CREDIT CARD DEBT EXCEEDS EMERGENCY SAVINGS​

Keeping credit card debt low and emergency savings high can be a difficult task to juggle, and more Americans are struggling with it this year. ​​

LESS THAN HALF OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS HAVE MORE MONEY IN EMERGENCY SAVINGS THAN CREDIT CARD DEBT

A new Bankrate survey of 1,004 adults finds that only 44 percent of households have more money in emergency savings than the amount they owe in credit card debt. That’s down from 58 percent last year.¹

HAVING MORE CREDIT CARD DEBT THAN SAVINGS INCREASED

Those who have more credit card debt than emergency savings grew from last year's survey. Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed reported having more credit card debt than emergency savings, which is an increase from last year’s 21 percent and the highest in nine years.¹

LITTLE FOCUS ON PRIORITIZING EMERGENCY SAVINGS

Americans do not see building up their emergency fund as a priority. Just 43 percent of those surveyed said they were focusing on boosting their emergency savings this year, down from 53 percent last year. The number of respondents who say they are prioritizing paying down debt was essentially unchanged year over year, from 40 percent in 2018 to 41 percent this year.¹

HOW EACH GENERATION IS HANDLING EMERGENCY SAVINGS AND CREDIT CARD DEBT

MILLENNIALS

(1977 – 1995)

Millennials are most likely to hold more debt than savings (35 percent) and the only group more focused on paying down debt (52 percent). Millennials are the only generation prioritizing their credit card debt over building savings, but they also are the generation most likely to hold more debt than savings.¹

Generation X (49 percent) is more focused on saving for emergencies than paying down debt.¹

GENERATION X

(1965 – 1976)

BABY BOOMERS

(1946 – 1964)

Baby boomers are nearly twice as likely to have more savings than credit card debt (48 percent vs 25 percent). Like Generation X, Baby Boomers are more focused on saving for emergencies than paying off credit card debt.¹

look at your own savings and debt

It's important to act on paying off credit card debt and increasing your savings. After you tackle any credit card debt, look to building up your savings. Aim to save three to six months' worth of expenses. If you can't contribute much in the beginning, remember small amounts add up over time.

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Citations. 

1  – https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-february-2019/