Updated July 21, 2022

Average American Savings Statistics

Read more about Savings Statistics

Everyone wants to save more money. But figuring out how to do it is usually the hardest part. Here's how Americans do.

Many Americans struggle with setting aside a little something. Millennials, in particular, are facing a tougher uphill climb. They deal with a tougher job market and heftier student loan bills.

Finding more money in your budget begins with cutting out unnecessary expenses. Sometimes, that still isn't enough.

Let's see how much people are actually saving in the U.S.

Measuring the Saving Habit

Some people are naturally good at saving. Others have to work a little harder to build the habit. A shocking number of Americans have no savings at all.

Those who are saving are setting little aside.

What's the average bank account balance?
While millions of Americans have no savings, many of them have managed to stash a few bucks in their checking account. The average bank account balance hovers around $5,300.

How many Americans have zero savings?
The number of Americans who have no cash in the bank to fall back on is staggering. 1 in 5 Americans has no savings set aside for emergencies.

What is the personal savings rate in the U.S.?
The personal savings rate is the average amount of earnings people put away for rainy days. As of April 2022, the rate is 5.2 %. This is an incline from the 4.4% rate in 2014.

How many adults don't have a bank account?
Saving money is tough when you don't have a place to park it. Approximately 5.4% of American households function without a bank account.

How many adults live paycheck to paycheck?
An estimated 64% of households in the U.S. live hand to mouth. Meaning they spend every penny of their paychecks. Surprisingly, two-thirds of them earn a median income of $41,000. This puts them well above the federal poverty level.

How Savers Compare Demographically

Aside from how much you make and your expenses, other factors can determine whether you're able to save money.

Let's see how race, age, and geographic location influence individual saving patterns.

Does race impact savings rates?
Research suggests that racial minorities face a tougher road to saving money. Around 75% of Latino and African American households have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Nearly two-thirds of minority households don't have anything set aside for the future.

Which generation is the best at saving?
Baby boomers tend to do better when it comes to hanging on to their extra money. Adults aged 55 and older have a positive personal savings rate of about 13%.

Read more: Best CD Rates

Millennials have a personal savings rate of negative 2%. Between high student loan debt and stagnating wages, saving anything at all proves to be impossible for many of them.

Which cities are the best and worst for savers?
Some cities make saving easier than others, thanks to higher wages and a lower cost of living. Through 2019, Memphis made the top of the list, with a median household income of $73,816 and median expenses of $49,566.

You'll want to move somewhere other than San Jose, California if you're trying to save money. Residents here face median expenses that are $1,136 higher than the median annual income.

Saving for Emergencies

An emergency cash buffer is a must if you want to safeguard yourself against financial disaster. While finance experts vary in their estimates of how much you need to save, they all agree that having that cushion is a necessity.

Based on the numbers, it seems that far too many Americans don't have adequate protection.

How many Americans have less than $100 in emergency savings?
Almost half of Americans can't cover an unexpected expense of $500 or less. A quarter of them can't cover $100. An estimated 22.9% of men and 22.7% of women don't have at least a Benjamin in their emergency fund.

Having $500 in the bank for emergencies can give you a sense of financial security. But for 40% of adults, it's still a pipe dream.

How many Americans have an emergency fund?
Saving three months' worth of expenses is a lofty goal. Only 18% of Americans have a 3-5 month emergency fund.

29% of adults have an emergency fund that could last them at least six months.

Who's more likely to have an emergency fund?
Age, income, and education play a part in how Americans save for emergencies.

  • 36% of retirees have a 6-month emergency fund
  • 16% of 18 to 29-year-olds have a 6-month emergency fund
  • 10% of college grads lack any savings
  • 36% of those with a high school diploma or less have no savings

Planning for Retirement

Social Security payouts are expected to decrease to 75% of their current limit over the next decades. So, planning for a secure retirement is more important than ever. Unfortunately, studies show millions of workers are lagging behind on their savings goals.

How many Americans aren't saving for retirement?
The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better. But that's something 36% of adults haven't gotten around to yet. More than a quarter of adults aged 50 to 64 aren't saving anything for their golden years.

Read more: Best Roth IRA

How much do savers expect to need when they retire?
How much cash you'll need in retirement varies based on your current income and expenses. Among middle-class workers, $250,000 is the median amount they're aiming to save.

How much are they saving each month?
Building up a quarter of a million dollars in savings takes time. And many adults may fall short. On average, workers aged 30 to 49 are saving $200 a month for retirement while those aged 50 to 59 are adding a mere $78 to their accounts.

What's the average 401(k) balance?
At the end of 2021, the average 401(k) balance was a healthy $129,157. The median balance, however, was just $33,472. So, half of the workers had that much or more while the other half had less.

How much are people contributing to their 401(k)?
93% of middle-class workers are participating in a 401(k) plan. But 67% of them are only saving enough to qualify for the company match. The median contribution amount for those between 30 and 59 years of age is 7% of their salary.

What's the median net worth in America?
Among seniors aged 55 to 64, the median net worth is around $191,836. By comparison, those in the 35 to 44 range boast a net worth of about $61,145. The 18 to 34-year-old millennial set fare the worst, with a net worth of $11,266.

Being prepared for retirement is a top financial concern for Americans. 63% say that running out of money is their number one fear.

How many Americans say they'll never retire?
Working past retirement age has unfortunately become a reality for many seniors. In 2019, 20% of employees said they plan to stay on the job indefinitely. That's a big jump from the 2% who made the same claim in 2011.

Bottom Line

Saving money should be a priority for everyone but as evidenced by the statistics we found, it's not necessarily a cakewalk. Sometimes it's as simple as cutting out that daily latte but for other Americans, their financial reality presents some much bigger obstacles.

Sources and References

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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