Many Americans lack enough savings for simple financial emergencies, survey says
A new survey finds almost 2 in 3 Americans do not have enough savings squirreled away to absorb an unexpected $500 car repair bill.
In fact, the Bankrate.com survey also said the same number, 63 percent, cannot cover a sudden $1,000 emergency room bill out of their savings.
Maury Randall, chairman of the finance department at Rider University, said part of the problem remains the residual effects of the Great Recession.
"Since the recovery began, real incomes have actually gone down," he said. "It is possible they do not have sufficient cash, they are living close to the margin, and this may explain it."
Randall said there is a definite issue with too many people not having adequate savings -- and if they have a financial problem, they are in trouble.
The survey revealed over half of college graduates, 52 percent, also have paltry emergency savings. And even 46 percent of those with annual incomes of $75,000 or higher lack this kind of rainy day sum.
"Interest rates have been very low, so that does not create a great incentive for people to save," Randall said.
For the recent college grads, they are struggling with student loans, further straining their saving ability.
"And again, given that incomes have been somewhat lackluster, if somebody has a high level of student debt, that is going to be a factor," Randall said.
He believes this low savings rate may not be a global thing, and that some in Europe or Asia may be saving more than we are. He said in some Asian countries, people tend to save much more than they do in the United States.
"In some of these foreign countries, they have very substantial social benefits," Randall said. "So the motivation to save for emergencies might be somewhat less, because if people lose their jobs or if they have major medical expenses, those medical expenses might be covered by the health care systems in those countries."
That means people in those countries would not need such a high reserve of emergency funds as would Americans.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.