With unemployment rates still high, analysts believe emergency savings accounts are more important than ever. However, a new Bankrate study shows little more than half of American consumers have more money in savings than credit card debt.
Among the findings:
- Nearly one out of four Americans, or 23 percent, has more credit card debt than savings;
- Among people over 65, 26 percent had neither debt nor savings -- the most among age groups;
- One out of three people from ages 30 to 49 had higher debt than savings -- the highest proportion;
- At 59 percent, adults under 30 were most likely to report their emergency fund was larger;
- Only 15 percent of people are more comfortable with their savings now than compared to 12 months ago.
"Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for a rainy day," said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "Yet only 52 percent of Americans have more in their rainy day funds than in credit card debt, and 19 percent have neither debt nor savings, which puts them one unplanned expense away from trouble."
Bankrate's Financial Security Index results are based on telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,018 adults, ages 18 and older. The interviews were conducted from Feb. 3 to Feb. 6, 2011, by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies.
The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ± 3.6 percentage points.