By Klaus Nymand at MoneyBanker.com
The American Dream in peril? A 2016 study shows that Americans have a meager nest egg.
How much money do you need set aside for emergencies? That number is different for everyone. Most will agree, however, that the larger your savings, the more secure your future.
Americans are saving less than ever before and some evidence points to advancing technology, sluggish income, and the rising cost of living as part of the cause.
69% Of Americans Have Less Than $1000 In Their Savings Account
Gobankingrates.com conducted a study about how Americans saved in 2016. They used the results, gathered from a sample of 7,000 people to contrast against an earlier study from 2015. It seems as though Americans saved even less in 2016 than 2015.
In 2015, only 62% of Americans reported a savings under $1000. The seven point rise when comparing the two figures is significant and paints a gloomy picture.
Fewer Americans Have A Savings At All Than In 2015
Additionally, the number of US residents without saving at all also rose. In 2015, 28% admitted that they have no savings. In the recent study, 34% don’t have any funds to fall back on.
Some Millennials Save More
An interesting suggestion in the numbers is that people aged 25 to 34 are better at saving than those age 45 to 54, at 33 to 30 percent with $1,000 in the bank.
Women Save And Earn Less Than Men
The survey also finds that women in the US save less than men. Once they have saved, however, they are better at it right up to the $10,000 figure where men again surpass them. While 42% of women haven’t saved a penny versus 28% of men, the numbers even out at 35% to 36% that have $1,000 saved.
When looking at these numbers it is important to keep in mind that the US continues to experience a significant pay disparity between men and women. The American Association of University Women’s 2014 data shows women earning only 79% compared to men. By 10 years after graduation, women’s wages fall further to only 69%.
Lower Earners Save Less
The numbers bear out the obvious correlation between earning less and saving less. For incomes under $25,000 annually, 38% have not saved any money for emergencies. Of those same earners, 35% have less than $1,000 in their savings.
Those who earn $150,000 and up each year, only 6% live with no emergency fund. In fact, almost half in that bracket have at least $10,000 saved.
Why Are Americans Going Broke?
Some of the blame may fall on technology. In the social media age, the fear of missing out drives spending as well as the pursuit of the ideal lifestyle portrayed by influencers online.
Added to this is tech like Apple Pay and Paypal which make it easier than ever to let go of your hard earned money.
Rising housing costs and cost of living in many cities also strains the American budget. As prices rise and income stagnates, there isn’t any money left over to save.
While fuel costs in the US are paltry when compared to European prices, they are significantly higher than in the past. This puts an additional strain on earners with a long commute to work. The public transit system in many parts of America is flimsy at best and offers little help.
Rising fuel costs impact the cost of food as well, creating inflated prices on necessary staples.
How Is The US Economy Impacted?
Certainly, if people aren’t saving because they are spending, that has a positive impact on the economy at least in the short-term. In addition to the data offered by Gobankingrates.com, however, is evidence that the median income in the US is not growing at the same rate for all earners.
According to the US Census Bureau’s Annual 2016 report, the 4th quintile of the population has only seen income growth of 18.6% since 1967. The lowest earners don’t fare much better at 25.5% real income growth.
If income growth becomes sluggish, it could indicate a lack of planning for the future as well as a lack of economic stimulus in America and among its population.
Tips To Save More Money
If you’re concerned by this data and want to protect yourself, there are a few ways to save for your future without breaking the bank.
You must start with a budget. Prioritizing essentials over luxuries will help your critical eye spot places to tighten the belt. Figure out how much you spend in essential expenses and what is left over for other purposes.
If you can set aside 20% of your income each paycheck, that’s idea. If you cannot, try eliminating a luxury and stashing the savings instead. Skip your morning cup of coffee at the cafe, for instance, and make a daily micro deposit into your savings instead.
This type of savings will grow over time and should be supplemented with a little extra stashing when you can.
Many banks offer programs that round up the figure of each purchase and deposit the difference into your savings account, as well. This is another way to save without feeling the pinch all at once.
If you simply can’t save, focus on eliminating outstanding debt first or do a little bit of both.
The Value of Saving
Saving is a habit that you can foster even if the growth isn’t fast and furious. Anytime you want to implement a change in behavior, it’s important to be consistent. This is true with savings just like it is diet and exercise.
You’ll need commitment and small goals that you can attain in order to establish savings behavior. Whatever you can put aside regularly will help you meet this initial goal.
Intimidation and frustration are barriers to saving for many people. Therefore, being too hard on yourself might actually work against you. Be diligent but understanding with yourself and seize all opportunities on your road to saving for the future.