless fiat currency created and managed by the Rothschilds is magic money: They can inflate it or deflate it or debase it or declare it worthless AT WILL. The “Federal Reserve” is not “federal,” and it has no “reserves” at all.
    Like everyone else, I am a hamster on a wheel to oblivion! But the real thing to do (easier said than done!) is to SAVE FIRST—even if it’s only $5 a day. SAVE FIRST, pay everything else after that.
    Easier said than DONE!


  8. Silver, the poor man’s gold, is still cheap. There may be a time when silver you bought at $17 an ounce trades for $1k , or more. Can’t inflate silver or gold. That being said, paper gold has been inflated to the tune of 1 real oz for every 400 oz in paper that has been sold on that 1 oz at comex. This fraud will collapse when people start demanding physical metal instead of dollars, then a little thing called price discovery takes place and gold will skyrocket as the usd collapses back to intrinsic value of ink on paper. Think of Zimbabwe where all the bathrooms have signs stating “do not use zim dollars as toilet paper” because they don’t slush easily. Thinmk of the pictures you might have seen of the late Wiemar republic (1920s Germany) where people used wheel barrows to carry enough reichsmarks to buy a loaf of bread. Think of all the places where when the currency collapses by the hour such that as soon as people get their paycheck they go and spend it on anything tangible because in another hour their pay will be worth 20 percent less…..

    A lot of people say when the dollar collapses silver and gold will be pointless since everything’s failed, and therefor don’t recommend buying precious metals as insurance. Well, you can think what you want but gold and silver have always been money around the world while every fiat currency system has eventually collapsed back down to the value of a similar size sheet of paper, maybe even less since it’s already been written on. Venezuela just started accepting on the Chinese Yuan for oil payment, and other countries will follow. China is set to sell several billion in US bonds, dropping the price of US bonds globally. Stock market is way overvalued, some say a 50 percent drop would be good compared to a 90 percent drop. Nothing that failed us in 2007, economically speaking, has been repaired or patched, matter of fact, instead of 1 lehman brothers or bear sterns taking everything down it’ll be thousands of lehmans. But no matter what, it is messiah who keeps us safe, fed, clothed, and in our right mids.


    • Silver is hard to find when the price is low. Dealers won’t sell it. They only come out to sell when the price is high. Of course I’m talking about the ones who have shops you can peruse.


      • There are a number of online shops that will sell silver a bit over spot price for US coins. Here’s a url since it’s to Steve Quayle’s pm site;

        Steve Quayle’s site has spot prices at the top as well as interesting news pieces;

        Here’s another metals site;

        I’ve no connection to either and buy mine from a friend, but the apmex coins look very well priced with free shipping if orders are over 99 bucks. Otherwise it’s 10 bucks, don’t know the SQ pricing and delivery.

        Regardless I say stay away from local coin shops as these are almost always higher than a kite, but some shops may surprise you by being reasonable. If a silver coin in a coin shop is close to spot price for a non collectable coin I say grab it. Also, I’ve got silver from antique stores that were reasonably priced.

        Also be sure to look over what coins you have on hand, you want 1964 and earlier dimes to dollars for silver content, however some half dollars had a decreased silver content till 1968 or so. A dropped silver coin sounds markedly different to a non silver US coin, very distinct, wich makes sorting easier.


  9. Pingback: 4 of 10 Americans have $0 in savings | Jina Scholten's Blog

  10. They’re probably talking about 2 people (mom and dad) working full time jobs to afford their over priced mcmansion. Good luck saving money when you’ve got loans out your ears.
    I’ve never earned even close to 50,000 in my whole life. So much for the myth that a college degree helps you earn more money, ha ha ha!


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