Nearly half of Americans are saving no more than 5 percent of their incomes, while 18 percent are saving nothing at all, according to a new report.
The report, from the consumer finance site Bankrate.com, found that 28 percent of survey respondents are saving something, but not more than 5 percent of their incomes.
Overall, only 24 percent of Americans are saving more than 10 percent of their incomes. That figure includes 14 percent who are saving more than 15 percent.
America’s best savers are the middle class, with 35 percent of households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 saving more than 10 percent of their incomes, a rate that outpaces even the highest-income households.
“This proves the old adage that what counts isn’t how much you make, but how much you have left over,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride.
Those in the western U.S. are out-saving their counterparts elsewhere in the country, with 31 percent of westerners saving more than 10 percent of their incomes, compared with just 20 percent of southerners.
The picture isn’t entirely rosy out west, however, because 19 percent of westerners indicated they aren’t saving anything. That’s worse than all other regions.
Although Bankrate.com’s Financial Security Index in March dipped slightly from February’s all-time high of 104.8 to 103.7, it’s still at the second-highest level since its inception in late 2010. Readings above 100 indicate improved financial security compared to one year previous.
Those survey respondents who said they are feeling more secure in their jobs than a year ago outnumber those who are feeling less secure by a margin of greater than two-to-one (27 percent compared to 13 percent).
Consumers’ comfort level with debt decreased slightly over the past month, but continues to remain positive compared to a year ago, with 23 percent of respondents saying they are feeling more comfortable with their debt and 20 percent feeling less comfortable than in March 2014.
Americans’ overall financial situation is progressing, with 29 percent stating that their situation has improved from one year ago and just 18 percent saying it has deteriorated.
Savings remains the weakest of the Financial Security Index’s five components, but improvement is evident, Bankrate noted.
The survey found that 24 percent of respondents said they are more comfortable with their savings now compared to one year ago, while 27 percent are now less comfortable. That is the slimmest margin to date. For the first time, men are demonstrating more comfort with their savings than one year ago.
Between 2010 and 2012, Americans who were less comfortable with their savings than 12 months earlier outnumbered those who were more comfortable by a three-to-one margin.
The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, can be seen in its entirety here.
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