How Much the Average American Should Keep in Savings

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You might be surprised to learn how much the average American has in their savings account

According to GOBankingRates’ Best Banks 2023 survey of 1,000 Americans, 32% of overall respondents said they have $100 or less. This is just 1% shy of 33% respondents polled in 2022 with the same amount. In addition, 12% of overall respondents in the 2023 survey have between $101 to $500 in their savings account while another 12% has more than $10,000.

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It’s a bit difficult to fully pinpoint the “ideal” amount to keep in savings since financial situations differ for every individual. In the current economic climate marked by mass layoffs and a possible recession on the horizon, it can be helpful to follow the adage of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Let’s look at how much the average American should keep in their savings account.

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How Much Should Be in a Savings Account?

Even though 32% of overall respondents polled by GOBankingRates said they keep $100 or less in their savings account, the general rule of thumb is to save substantially more than this amount. 

Cary Carbonaro — CFP and SVP, director of women and wealth at Advisors Capital Management — recommends keeping at least the amount of an emergency fund in savings. This is between three to six months’ worth of expenses. This fund may be used to cover a wide range of emergencies including sudden job loss or an unexpected medical bill. As each year passes, Carbonaro recommends continuing to save as much as you can in this account.

Ultimately, how someone saves money in their savings account will depend on certain personal factors. Diane Bourdo, CFP and president of The Humphreys Group, said these factors include your income, expenses and debt level. Someone who has a low income and high expenses, Bourdo said, may need to put more money in savings. 

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If you don’t follow the general rule of thumb for putting three to six months’ worth of expenses into an emergency fund, Bourdo recommends looking closely at your personal finances and creating a plan to save which fits your needs.

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How To Properly Manage a Savings Account

Once you start making it a priority to build your savings, savvy savers will want to keep this momentum going and continue to grow it. Bourdo said the following strengths contribute to one’s ability to take charge of their fiscal circumstances:

  • Living within your means
  • Building savings for an emergency
  • Knowing your credit score
  • Diversifying your income and investments
  • Attaining job security
  • Getting insurance
  • Having conversations and exchanging wisdom about money with others

Take a moment to figure out which strengths listed above you’d like to prioritize. From there, Bourdo said you can begin focusing on self-care steps to target these financial resilience categories.

As an example, let’s say you’d like to start living within your means. The first self-care step to take would be to budget and save money. Bourdo recommends reviewing how much you make, how much you spend and where you spend it. Afterwards, you’ll be able to better figure out how to alter your habits to begin living within your means, putting money toward an emergency fund and saving more.

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Earning 4% Or More On Your Money?

About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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