Over Half of Americans Have Less than $1,000 in Savings

October 08, 2015

budget, savings

Quentin Fottrell

Broken_bank.jpgAmericans are living right on the edge — at least when it comes to financial planning.

Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account, according to a new survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted this month by Google Consumer Survey for personal finance website GOBankingRates.com. “It’s worrisome that such a large percentage of Americans have so little set aside in a savings account,” says Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance analyst for the site. “They likely don’t have cash reserves to cover an emergency and will have to rely on credit, friends and family, or even their retirement accounts to cover unexpected expenses.”

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Is Financial Wellness Finally Taking Off?

33214038_m.jpgFor years there's been lots of talk about the benefits of financial wellness programs — employees learn how to address financial issues including retirement and debt burdens, and employers, as a result, have more productive and happy employees. But to date, the financial wellness market hasn't really taken off.

Only 24% of U.S. employers have financial wellness programs, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 Workplace Benefits report, and even that number may be an exaggeration.

“The reality is there are relatively few true financial wellness programs in place today but many financial education or financial literacy programs,” said Kent Allison, a partner at PwC and a national leader in its Employee Financial Wellness Practice. “But there is a lot of talk and interest in financial wellness programs.”

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Financial Education Works as Another Angle on Employee Wellness

33214038_m.jpgORLANDO, Fla. — Financial education should be folded into existing wellness programs to help employees alleviate stress from money matters, increase productivity and avoid stress-related health problems, benefits professionals say.

“There's a solid, solid argument around how focusing on (financial wellness) is good for the company,” Jeffrey Tulloch, Westport, Connecticut-based vice president of MetLife Inc.'s financial programs PlanSmart and Business Advantage, said Tuesday during the 2015 Employer Healthcare & Benefit Congress in Orlando, Florida. “It's great for the employee — we all need this — but done correctly, it can help drive productivity.”

Most employees enter the workplace after schooling with no financial education and are ill-equipped to handle their personal finances, he said.

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