NEW YORK (MainStreet) Nearly 70 million Americans have no emergency savings while nearly one in four people would run out of money in 30 days, according to a NeighborWorks America survey.
This lack of savings means millions of adults are faced with minimal options such as obtaining high-cost loans such as payday or title loans if an emergency occurs.
The survey also found that 40% of consumers say that their cash reserves would last as long as three months and 28% expect their emergency fund to hold them over for a year. In all, 68% of consumers say that they're setting money aside in case of a financial emergency.
"These data have to light a fire under all of us who want to see Americans better able to withstand a financial crisis, especially a recession as devastating as the one we're climbing out of now," said Eileen Fitzgerald, NeighborWorks America CEO. "Our survey underscores the need to provide better tools and information for people to manage the money they do have in order to build a strong financial base."
The survey also examined the savings goals of Americans. Retirement and buying a home are the top savings goals at 28% and 13%, respectively, with just 5% of consumers saying that they are currently saving to create a buffer in case of a financial emergency.
"Without a well-funded savings account, Americans are left with less than ideal resolution options when an unplanned event occurs," said Gail Cunningham, vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Taking money from a higher priority such as rent or utilities, borrowing from friends and family, charging the expense or high-interest loans can all trigger a negative spiral that aggravates an already shaky financial situation. People may feel they can't afford to save. I say they can't afford not to."