62% of Americans Have Under $1,000 in Savings, Survey Finds

Having a savings fund is one of the keys to financial health. Yet trying to save is a struggle, especially because the biggest money challenge for Americans is sticking to a budget — a central skill to ensure enough money is left over each month to save.

See 2016 Survey: 69% of Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings

To gauge how well Americans are saving, GOBankingRates conducted a survey that posed the question, “How much money do you have saved in your savings account?” The good news is that over half (51.3 percent — totaling all answers besides $0 and “I don’t have a savings account”) have at least something socked away in savings. But the survey findings also reveal that most Americans’ savings account balances are falling far short of where they should be.

“It’s worrisome that such a large percentage of Americans have so little set aside in a savings account,” said Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance expert and columnist for GOBankingRates. “It suggests that 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.”

Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Americans Don’t Have Enough Money Saved

How much money should I save?

The overall results from the survey show that 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and a third of those under-savers have no savings account at all. The portion of savers with balances over $1,000 is 29.1 percent.

The most frequently selected amount that people say they have in savings is also the lowest $0; 28 percent of people selected this answer. Even worse, the next-most-common answer is “I don’t have a savings account,” selected by one in five people (20.7 percent).

Related: 10 Habits That Could Help Save You Thousands

Of people who have something in their savings accounts, the most common balance is $10,000 or more, a sign of financial health for those savers (14.2 percent). This amount is followed by 5 percent who have saved between $5,000 and $9,999, 9.9 percent who have saved $1,000 to $4,999, and 13 percent who have less than $1,000 in savings.

Another 9.2 percent of people say they keep just enough money in their savings accounts to meet the minimum balance requirements — a smart move that at least helps those depositors avoid maintenance fees. Minimum balance requirements can vary widely, however, and can be set relatively high compared with what most people are able to save. Bank of America, for example requires a minimum average balance of $1,500 a month to avoid its savings account fee, while Chase’s requirement is only $300.

Savings Account Balances by Age

savings account balances by age

The survey shows some correlation between the balances of Americans’ savings accounts and their ages. For example, younger millennials (ages 18 to 24), known for their saving prowess, report having a smaller savings account balance of $1 to $4,999 more than other age groups. Older millennials (ages 25 to 34) — sometimes referred to as Generation Y — follow closely behind.

Generation X (ages 35 to 54), while being older and presumably more experienced with money, actually report a savings account balance of $0 (31 percent), which is the highest number of all age groups. Only 16 percent of Gen Xers report having savings of $10,000 or more.

Baby boomers (ages 55 to 64) and seniors (65 and up) have the most money saved of any age group, with a full 20 percent of those past retirement age reporting savings of $10,000 or more. Only 7.5 percent of younger millennials have this much money saved.

Read: Haven’t Turned 60 Yet? You Can Still Save $430,453 Before Retirement

Savings Trends by Gender

savings account balances by gender

Overall, men and women report not having a savings account or having nothing in their savings accounts equally. Women are slightly more likely, however, to save a smaller amount of money, selecting the answers “less than $1,000” or “just the minimum balance requirement” more often than their male counterparts.

While similar numbers of men and women report savings balances of $1,000 up to $9,999, 60 percent more men than women report a savings balance over $10,000 (16.4 percent to 10.4 percent, respectively).

Savings Balances by Income

savings account balances by income

People with higher incomes tend to have higher savings account balances. Those making less than $75,000 a year report having $0 in savings more often than people who earn more money. This income group also reports lower balances like less than $1,000 or saving just the minimum required balance.

People earning $75,000 or more, however, are more likely to have more than $1,000 in their savings, and those earning at least $100,000 report having $10,000 or more in savings more than any other income group. While 27.7 percent of people earning more than $100,000 and 18.9 percent of people earning $75,000 to $99,999 report savings account balances of at least $10,000, about 20 percent of every income group earning less than $100,000 report having no savings.

