NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Brenda Norwood knows the importance of saving, but just like many Americans, it’s the execution that alludes her.
“The greatest challenge to saving that I face is finding extra money in my budget to save in the first place,” said the 54-year-old accountant and single mother who lives in the Great Los Angeles area. “My expenses often leave nothing to save at the end of the month.”
Norwood is not alone: a new survey from the non-profit NeighborWorks America shows 34% of adults in America don’t have any emergency savings, up from 29% last year. The survey also found 47% of adults said their savings would last three months or less, compared to 41% in 2014.
“My lack of savings sometimes keeps me up at night,” Norwood said. “What happens if my car breaks down and it’s an expensive repair? I have the barest minimum possible taken from my paychecks for retirement and I’m terrified that when I finally get to that age, it won’t be enough.”
While people should maintain about a six-month emergency fund, John Lindsey, a certified financial planner and CEO of Lindsey & Lindsey in Westlake Village, Calif., said the reality is most Americans barely have enough savings for two to three weeks.
“Most Americans just don¹t save enough,” Lindsey said. “The important thing that people have to remember is to always maintain six months of emergency funds, readily available to them to tap into should something happen that is unexpected and truly an emergency ¬and can’t be used for anything else.”