Half of Americans Would Not Last a Month on Savings

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Nearly half of all U.S. consumers lack confidence in or an understanding of their personal finances, and 48% do not have enough savings to last more than a month if all other sources of income were to disappear. As a nation, the United States saves an amount equal to just 17% of gross domestic product, according to a recent ranking at Forbes.

The data comes from a new survey sponsored by coupon website RetailMeNot.

The news is not all bad though. The 52% of Americans who have stashed away more than a month’s worth of income estimate that their savings would last 34 weeks (eight months) without additional income. Perhaps the financial crisis of 2009 scared some folks awake.

An editor for RetailMeNot said:

Saving money is just one part of the financial literacy equation. It is also important that consumers spend wisely to be able to afford the items they need.

To some extent he is talking his book. After all, using RetailMeNot’s coupons is one way to save money that could then be put into a savings account for a rainy day.

Among those with some savings, one in four did not know how much they had put away, with men more ignorant than women, 30% to 20%.

And consistent with other surveys, three of four respondents are worried that they will not be able to retire at the time and in the style the hoped for. Married respondents are somewhat less worried than those who are single by a margin of 18% to 26%.

Nearly 30% believe that children should become financially responsible for themselves when they move out of their parents’ house or get their first full-time job. Non-parents believe this more strongly than do parents, which is not particularly surprising either.

And the headline number that 48% do not even have enough to cover one month’s expenses squares pretty well with a survey published early this month that revealed that 36% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.