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Survey: How Much US Adults Have Saved Is 'Troubling'

About 40% don't have $400 for an emergency
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2018 7:08 AM CDT
How much do you have saved?   (Getty Images/kwanchaichaiudom)

(Newser) – Concerning news from the feds in the personal finance realm: About 40% of US adults would have to sell something or borrow to come up with $400 in an emergency, or wouldn't be able to pay at all, CNBC reports. The Federal Reserve's "Report on the Economic Well-Being of US Households," which surveyed 12,000 people nationwide in late 2017, found things aren't much better on the retirement horizon, with less than 40% of non-retired adults thinking they'll have enough saved up once they retire; 25% say they don't have a pension or other retirement savings at all. One in four adults had skipped medical treatment over the past year due to lack of funds. Greg McBride, a Bankrate.com analyst, tells CNNMoney these findings are "troubling." "Nothing is more fundamental to achieving financial stability than having savings that can be drawn upon when the unexpected occurs," he notes.

Still, the news isn't all bad. Nearly three-quarters of adults said they were living comfortably (or, at the very least, felt "OK" about their finances)—10 more percentage points than in 2013. And that 40% without $400 emergency cash on hand is actually better than the 2013 figure, which hovered around 50%. These stats, however, come with "notable differences … across various subpopulations," with blacks and Hispanics having "substantially lower overall economic well-being" than whites. McBride says people can put more away for a rainy day by having money automatically funneled into a savings account on payday. A new figure of note: About 20% of adults say they know someone hooked on opioids, with "those who have been exposed to addiction [having] somewhat less favorable assessments of economic conditions" than those who haven't. (The retirement struggle is real.)

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