What to Do If Your Savings Fall Short

If you’re in the majority that has less than $1,000 in savings, you already know that it’s hard to start saving. “I recognize that it can be tough to save money,” Huddleston said. But that’s exactly the reason you need to be proactive and actively work to make a change with your savings, she said.

“[P]eople should automate their savings — have a certain amount automatically transferred from checking to savings each month,” Huddleston said. “If the money comes out before you can spend it, you likely won’t even miss it.”

Keep Reading: What You Should Do With Your Money Before 2015 Ends

Methodology: This survey and the findings reported above are the results of a Google Consumer Survey conducted from Sept. 11-13, 2015, which collected 5,006 responses. The survey posed the question, “How much money do you have saved in your savings account?” and provided the following as possible answers: $0, “just the minimum balance requirement,” less than $1,000, $1,000-$4,999, $5,000-$9,999, $10,000 or more, and “I don’t have a savings account.” The responses are representative of the U.S. internet population, with a margin of error within 1.70 percent. Demographic information was not available for all respondents, and analysis of responses by demographics is based solely on responses for which the targeted demographic information was available.

  • arthur

    why keep money in a 1% savings account when the are are better vehicles for saving – bonds, stock, CDs, etc.?

    • Arthur, you are right – a savings account isn’t the best option for building long-term wealth. However, it’s really important to have a short-term savings vehicle that is liquid and accessible in case of a financial emergency. Lack of savings in a savings account indicates that people aren’t maintaining emergency funds and putting themselves at risk of falling into debt.

      • xpdx

        I can get my Roth IRA funds out in less than 7 days with no penalty if I need to. It’s getting 25% so far this year. I would never have more than a few hundred in savings.

        • Need To Know

          Any true emergency is going to constitute more than a few hundred dollars and not have the luxury of 7 days.

          • xpdx

            Very unusual circumstance where I would need cash in less than seven days. In fact I cant think of one legal reason why anyone would need it. Credit cards are there if something needs to be paid right away and can be paid back within 30 days with no interest.

          • Trel

            That’s great for you, but this article isnt about you… its about the American public. My household income is around 180k per year but I have been in a position in life when I needed cash right away with no credit cards available

          • Need To Know

            If that works for you then I wish you luck. To me having had real emergencies(hurricanes and a house fire), it’s incredibly naive. Nothing will spend like cash.

          • Eric Carney

            Usually when people need that emergency fund is when the economy takes a dump. Guess what, stocks take a dump then too. Not a good time to make withdraws. Not good financial planning.

        • Albert Le

          Your Roth IRA is exposed to the market ups… and downs. Too risky if you’re relying it as an emergency fund.

          • xpdx

            Yes some people may not be tolerant of that much risk. I am.

          • Stephen Gower

            This is true for someone young who doesn’t have much saved in investments. But once you are older and your investments have grown, your need for a cash emergency fund is reduced.

        • JB

          Are you investing your IRA in some strong-performing individual stocks? The S&P 500 Index has certainly not averaged 25% this year! 🙂

        • Teresa Roberts

          25%?!? I doubt that.

      • Martin

        A checking account also fulfills this purpose. And with interest rates on both near zero, there’s little reason to have separate checking and savings. I think the fact that few have significant money in savings accounts might have more to do with that type of account’s lack of utility than with people not saving.

        • If you keep money in your checking account and your debit card is stolen you account can be wiped clean – happened to a friend of mine. That is why I have a savings and try to keep my checking account balance rather low.

  • GBush

    Hahahaha. “the biggest money challenge for Americans is sticking to a budget” — yeah right. The biggest money challenge for Americans is making enough money, given that $45 million live below the poverty line, and the minimum wage is nonsensically low.

    • $45 million lmao

      • Eric Carney

        Exactly! The haves will tell you it’s because of not sticking to a budget.

    • Chris

      I love how you just come to the conclusion that it doesn’t have anything to do with sticking to a budget. Median household income in the U.S. is just over $51,000. Keep in mind that a “household” includes single individuals as well as families of all sizes. And for families with two spouses and less than two children, $51,000 is ample cash to pay for essential expenses and put even a little bit in savings every month…. IF you’re not spending alot on really frivolous things. And this culture definitely has a really destructive compulsive consumer mentality.

