Barely half of Americans have bigger emergency funds than outstanding credit card balances, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. The 52 percent of people who have more savings than debt is the exact same percentage as five years earlier, even though most measures of the country’s economic health have improved since then.
One bright spot is that millennials seem to be taking saving more seriously than older age brackets, with 57 percent of respondents younger than 30 indicating that their savings are greater than their debts. Respondents between 30 and 49 were most likely to have greater debt than savings, with 26 percent reporting that their credit card balances outweighed their savings.
Three in 10 respondents said they were less comfortable with their savings rate today versus a year ago, compared to 22 percent who said they were more comfortable with how much they have saved. Among adults under 30, though, 35 percent said they were more comfortable with their savings today.
Roughly a third of those in the under-30 age bracket said their net worth is higher today than it was a year ago, compared to about a quarter of all respondents. This relatively upbeat assessment of their financial situation comes in spite of the fact that only 64 percent of millennials told Bankrate that they are employed, and one in four only work part-time.
One alarming footnote pertains to older Americans. Fully one in four people between the ages of 50 and 64 have no credit card debt, but they also have zero in savings. That percentage is nearly as high for those 65 and older, even though these two age brackets are nearing or already at traditional retirement age.