Not much to overextend

I can’t say I’m too awfully surprised by this:

Americans are living right on the edge — at least when it comes to financial planning.

Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account, according to a new survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted this month by Google Consumer Survey for personal finance website “It’s worrisome that such a large percentage of Americans have so little set aside in a savings account,” says Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance analyst for the site. “They likely don’t have cash reserves to cover an emergency and will have to rely on credit, friends and family, or even their retirement accounts to cover unexpected expenses.”

Me, I’d like to know what kind of emergency manages to cost only $1000.

That said, I’m not one of the 62 percent — but I’m not so far away that I can justify bragging about it. I am, however, over 59½, which means that if something Dreadfully Terrible comes up, I can tap the 401(k) without the early-withdrawal penalty, though this is not something I particularly want to do, and besides it takes a couple of weeks for Girls Just Want To Have Funds (not its real name) to cut a check.


  1. Chuck »

    9 October 2015 · 10:26 am

    Does anyone actually have a savings account that they use? I have one, but I only keep $5 in it, which is the minimum required to have an account at my Credit Union. The interest paid on savings accounts is lower than the rate of inflation, so keeping money in a savings account actually costs you. Better to buy stuff that you will use, like canned goods, or ammunition.

  2. CGHill »

    9 October 2015 · 10:29 am

    Of course, the “rate of inflation” is determined these days by looking at the price tags and ignoring everything that’s actually going up.

  3. fillyjonk »

    9 October 2015 · 10:31 am

    I admit, I’ve looked at my “local” inflation (mostly in the grocery) and thought, “I need to spend all the money I can NOW on stuff that will last ‘cos I won’t be able to afford stuff in the future, at the rate it’s going”

    Wasn’t there a story about people in Zimbabwe or Venezuela using the country’s dollar notes as toilet paper, because it was cheaper than buying toilet paper?

    I have a savings account, mainly to “hide” money I might need in an emergency from myself, so I don’t decide to spend it on books or yarn.

  4. McGehee »

    9 October 2015 · 10:50 am

    In my credit union checking account I keep $50. The $1,000-plus is in savings, from which I periodically withdraw my pocket cash. Makes more sense to keep the bulk in the puny-interest savings account than the zero-interest checking.

    Besides, these days it normally takes us almost a year to use one book worth of checks even on our main account at Too Big to Fail N.A. (not its real name). We use plastic, and pay off the balance online.

  5. CGHill »

    9 October 2015 · 11:28 am

    I am actually paid interest on my checking account, albeit not enough to make much of a difference.

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