NEW YORK – When it comes to savings for emergencies, fewer than four in 10 Americans do not do it, a recent poll showed.
According to Bankrate.com, only 39% of the poll respondents have emergency savings accounts, defined as three months’ living expenses in a liquid account. Fifty five percent of the respondents do not, with the remainder not responding. Those who do have an emergency account tend to keep a large balance with the average being $21,938.
A nationally representative sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 or older were polled June 16-18.
While few have enough saved to count as a true emergency fund, most people have at least something tucked away, Bankrate said. More than 70% have some form of savings stashed in a certificate of deposit, money market account, money market fund or traditional savings account.
Of those earning more than $75,000 a year, 63% have an emergency fund. At the opposite end, only 20% of those earning less than $20,000 a year have one. One in two adults 65 and older have one; one in five people 18-24 do. Northerners are the most likely to save a substantial rainy day fund, Southerners the least likely, with Midwesterners and Westerners falling in between.
The current national average for a money market account yields a “measly” 0.79% average, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey of large lenders, said Daniel Ray, editor-in-chief at Bankrate.com. “The difference is dramatic: Someone with the average size emergency fund-$21,938-who parks it in the average money market account earns just $173 in a year. The high-yielding fund would earn $1,104, a difference of almost $1,000 a year. Whether there’s an emergency or not, that would make a big difference.”