Do You Have a Safety Net?  Almost Half of Americans Don’t

February 5, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
Communication & Outreach

The 2013 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, a comprehensive look at Americans’ financial security, was released last week by the nonprofit Corporation for Federal Enterprise Development (CFED) and the results were pretty alarming.   Nearly half (44%) do not have an emergency fund.   Over 30% have no savings account at all.  And more than half (56.4%) of consumers have poor (subprime) credit, which means they won't qualify for advantageous interest rates, may pay more for insurance premiums, and could have a difficult time finding a job or renting an apartment.

Do You Know the True Cost of Debt

While the picture may not be so bleak for servicemembers (who are required, at the very least, to have their pay direct-deposited into some type of account), there are still signs that those in the military community are under financial stress.  According to the Blue Star Families 2012 Military Lifestyle Survey Report, 68% of military families said they experience financial stress.  And a 2010 FINRA survey found that nearly 30% of respondents had at least $10,000 in credit card debt.

Feeling Stressed?  Help is at Hand

One way to alleviate financial stress is to have a safety net in place.  A $500-1000 emergency fund can provide peace of mind and a place to turn when "life happens."

How Can I Save?

Sometimes it can seem difficult to find the money to save when just paying the bills seems a struggle.  But even $10 a pay period (the cost of a lunch plus tip at a restaurant) can be a start toward an emergency fund.  Paying down debt is important, and one should always pay at least the minimum amount due, but without an emergency fund, it's easy to get right back into debt.

Why Should I Save?

And once an emergency fund is in place, it can be the starting point for a journey toward financial success.  What will your emergency fund give you the freedom to plan for? Retirement?  A house?  A college fund for your kids?  A trip to Europe?  Tell us what you're saving for on Facebook and Twitter!

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | May 14, 2014

    Pay more than the minimum due on your #credit card & pay off your bill sooner. More tips at http://ow.ly/wOaVh.

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