Since the recession, Americans have become more aware of the need to save. However, stagnant wages and rising cost of living have created a country where only 50% of people have 6 months' emergency savings. (Photo: Digital Vision. Getty Images)
Ben Mitchell, USA TODAY
Americans are good at spending but lousy at saving, according to a new report on Americans' finances.
A report out Monday from Bankrate.com finds only 24% of Americans have enough savings to cover at least six months' expenses and only 50% have less than three months' expenses saved up.
Most alarmingly, 27% of Americans have no emergency savings at all. According to the Bankrate.com's press release, those numbers haven't budged in three years.
"We measure five key components of Americans' financial security each month, and we routinely find that savings is the weakest area," said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst, "Americans have a rich history of living beyond their needs."
For the most part, consumers feel confident their finances are in order. Bankrate.com's June report found that consumers say their net worth is higher, they feel more secure in their jobs, they're more comfortable with their debt and their overall financial situations are better.
The recent economic gains, though modest, have Americans feeling wealthier, according to McBride. June marked the fourth straight month consumers indicated improved financial security compared to the previous year.
But still, savings are lagging. Since 2006, there has only been an 11% increase in people with at least three months expenses saved up. McBride doesn't believe it's enough.
"People who are less comfortable with their savings now versus a year ago outnumber people who are more comfortable by a margin of nearly two-to-one," says McBride, "Since the recession, many people have realized that a lack of savings leaves them exposed. But they can't afford to shore up that gap right now."
The rising cost of living and stagnant wages have made savings less of a priority across all income levels. One in seven people earning between $50,000 and $75,000 have no emergency funds and less than 50% of Americans earning above $75,000 have adequate savings.