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Financial Literacy Month Statistics: How Are We Really Doing?

In the wake of the start of financial literacy month, I found the following information to be quite intriguing.

How would you rate your saving habits?

Bankrate.com recently did a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults which studied how much they were saving. Those who earned between $50,000 and $75,000 saved the biggest share of their incomes. Around a fourth of those particular households saved more than 15% of their income in some kind of savings or emergency fund; 30% of those households saved more than 10%.

About half of the Americans in the study saved 5% or less. 18% of everyone studied don’t save money at all. Unfortunately, this falls at about average in the general census studies of American financial spending and saving habits.

What type of person is more likely to save more? Those who were 65 or older. They made up the highest percentage of households which saved more than 15% of their income. Ironically enough, they were also one of the highest percentage of those who saved nothing at all. But think of it this way, when you’re 65 it’ll be time to start spending the money that you’ve saved up for retirement.

As far as environment goes, people who live in the western half of the United States were the biggest savers.

Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, Greg McBride says that “”Middle-class Americans (have) to do the saving, because nobody is going to do it for them. They don’t have the six-figure income to fall back on” for expenses, including household emergencies, long-term health care, children’s educations or their own retirement.”

He also concludes that while some people are really good at budgeting, saving, and general financial matters, others are not, and that the overall results are a “mixed bag”.

Let these statistics motivate you to save with the best of them. Aim for 15% of your income but you don’t have to jump from saving 0% to 15%. Make small contributions to start then gradually increase it as you get comfortable with saving. The easiest way is to direct deposit some of your income into your savings account. Once you get used to the change, add a little bit more. If you’re not even seeing the money in the first place, it will be an easier transition.

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