I Need Emergency Cash Right Now – Written by Lane Gillespie Written by Lane GillespieArrow Correct Writer, Personal Finance Lane Gillespie is a writer at , specializing in writing comprehensive financial content that answers readers’ questions, no matter where they are in their financial journey. Lane was a real estate and business reporter for three years, specializing in his hometown of Houston. Connect with Lane Gillespie on LinkedIn Linkedin Lane Gillespie
Edited by Tori Rubloff Edited by Tori RubloffArrow Right Editor, Personal Finance Tori Rubloff is an editor at , where she manages staff writers, edits featured articles, and oversees the production of timely, data-driven content that empowers readers to make informed decisions about their finances . Connect with Tori Rubloff on LinkedIn Linkedin Tori Rubloff
I Need Emergency Cash Right Now
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As inflation and economic uncertainty continue to weigh on Americans, only 48 percent of American adults say they have enough emergency savings to cover at least three months of expenses, according to a new survey. That percentage has remained stagnant since it was 49 percent in 2022, when inflation was at a 40-year high.
This data comes from the Annual Emergency Savings Report, an exclusive survey conducted by survey partner SSRS. Since 2014, the survey has annually polled more than 1,000 American adults about their level of emergency savings. The most recent data, accessed in May 2023, also examines how comfortable people are with their level of emergency savings and how often they add money to their savings fund.
Common personal finance advice recommends having at least three months of expenses saved for emergencies like job loss or an unexpected medical bill. Because a significant portion of Americans do not have an emergency fund for three months of expenses, 57 percent of American adults are uncomfortable with their current emergency savings. A third (33%) are “very uncomfortable” and 24% are “somewhat uncomfortable” with their level of emergency savings.
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The economic movements of the past four years have underscored the importance of having emergency savings, with a growing share of Americans thinking they will need a larger savings cushion to feel comfortable with it. — Greg McBride | Chief Financial Analyst
While more than half of Americans don’t have at least three months of emergency expenses saved, more people year over year have some degree of emergency savings by 2023, according to . Almost one in three (30%) people in 2023 have some emergency savings, but not enough to cover three months of expenses. That’s up from 27 percent of the population in 2022.
Nearly one in four (22%) American adults say they have no emergency savings. Despite the economic challenges, the percentage remains relatively unchanged year-on-year. Last year, 23 percent of Americans had no emergency savings.
Because building savings takes time, Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride recommends that people automate contributing to their savings accounts as much as possible. “Successful saving is based on habit. Regular contributions, such as a direct deposit from your paycheck or an automatic monthly transfer to an online savings account, lead to a higher level of emergency savings and to a greater level of comfort,” McBride said.
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Younger Americans, who are least likely to have built this habit, are more likely to have little or no emergency savings. Nearly a third (31 percent) of Gen Zers (ages 18-26) have no emergency savings, more than double the 15 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 59-77) who have no savings emergency Baby boomers are also more than three times more likely than Gen Zers to have enough savings to cover six months or more of expenses (47 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
The amount of emergency savings someone has increases as they get older and wealthier. The difference in emergency savings levels is particularly marked between different income brackets. Households earning less than $50,000 a year are more than seven times more likely to have no emergency savings than households earning $100,000 or more a year:
Geographically, Westerners (55 percent) and Midwesterners (52 percent) are more likely to have enough emergency savings to cover three months of expenses or more compared to Southerners (42 percent) and Northerners -eastern (47 percent).
More than half of American adults (57%) are uncomfortable with their current level of emergency savings. This includes 33 percent who are “very uncomfortable” with their level of savings and 24 percent who are “somewhat uncomfortable.” Only 43% of Americans are comfortable with their current level of savings: 15% are “very comfortable” and 28% are “somewhat comfortable.”
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More than half (56%) of Baby Boomers are comfortable with their level of emergency savings, an 18% jump over Gen X (ages 43-58), the generation with the second highest of higher comfort. By comparison, 32 percent of Gen Zers and 37 percent of millennials (ages 27-42) are comfortable with their level of emergency savings.
Households with higher incomes are also more likely to feel more comfortable with their level of emergency savings. About two-thirds (67%) of households making less than $75,000 a year are uncomfortable with their current level of emergency savings, compared to 41% of those making $75,000 or more in the year.
Most (84%) of those with at least six months of emergency savings are comfortable with their level of savings. Additionally, 92 percent of Americans who are “very comfortable” with their current level of emergency savings have enough to cover at least 3 months of expenses.
“It takes time to build up a sufficient emergency savings cushion, in large part because household expenses tend to rise into peak earning years, making what constitutes an adequate cushion a moving target,” he said. McBride said.
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Two-thirds (64%) of American adults say they would feel comfortable with their savings if they had enough to cover six months of expenses:
By comparison, 25 percent would be comfortable with having enough savings to cover three to five months of expenses. Only 9 percent would be