The economy has been humming along and jobs seem to be plentiful, but the practice of putting some money away for a rainy day is still not catching on with everyone. While many people are able to stash something on a monthly basis, millions of Americans — about a third of them — still haven’t managed to start saving money.
Report: A third of Americans have zero savings, but it’s not too late
As for those who are able to put money away, the majority have less than $1,000 in savings, according to new figures from a GoBankingRates.com survey.
If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that the percentage of Americans who reported that they had no money saved at all actually decreased from 39% to 32% from 2017 to 2018, according to GoBankingRates.com. The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans with $10,000 or more saved up increased by six points.
In a recent podcast, savings sensei Clark Howard discussed the importance of putting some money away, even if it’s just a little bit.
Clark’s take on the importance of savings: Have an ‘oops fund’
“If you don’t have savings then you’re not prepared for the ‘oops’ in life,” he says. “Because oops happen. All different types, sizes, and a lot of times we’re not in a position.”
Clark says the numbers show that if you’re not saving — even a small amount — the risk of financial ruin is much higher.
“Surveys show, no matter how the question is asked, that roughly half of Americans cannot handle a simple financial hiccup in their lives — some part of our car breaks, or something in your home needs repairing or replacing or whatever it is that’s a surprise — you don’t have anything to draw on,” he says. “That’s why having savings in an oops fund or emergency fund is so important.”
Clark’s advice on how to save money
Clark says that contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make a major financial sacrifice to start saving.
“If you’re starting from nothing, every pay period slap 10 bucks into a savings account,” he says. When you get into a financial hole, that’s when you can tap into your savings.
“If you need it, you spend it, because that’s what it was there for in the first place,” he says.
Looking for some good savings account options? Here are some online banks that let you make the most of your money.