      That’s not to say that income isn’t an issue for many people. All I’m saying is, don’t dismiss the idea of personal financial responsibility just because it doesn’t fit with your favorite narrative.

      • Nate Bauer

        51,000 combined before taxes is not enough to save if that family includes children.

        • Tom

          Disagree. My parents made combined less than $45k at the height before he retired 5 years ago. They managed to raise a family, put us through college, own a house and 2 cars, made sure I had a computer, in home encyclopedia and even afforded to allow me luxuries like a Nintendo, ect. They did all that while still managing to keep atleast $10k+ in the bank to now having amassed over 6 figures in savings in the bank to enjoy while in retirement.

          • Beaker

            Very hard to believe. My husband and I have done the math for our 4-person family and we would need well over that amount per year after tax to save for at least 1000000 retirement money (assuming very little income from selling a house, just in case) and university/house/cars/etc. Perhaps they should share their financial plan so we can all be so lucky.

          • wefwefwefwef

            How old are you? Because if they did this a few decades ago, times have changed.

          • Eric Carney

            You can say what you want and blame the victims instead of the perpetrators.

          • Chris

            Just sayin’, that chart doesn’t actually have anything to do with the discussion.

            It’s not victim blaming, it’s asking the average American to take responsibility for their actions. Btw the average American does not live in California where housing prices are enormous. The average American’s cost of living is pretty cheap, particularly outside of major cities.

          • Jess

            We adjusted our budget a few years ago to $20k per year for everything but our house payment for a family of 2 adults, 2 dogs, and 2 vacations per year. It’s very possible, just not with the consumerist mindset most Americans have.

          • lanithro

            This is unfortunately highly dependent on the are you live in. 45k in San Diego and you’re living in a pretty shitty area.

  • Thanks for the data. Really cool!!!

  • Hillary O’Rilley

    What a stupid website obviously aimed at getting clicks and driving leads to credit companies

  • Jonathan

    For Bank of America their minimum savings account balance to avoid a fee is $300, not $1,500… Source- I work for Bank of America

    • Loasaur

      Just opened a Checking & Savings account at Bank of America a few months ago. My Savings account has no fee and no minimum balance as long as I have 25$ transferred from Checkings to Savings each month. 😛

  • DannyClover

    Don’t lose the main message. Most people have less than $1000 in savings for an emergency. It’s a good goal for those that haven’t managed to save for whatever reason.

  • Paul

    That’s a clickbait title if I ever saw one. There’s a hell of a big difference between ‘Savings’ and ‘Savings Account at your bank’.

  • ConfusedByMath

    If you sum up the percentages for all the sections “Less than $1000” in savings and below it comes to 71% not 62%. What gives?

    • franco

      they don’t count the 9% minimum balance people since the minimum balance can actually be over $1000.

  • LakersTrent

    This article is rather misleading- it gives the impression that the balance in someone’s savings account is the same thing as their savings. In general, a very prudent financial planner would hold little in a savings account- you might hold a few thousand in a checking account to meet your monthly liquidity needs, but any savings beyond that should be in vehicles that generate more returns than a savings account. I may have $40k saved, but only $25 of it in a savings account.

    It may be true that 62% of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account (as a relatively well-off person who saves alot, I am one of those 62%), but that is VERY different from the idea that 62% of Americans have less than $1000 saved in any form. The article should be updated to highlight this- I have already seen at least 2 misleading links that lead to this article, based on the false premise that “amounts in savings account”=”savings available to be used in time of need.”

    • hasopinions

      Where would put your money for better returns, without risk of loss? You can do a longer term CD but these have interest payment clawbacks at a time when interest rates are expected to start rising. The best you can do now is around 1% with an online savings account.

  • Stryker218

    With rent for a 1 room apartment at $1500+ in the worst neighborhoods…yeah..no one has any money to save anymore.

    • raaabs

      where is this ? im sure you can find better

  • John Lalani

    The article’s title should be titled, “We just found out the 1% exists”.

