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21 savings stats you wouldn’t expect

Americans aren’t saving enough — but not necessarily by choice. Inflation, COVID, and higher housing costs are just a couple of the larger societal factors contributing to these surprising stats.


You might think the current state of the American saver is rosy. There are more options than ever to save money and earn interest, and anyone who can download an app can open a savings account.

But due to societal factors out of the control of any one person, Americans aren’t saving enough. Notably, less than half have a high-yield account, per Investopedia.

Here are 21 statistics you might find surprising.

The state of American savings

Source: The Ascent

  1. On average, 41% of Americans have $500 or less in cash.
  2. That doesn’t leave much to cover an unexpected expense — average monthly expenses exceed $5,500.

In case of emergency

Source: Bankrate

  1. As of January 2023, 36% of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
  2. That’s up from 22% a year earlier.
  3. Education plays a big role: 42% of people without a college degree have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
  4. Age matters, too. That number goes up to 45% for people ages 27–42.
  5. When it comes to emergency savings, 39% of people have less now than they did in January 2022.
  6. That causes substantial stress. 68% of people said they’d be worried about covering a month of living expenses if they lost their main source of income.
  7. When considering millennials only, that number jumps to 79%.
  8. It’s high even for people ages 43–58 (Gen X) at 69%.
  9. Why? 68% of people are saving less because of inflation or rising prices.

Source: Forbes

  1. 52% of Americans don’t have a high-yield savings account.
  2. Only 34% said they were able to save money last year.
  3. If given $5,000, just 19% would deposit it in a high-yield savings account.
  4. The most common way to save is with recurring transfers. 44% of people automatically add to their savings that way.
  5. Perhaps most surprising is that 24% said they don’t have a high-yield savings account because opening one is too hard and takes too much time.

Heavy fees

Source: Bankrate

  1. 27% of Americans are paying an average of $288/year in bank fees.
  2. Without bank fees, 29% would contribute to their emergency savings.
  3. The average monthly bank fee is more than $16.
  4. And it takes an average monthly balance of nearly $10,000 to avoid those fees.
  5. More than 1 in 10 people settle for paying bank fees because switching is too much of a hassle.

For the most part, people don’t have enough money saved because they’re not able to — not because they don’t want to.

Personal Finance

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