A recent study from Bankrate.com found that only 55 percent of Americans hold more in emergency savings than they do in credit card debt, compared to 54 percent last year and 52 percent in 2011.
“Consumers may be deleveraging, but the proportion of people with more emergency savings than credit card debt hasn’t changed much,” Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate, said. “Given the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error, one can make the argument that consumers haven’t moved the needle at all over the past 24 months.”
Bankrate’s Financial Security Index also fell this month to 96.8 from 98.6 in January, indicating that the improvements gained from December to January had been lost. A reading of 100 on the index indicates that consumer sentiment regarding financial security is unchanged from one year ago. The index, however, has remained below 100 in 25 of the 27 months since it was established.
As a result of rising home prices and gains in the stock market, net worth was the only measured response to improve from January to this month, while savings, debt, job security and consumers’ overall financial situation saw declines.
Net worth was also the only component to register on the positive side of the scale when consumers were asked whether they felt better, the same or worse now compared to one year ago. Among households with an income of $75,000 per year or more, all five components saw a decline over the past month.