  • Sep

    Well this is an idiotic survey. What the heck is a “savings account” and why on earth would I need one in the 21st century? This is like a story from 1958. But today? Silliness.

  • raaabs

    Just listen to Dave Ramsey and you’ll get on track.

  • cory raskel


  • Skeletor

    LOL, USA is fucked. Savings not going to change anything when cost of living is rising faster than interest paid on it. There are no jobs, they cutting public education, graduate degree is skyrocketing. The stock market is completely rigged and grandma yellen has no balls to raise rates. And politicians peddling to the interests of narrow minded greed. The timebomb has been activated. If you think 2008 was bad, now the government is playing the same game with 100x more money and leverage.

    So I say fuck savings, spend all you can, it won’t matter soon anyways. This is like saving the forests in Chernobyl.

    • MajorAjer

      You get that savings accounts are different than savings yes?

      • Skeletor

        You get that you have a small penis?

        • MajorAjer

          ¿sıuǝd ןןɐɯs ɐ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ʇɐɥʇ ʇǝb noʎ

          • Skeletor

            You’re lower than a bastard, BASTARD IN A BASKET!!!….

  • This is misleading and should be retitled “Savings Account” and not just savings.

    Plenty of people, including myself, have 0 savings accounts but plenty saved. Savings accounts are pretty much useless these days.

  • Swag Valance

    Like what idiot would pour money into an account losing massively against inflation?

  • AlSanRamon

    This survey may be inaccurate. Many folks don’t use a savings account. Many use a money market. A better question is “how much total money do you have in your checking/savings/CD/money market account that is liquid and a non-retirement account and not allocated for bills?”

  • gofishnow

    I can see some reasons people do not save:

    They don’t have a job or make just enough to feed themselves. Jobs are plentiful if you can work 20 hours a week at minimum wage if your lucky.
    How many are on food stamps, welfare and under employed?
    Why would you save looking at the stock market and savings plans? The stock market is a casino and you all know what the rates are in fixed assets.
    How about the 18 trillion in debt and perhaps a devaluation of the dollar and a collapsing economy.
    Maybe the non-savers are the smart ones as the will have nothing to lose and laugh at us as we will join them.
    What is wrong with our government. It is like a large elephant in the kitchen that nobody sees. I myself have saved all my life. I am good. My latest job offer was from Macy’s. 12 hours a week at 9.10 an hour. That if there is 12 hours on their schedule. I declined as I have a masters degree and have considerable experience. However, I am grateful to have an interview. Don’t worry about me as I have always saved but how about so many millions. Yes, the employment numbers are low but who are they trying to kid with there misrepresentation of the true facts. People are gong to save without a job that pays—–really? Maybe America has forgot Henry Ford economic principles where he provided a salary for his workers to buy his product.
    or —-Obama care preventing good jobs. Do you all enjoy the high deductibles and the cost per year.
    Wake up America

  • Rick Hudgins

    One of the drawbacks to (very timely) articles like these is in the tone they set, how they come across to many readers. (“You have no money in savings: bad, irresponsible human!” Or “$1,000 in the bank? Are you kidding me? Why bother now?”)

    I think the key lies in pointing out how much of a HUGE difference little changes can make. I switched from a major cell carrier ($120/month) to Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk $45/month plan ($50 after taxes and fees). Savings: $70/month. That’s $840 over the last year, less the $40 for my surprisingly decent smartphone I bought. So I banked 800 there. The best part: I still got the same unlimited talk/text and same data allowance my old plan offered.

    Before moving, I also shopped around for my car insurance after being at the same company for over five years. I found comparable coverage with a different major carrier for $15 less/month. There was another 180 in the bank.

    After resolving to save my change for six months, I found myself with 211 and some odd cents, halfway through the year.

    Savings up 1180. And relatively painless.

    Everyone can save something. Just start small; it adds up.

