One-third of Americans living on financial edge

If your rainy day fund is light, you have plenty of company. According to a newly released report from Bankrate, 24 percent of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings, and 13 percent are not much better off—they don’t have credit card debt but they don’t have emergency savings either. Put another way, more than a third of Americans are living at risk of a financial crisis.

Generation X is the group shortest on emergency savings, Bankrate found, largely because they are in an expensive stage of life. Some 32 percent of respondents aged 30 to 49 had more credit card debt than emergency savings. Millennials are in relatively better shape, with just 21 percent of respondents between 18 and 29 having more credit card debt than emergency savings.

Perhaps that is because they have not hit the high-spending years and perhaps, as Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, said, “You are looking at a generation that had a front row seat for the financial crisis, so they have a greater tendency to save ingrained in them.”

Retirees were the most prepared for emergencies, with just 14 percent saying their credit card debt was bigger than their emergency savings. Bankrate’s figures released Monday do show some improvement from a year earlier. Only 58 percent of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt, Bankrate found, but a year ago that figure was 51 percent. Respondents in the new survey also feel better about their finances than the respondents a year earlier.

continue reading »

More News