No Safety Net: 2 In 5 Americans Would Struggle To Pay Off $400 Bill


  • Stunning new survey reveals a quarter of adults admit to not having a savings account.
  • Among those who do, millions only have enough saved up to cover just two months of bills.

NEW YORK — You would be hard pressed to find anyone, no matter how well off they may be, who wouldn’t mind a few more zeroes in their bank statement. That being said, the amount of Americans with a small amount of savings, or no savings account at all, is quite shocking.

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. citizens, just one in four Americans have enough savings to cover no more than two months of bills. In the event of unexpected unemployment, or a family emergency, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of financial breathing room. Moreover, another 25% of the survey’s respondents reported not even owning a savings account.

Despite these troubling findings, the survey, which was commissioned by Chase, also noted that 85% of respondents at least recognize that consistently saving money is a key aspect of achieving their financial goals. On that subject, four out of five Americans admitted that they could use some guidance or advice on how to maximize their saving efforts.

Still, it’s clear from the research that many have a serious problem regarding lack of funds. Consider this statistic: 40% of respondents said they would have an issue covering an unexpected bill of $400. That statistic in particular is almost identical to a recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve that had concluded 40% of Americans currently have less than $400 in their savings accounts.

Perhaps 2020 will bring about some meaningful monetary change for many Americans; 80% said they plan on stepping up their savings game this year. More specifically, these respondents would like to become better educated on how much money, and how often, they should be adding funds their savings accounts.

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The average American believes they should be saving at least $357 per month, and one in five respondents said that $500 in savings each month would be ideal.

More so than any dollar amount, many financial experts advise that the most important part of saving money is the very act itself, not trying to meet some preconceived financial goal each and every month.

“Saving seems much easier when you break it down into smaller increments, like $1 a day, and building and nurturing the habit can help you achieve your goals,” explains Kavita Kamdar, a Chase spokesperson, in a statement.

More than 60% of respondents have a specific use in mind for their hard earned savings. The top reason given for starting a savings account was to make sure they’re covered in the event of an emergency (49%), followed by financial freedom (48%), a college fund for their kids (43%), retirement (41%), and to start a business (39%).

Other popular reasons included: for vacations (38%), to buy a house (36%), to pay for their own college (32%), to buy a new car (31%), and to pay off debt (31%).

All in all, 83% of Americans said that having a nice amount of savings would, or does, give them confidence to live a fulfilling life.

“Saving and having access to emergency funds is one of the most important predictors of financial health,” Kamdar adds. “For most of us, when saving with a specific goal in mind, there is a reward or at least peace of mind once you have mastered the habit and work toward your goal.”

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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