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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Research on Saving Habits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today released research to explore how consumers’ saving habits connect to a sense of financial preparedness and their experiences related to difficulty paying their bills, financial well-being, and money in checking and savings accounts. The research found:

  • Many U.S. consumers fall short of the amount they think they need in emergency savings: Half of Americans think they need $10,000 or more in savings for an emergency, while more than half of people report that their household has $3,000 or less in their savings and checking accounts combined.
  • People who report that they “don’t save” are nearly three times more likely to experience difficulty paying bills, as compared with their counterparts who report they “save.” Looking within different income groups, the pattern is consistent—there is a substantial gap between those who save and do not save in the share of people who had difficulty paying bills.
  • Consumers who have less than they think they need for emergencies and report that they “don’t save” have particularly low levels of financial well-being and are the most likely to say that finances control their lives.

The Making Ends Meet survey is a nationally representative survey of U.S. consumers with a credit record. The survey supports the Bureau’s statutory mission to conduct research on markets for consumer financial products and services, the experiences of and access to credit for traditionally underserved communities, and consumer understanding and choice of products.

The Bureau’s Start Small, Save Up initiative seeks to encourage consumers to create, maintain, and grow emergency savings accounts as part of their overall financial well-being. It offers resources that can help consumers begin an emergency savings account and establish a habit of savings. The research report can be found at https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_perceived-financial-preparedness-saving-habits-and-financial-security_2020-09.pdf .

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.