Stagnant wages, and prolonged unemployment and underemployment have meant that many Americans continue to struggle to save. Finding it difficult to build wealth through homeownership has also impeded many individuals and families from making progress in meeting their savings needs, according to a national survey.
The survey released Monday found that only about one-third of Americans say they're making "good" or "excellent" savings progress, while nearly two-thirds are making only "fair" or "no" progress.
The survey found the issue for many Americans, regardless of income level, is the ability to spend less than they make and save the difference.
"Only about one-third of Americans are living within their means and think they are prepared for the long-term financial future," said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, which commissioned the survey along with the American Savings Education Council and the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
"One-third are living within their means but are often not prepared for this long-term future," he added. "And one-third are struggling to live within their means."
The survey of more than 1,000 adults was released the first day of America Saves Week, an annual initiative of local, state and national organizations to promote savings and help people assess their savings status.
Most Americans don't even have a plan of where to start.
Only half of American households have a savings plan with specific goals, and only four out of 10 have a budget that allows for sufficient savings, according to the survey.