  • valerie contreras

    Sadly most American families are not able to save because they are living paycheck to paycheck. The majority of families I sit down with face this challenge. Many were never given the education in how to save money and not have to worry about the market risks but at the same time taking advantage of the market gains. Why would someone put all their retirement savings in a 401K/403B/IRA account and risk so much and not consider the potential loss? I try to educate as many people as possible and direct them to the right path that will protect them from taxes and inflation in addition to potential market loss. I have been blessed to help families overcome this economy.


    I have been a financial planner since 1974 ( working mostly with small business owners and their employees )….I come from the conservative corner of financial planning….( MBA from Vanderbilt…for whatever that’s worth )…..85% of American working adults should make it a priority to save 10% of EVERY dollar they earn…..from age 22–23 aprox until they retire……it simply takes forming the habit…..you will need several MILLION dollars saved by retirement to be financially independent ….and it takes commitment to financial discipline to get there….otherwise you will live your ENTIRE financial life on the edge…..that’s just plain irresponsible…..why should OTHERS have to bail $$ you out when stuff happens ?? # 1 a : 95% of American adults MUST own some private disability income insurance….group coverage at work doesn’t count unless you work for a MAJOR co and will be there until retirement….what would happen to you if you could no longer earn income…….don’t think S.S. will bail you out….at best it will be a drop in the bucket….AT BEST…….HOW to save and invest ?? besides monthly discipline and habit, you must address taxation and % rate of return on your savings/investment efforts…..you want the money to grow income tax FREE and…..you want to be able to tap into conservative stock market returns ( ie 5% –10% / yr long term avg )……BY FAR your best opps for that are 1) INDEXED UNIVERSAL LIFE policies and 2) VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE policies…….I.U.L. policies should get you 5%–8% on your money with NO downside risk…..EVER….all tax free….and V.U.L policies over the long run ( WITH risk ..they invest in top mutual funds ) should get you 8%–12 % /yr over the LONG term…..all the money comes out WHEN YOU NEED IT……income tax FREE…..in BOTH types of policies……I call them TAX FREE FAMILY BANKS…..you should have 1 of ea…….IF you don’t need life ins and/or you are older or your health is poor, ” borrow a life ” by insuring a child or grandchild where the yearly cost of the ( tax free ) life ins is very small…..but YOU own the ” bank ” ( policy )….only use a true PROFESSIONAL in my business to help you…I hope I have been some help……..Mark Bode

  • dougt

    Saving accounts are useless, as the interest rates are typically much much less than inflation, and no different than interest checking accounts. Checking account offer more flexibility, and investments offer more returns. This survey is deceptive and moronic. Nobody with any sense keeps large amount in savings. Maybe they should have asked about people’s net wealth….total liquid assets, investment, home equity, etc

  • shacker2762

    I’d recommend to anyone young today to NOT have kids. It might take a while to get to where you need to be in your career (getting a job itself can take a while) but once you’re established and making a decent salary, there’s no reason to add a financial drain to your lifestyle.

    A couple making a combined $50K a year can live decently. Add a kid to the mix and you’re darn near finished. You can kiss upward career mobility goodbye, too (this is unfortunately especially true for women with kids). Also, recovery from a job loss is much easier and a great deal less stressful without kids.

    Kids are great. Don’t get me wrong. But are they worth the damper on your lifestyle?

    • Tyler Tippetts

      I guess it really comes down to priorities, now doesn’t it. I must say, I believe that families are ordained of God, and that if we pursue our own selfish interests and “life styles” instead of seeking to develop families, then God will cease to preserve us. History clearly demonstrates that when civilizations devalue the family, they go extinct. Prosperity follows morality and morality is taught in families.

  • Lynn Fletcher

    Savings? What’s that?

  • Teresa Roberts

    Living without debt has made the biggest difference in my life. I paid my house off about 10 years ago and only pay cash for my cars. Without debt, I can live on about $1500 a month. Of course, I reside in the Midwest where cost of living is considerably less expensive. Living without debt takes a lot of pressure off of someone to make a lot of money just to pay your bills. I did that for quite a few years and it was draining. I prefer a simpler life by far.