The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

One in Four Americans Has No Emergency Savings

Published:  June 22, 2011

That's the headline from Bankrate's June Financial Security Index poll. It's definitely worth reading their release in its entirety. Though I would point out a few things, first, the article oversells the rhetoric about a "double-dip recession" IMHO. Second, while the headline is attention grabbing it undersells the findings of the study. If you look just a little more closely at the data you see the next group "up" from those without any emergency savings is 22% of Americans with "less than three months savings." Wha wha what does that mean? That means a big block of folks that might have a enough to get by for a week or two on through to folks that have solidly and intentionally set aside two months worth of savings and feel okay about it. Whatever the actual situation is, there's a much bigger group than the 1 in 4 without emergency savings who are a long way from financial stability, maybe as much as 45% of those surveyed.

This should be a major issue and it really isn't getting that much attention in the major media. For my part I'm glad to see this study out (and was very happy to see it getting mentioned on Fox & Friends this morning.) This issue needs more attention.

That's part of why we're co-hosting (with the Center for Financial Security and the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus) a conversation closely related to this topic next Wednesday up on Capitol Hill. "Rebuilding the Road to Financial Stability." The event is going to focus on how low- and moderate-income Americans balance the tension between savings and credit in order to make ends meet. Our first panel will take a look at the status of LMI families today, what options do they have? What are the opportunities and pitfalls that await them? The second panel will take a stab at putting forward ideas to improve those options.

Finally, the keynote speaker is going to be Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin of the Federal Reserve Board, she was Commisisoner of Financial Regulation in Maryland before becoming a Fed Governor, and her background is very strong in these areas. She hasn't spoken publicly very often since joining the Fed, so we're thrilled to have her and very much looking forward to her thoughts on the critical issue of family economic stability in today's America. 

You can either join us in person at this event, or watch it live online. Just click here to RSVP.

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