Only 24% of Americans Have a Six-Month Emergency Savings Cushion

New Bankrate poll reveals how Americans feel about their finances

Jun 20, 2011, 08:00 ET from Bankrate, Inc.

NEW YORK, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today by (NYSE: RATE) found that only 24% of Americans have a six-month emergency savings cushion and 24% have no emergency savings whatsoever. These are especially sobering statistics because 6.2 million Americans have currently been out of work for six months or more.

Twenty-two percent of the respondents have some savings, but not enough to cover three months' expenses. Forty-six percent have at least three months' expenses socked away. This matches the result from a 2007 Bankrate survey and is higher than the 39% figure from a 2006 Bankrate poll. The new study, which measures feelings of financial security among Americans, was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and can be seen in its entirety here:

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Among the findings:

  • Feelings of financial security among Americans, as measured by the Financial Security Index, dropped slightly, from 98.5 in May to 97.8 in June.
  • Twenty-six percent of Americans are more comfortable with their debt now compared with 12 months ago. Just 19% of Americans report feeling less comfortable with their debt, the lowest figure since Bankrate began its monthly Financial Security Index polls in December 2010.
  • Those most likely to have six months' expenses in an emergency fund are higher-income households and people in their 50s and 60s, but even among these groups, at least half do not have six months' expenses in an emergency fund.
  • People younger than age 30 and the lowest-income households are the most likely to report having no emergency savings at all.

"Over 6 million people have been out of work longer than six months, yet only 24 percent of Americans have at least six months' expenses in an emergency fund. An equal 24 percent have nothing tucked away for a rainy day. The majority of Americans still have much work to do in building an adequate emergency savings cushion," said Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst for "Those most likely to have an adequate savings cushion are individuals in their 50s and 60s and higher-income households. But even among these groups, at least half do not have six months' expenses in an emergency fund."

Bankrate's Financial Security Index results are based on telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,006 adults, ages 18 and older. The interviews were conducted from June 2-5, 2011 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is +/- 3.6 percentage points.

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes,,, Nationwide Card Services, InsureMe,, Bankaholic, and NetQuote. Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: AOL), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT).'s information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.

Ted Rossman
Public Relations Manager
Bankrate, Inc.
(917) 368-8635

SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.