According to the latest data reported by CNBC, 57 million Americans have zero emergency savings. This equates to 24% of all adults, but, more disturbingly, a full 32% of young “Boomer” adults ages 53 to 62. This age group, nearing retirement and most in need of savings, represents the largest demographic of the general population with no savings. What this means, in very real terms, is that these Americans are just one medical expense, one household repair bill or one car expense away from dire financial consequences.
Immediately after the financial downturn of 2008, the savings rate among all age groups increased, but with low unemployment, stock market record highs and increasing home values, Americans have turned away from the lessons of the downturn and binged on spending. Every family needs at least six months of living expenses in a readily-accessible interest-bearing account. If the family has only one breadwinner, nine months of liquid assets is even more desirable.
If you need to beef up your savings, the first step is to identify on what you’re spending your disposable income and where you can make cuts to those expenses. A financial advisor can help or if you’re a DIY kind of person, download a good budgeting app on your phone or tablet. Google “free budgeting apps” and you’ll find plenty of great options.
Once you identify where you can save every month, the painful but necessary first step is to make sure you pay yourself first. Set up a savings account and make arrangements to have your bank transfer funds to that account every time you get paid. Start small, but make it meaningful. Make your coffee at home instead of indulging your Starbucks habit. Brown-bag it rather than spending $ 10.00 a day on lunch. Before you know it, you’ll be the owner of a nest egg of which you can be proud.