If you encountered a major financial setback, such as losing your job, would you be able to get by until you got back on your feet? Don't feel bad if you answered no. You're not alone -- most people don't have adequate emergency savings.
A new poll by Bankrate.com finds 49 percent of consumers do not have enough emergency savings to cover three months' expenses, up from 46 percent last year.
Twenty-eight percent admit to having no emergency savings at all. The generally recommended cushion is six months' expenses, and only 25 percent have saved that much, according to the survey.
As bad as it sounds, it used to be worse,. When Bankrate conducted a similar poll in 2006, before the credit crisis and real estate crash, 61 percent of consumers failed to have enough emergency savings to cover three months' expenses.
Not enough progress
"While we've seen some improvement since then, the bottom line is that much more progress is needed," said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "Having sufficient emergency savings is critical to avoiding high-cost credit card debt when unexpected expenses arise."
In conjunction with the survey, Bankrate released its June 2012 Financial Security Index, showing it held steady from this same time last year. This is only the second time since polling began in Dec. 2010 that Americans are feeling greater financial security than the previous 12 months.
The Index also shows that U.S. consumers are mindful of the need to save more money. Thirty-two percent of Americans are currently reporting that they are less comfortable with their savings versus one year ago, a new low and down from the peak of 47 percen that were less comfortable in August 2011.
Eighteen percent said they are less comfortable with their debt than 12 months ago, a new low and down from the peak of 27 percent in October 2011 and November 2011.