Data and Research

Only 38% of American Households Meeting Their Savings Needs

More than one-quarter, 27%, are not making any progress at all.

By Lee Barney | February 27, 2017
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Two-fifths (38%) of American households feel they are making good or excellent progress in meeting their savings needs, the 10th annual America Saves Week survey found, while more than one in four (27%) aren’t making any progress at all.

This is according to research sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council. The two organizations looked at data from the past 10 years and found that savings efforts have worsened. For example, in 2008, 53% of the population saved 5% or more of their income. That has continued to steadily tick down to 48% in 2017.

The percentage of people who save no income (23% in 2008) rose in the interim to a high of 29% in 2013 but has returned to 23%. Ten years ago, 71% of the population reported having sufficient emergency savings, but that is only 65% today. And the percentage of people who believe they have or will have sufficient retirement funds has declined from 58% to 54%.

In addition, during this time, the percentage of those who know their net worth declined from 54% to 47%, while those with a savings goal sank from 62% to 52%. Participation in workplace retirement plans dropped as well (55% versus 49%).

“The most surprising result was the continuing decline in those who have a goal,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, speaking during a webcast on the survey findings. “This is one of the sharpest declines I have seen, and the long-term trend is unmistakable.”

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