Economic News

22% of Americans have less than $100 in savings


Many Americans have little to no savings and are becoming less willing to ask family for help. This makes emergencies and major purchases more and more difficult.


Shallow savings accounts

Consumers’ rainy day funds couldn’t withstand a torrential downpour for long, as a CashNet USA survey of 1,000 Americans shows that 22 percent of Americans have less than $100 in savings. While the survey is limited to those approached by CashNet, this statistic suggests that perhaps more people are underfunding their savings account and wouldn’t be able to meet unexpected emergency expenses should they arise.

Fully 46 percent of survey respondents reported having less than $800 in an emergency savings fund, and 56 percent of Americans with children under the age of 18 reported having less than $800 set aside for an emergency. Although economic hardship is a struggle with or without kids, having to take care of a household with the additional financial responsibilities that come along with having a child can further diminish how far an $800 fund will go.

Willingness to ask family for help is diminishing

The survey also found that women are five percent more likely than men to approach a family member for financial help (33 percent versus 28 percent, respectively), however the overall willingness of Americans to ask a family member for help have diminished since 2012. Last year, 54 percent of Americans ages 18-30 said they would reach out to a family member for assistance versus only 37 percent in 2013. The results also show that people ages 30-39 are the age group most likely to seek financial help from a family member.

Savings practices are also better in some parts of the U.S. than others with the South and Northeast holding stable in their savings allocations and other regions varying from year to year. The North Central U.S. had a seven percent increase in the number of people who had more than $100 in their savings accounts, showing that more residents of that region are doing a better job of socking away money for a rainy day (numbers were 69 percent in 2012 and 76 percent in 2013).

The West had a 7 percent decrease, with only 75 percent of residents having more than $100 in their savings versus 82 percent in 2012. Although the study can’t be generalized to the entire U.S. population, it does prompt people to look at their spending and savings habits and determine how they would fare in an emergency financial situation.



  1. Charity Kountz

    June 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Yep, we’re in that 22% unfortunately. We’ve had to wipe out our savings four times in two years due to emergencies and even though we had between $3,000 – $5,000 in savings, it still wasn’t enough to deal with repeated job losses. And honestly, I don’t know that we could do anything different than we’ve done. Interesting to know that we’re not alone at least.

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