Monday, November 19, 2018

Danger, Will Robinson

I suspected the state of personal savings were bad, and they are indeed. From USA Today: "Experts agree that for true protection from financial emergencies, it's best to sock away up to six months' worth of living expenses in the bank. For the typical household in a major metro area, that's about $23,000. But the average American has less than $4,000 in savings, while 57% of U.S. adults have less than $1,000 to their names."

I knew the savings rate was low, but this is a disaster waiting to happen. But is this really true? How can it be? When interest rates are held at artificially low levels (by the Fed) then individuals and business tend to save less and borrow more. This can create bubbles and crashes

When it comes to savings, depends on what your are counting, whether retirement savings or emergency funds or both. But the numbers are astounding. A great number of people are not prepared. 


A new study finds the median American household has $4,830 in a savings account. That's enough to cover minor emergencies and potentially even a few months of living expenses. Overall, between bank accounts and retirement savings, the median American household currently holds about $11,700, according to MagnifyMoney.

Almost 30 percent of households have less than $1,000 saved, MagnifyMoney finds, though the amount varies drastically by age. As of June 2018, millennials have less saved than baby boomers, because older Americans have had over three decades longer to save and larger salaries to work with.


But even with three decades of extra time, boomers have pitiful amounts of savings. Most of my own generation are going to retire poor.

Here's how Americans' median savings (non-retirement) breaks down by age:

  • Millennials (born 1981-1998): $2,430
  • Gen X (born 1965-1980): $15,780
  • Baby Boomers and older (born before 1964): $24,280
Other surveys and studies have found similar results. Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, SmartAsset found earlier this year the median American household had about $5,200 in savings. And according to a 2017 GOBankingRates survey, about 12 percent of respondents had between $1,000 to $4,999 in a savings account, while more than half of Americans (57 percent) had less than $1,000.

Americans may still owe more in debt than they save. The Northwestern Mutual's 2018 Planning & Progress Study recently found Americans now have an average of $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. That's up $1,000 from a year ago.


If you fall into this category, isn't it time you took action to change. Today. Please see my recommended reading list to help you get started. 

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