Most Americans Can’t Afford A $500 Emergency

Some fun news.

Photo: Pixabay

Here’s some reassuring news from CNN about the savings accounts of your fellow Americans: according to a report from Bankrate, six out of ten Americans don’t have the savings to account for a $500 or $1,000 emergency.

Majority of Americans don’t have $500 in savings

This is disheartening news, made a teensy bit worse by the specifics, which are below:

Only 41% of adults reported having enough in their savings account to cover a surprise bill of this magnitude. A little more than 20% said they would put it on a credit card, the report said, while 20% would cut their spending and 11% would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.

Like most personal finance advice out there, the post at CNN urges that Americans find a way to cut out unnecessary expenditures from their budgets, as if eliminating a coffee a day will somehow cause thousands of millions of dollars to rain down fro the heavens and into your bank account.

“There are ways to track your spending and look where your money is going and find the holes and gaps,” she said. “There are places you can cut back: daily coffee, alcohol, vacations, some people take several vacations, maybe cut back on one,” said Cornfield.

This is Latte Guilt rearing its ugly head once again — that myth trotted out every now and again, usually in January, when people are recovering from the hell that is the holidays, that if you just cut out one thing from your life, be it drinking or eating out or your goddamn venti-three-shot-one-pump-no-whip macchiato from Starbucks that you love and will love until you die, you will be a rich person, rolling in coin.

Your Latte Isn’t Why You’re in Debt, and the People Who Say It Is Are Lying to You

The fact that most Americans don’t have the spare $500 or $1,000 to throw towards an emergency is just proof of the fact that an awful lot about being alive is really fucking expensive. Health care, or what will be left of it after next week, is expensive if you don’t have insurance. If you own your home, your mortgage and the associated costs with that privilege are costly, too. Student loan and credit card payments are expensive, as are children, pets and taking care of your parents because they took care of you. Some people make a lot of money and the rest of us do just okay.

The silver lining? Millennials.

Millennials were the most financially prepared to handle monetary headwinds with 47% of those aged 18–29 saying they could dip into savings to cover an unplanned expense, a substantial increase from 33% in 2014.

As a wise woman once predicted by singing out loud in a largely-empty auditorium, I believe the children are our future. Teach them well. Let them lead the way.

Maybe this is the real lesson to be learned from this. The millennials are doing something right, for once, and they’ll be the ones to save us all.

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