3 In 5 Americans Don't Have Savings To Cover Unexpected Bills

Tyler Durden's picture

While various CNBC anchors may be willing to say that the US is "growing gangbusters" yet again confusing the liquidity-oozing equity markets with the economy, there are a couple hundred million Americans who would bet to differ (which incidentally may also explain why the Comcast channel no longer wishes to have its viewership calculated by Nielsen): the reason is that according to the latest Bankrate survey released today, more than three in five Americans don't have money in their savings accounts to cover any unexpected bills such as a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room visit.

In fact, only 38% of respondents said they have enough funds in their bank accounts to cover even the most mundane of spending emergencies.. Most others would need to take on debt or cut back elsewhere.

As the WSJ reports, citing Bankrate banking analyst Claes Bell, "a solid majority of Americans say they have a household budget but too few have the ability to cover expenses outside their budget without going into debt or turning to family and friends for help.”

The survey found that an unexpected bill would cause 26% to reduce spending elsewhere, while 16% would borrow from family or friends and 12% would put the expense on a credit card. The remainder didn’t know what they would do or would make other arrangements.

Ok, so clearly more than half of Americans not only can not budget more than a few months down the road, but is living paychek to paycheck: hardly a surprise.

What baffles, however, is that as only Zero Hedge showed so far the biggest reason why the US economy was represented to have grown as strongly as it did in Q2 and Q3 is because the Bureau of Economic Analysis decided to revise US household income lower and spending higher not once, but twice, in the process "boosting" Q3 GDP higher to 5%, but only getting there after estimating that US savings were reduced by $140 billion at the end of September, a 20% reduction in the estimated amount of savings held by US consumers.

Which begs the question: just which savings are Americans said to have drawdown by $140 billion more than in initial estimates: the ones they don't currently have or the ones they can't ever hope of having?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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screw face's picture

...Bullish ...the revolution will not be televised.

Dr. Engali's picture

That's because there will be no revolution.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Our collective failure to meet this challenge -- year after year, decade after decade -- has led us to the breaking point.  Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident away from bankruptcy.  These are not primarily people on welfare.  These are middle-class Americans.  Some can't get insurance on a car they need to get to their job.  Others are self-employed, and can't afford it for their work vehicle.  Many other Americans who are willing and able to pay are still denied affordable insurance due to previous accidents or prior convictions that insurance companies decide are too risky or too expensive to cover.

It is time, America, for the next logical change:  ObamaCar: Automobile Insurance Subsidized Hope Act

Muddy1's picture

"a $1,000 emergency room visit"  How naive to think it would be so cheap.  I recently took my wife to the ER, diagnosis was vertigo, bill was a bit over $5,000.  That's right, FIVE THOUSAND.  NEVER saw a doctor, only a physicans assistant.  It would have been more, but she refused to let them inject a dye into her as part of the MRI.  There was a lot of pressure to do the MRI with a dye and they made her sign a paper saying she refused the dye MRI so that they could cover their ass.  Oh, the hospital was part of a group we had last gone to about 30 years ago and they still had medical records from that visit.

It started again a few days later, she went to the chiropractor.  The chiropractor bill was $50, FIFTY DOLLARS, and the problem has not happened since.  effin hospitals.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



You took your wife to the Emergency Room because she was feeling light headed?



Then you took her to a chiro?


Then you are going to complain about the price?


Then you insinuate there is a correlation between the chiro visit and the fact that she has not had a recurrence.


How is massaging her back and waving colored lights over her spine going to fix what is highly likely just a natural occurrence in life?


I go vasovagal every time I hear contemporary church music with a snare drum.

If mrs_horseman or I elected to go to the ER every time we got kicked in the head, or fell off a horse, and got knocked out, or felt woozy, then we would expect to be poorer.  We do not.  But if we did, then we wouldn't whine about it, and we wouldn't act surprised to have to pay the high deductible and co-insurance amounts that we selected with our health insurance plan to keep the premiums low.  We set aside money for this in advance, because we are responsible adults.

However, we darn sure aren't going to an Emergency Room when someone experiences vasovagal response.

Do you go to an Emergency Room every time you experience stomach cramps?  Diarrhea?  Sore muscles?  Headache? 

new game's picture

above discussion cuts to the point-merican CHOOSE to NOT have saving, for whatever reasons. mainly compulsive disorder i will call SPENDERs' DISEASE. now i ask; is it my place to feel sorry for these muthorfockers?

hedgeless_horseman's picture




I am going to ask my doctor about that. 

Maybe there is a pill he can prescribe?

Where can I donate to research?  Is there a 10K run?

new game's picture

it is curable. serious reflection upon ones' past and some childhood understanding of traits from upbringing. change, what humans are for the most part incapable of. I know as I have had to make many changes to survive. minimalist, more enjoyment less bullshit...most likely the way you live.

ps. second batch of home brew kombucha, probiotic refreasment...

1.5 acres going into first growing season. all raw, all organic, all grass fed, and i feel great...

thanks for your contributions.

up nort herein da snota cold...

daveO's picture

I have several 'Spend Bots' in my family. Common sense reasoning doesn't put a dent in their credit card fueled arrogance. Just stand back and watch the train wrecks (divorces).

nodhannum's picture

Of course it is your place to feel sorry for them and bail them out...you heartless, (insert whatever cumbaya PC term here gets the guilt going) new game person you :-)

Muddy1's picture


You missed the entire point of my comment, that being that it is naive to think a visit to the ER is as cheap as $1,000.  You really are a dumb fuck.  It was far more than light headedness.

A natural treatment worked successfully with no extensive tests to pad the hospital's pocket.  There was no waving of colored lights and I ave no idea where you came up with that.  Nor was there a massage of the back, again I have no idea of where you came up with that except you're a dumb fuck.

To imply that I am irresponsible because of the way I pay my bills demnstrates further what a dumb fuck you are.  i not only have money saved for medical expenses, I choose to live debt free.  Don't lecture me asshole, and shove your arrogant, superiority complex up your ass.  As for you adn your old lady, maybe getting kicked in the head by a horse is why you are such a dumb fuck.

As for a case of diarrhea, I just think of you.

Pool Shark's picture



"3 In 5 Americans Don't Have Savings To Cover [Next Month's] Bills."


There, fixed that for you...


SickDollar's picture

How about "3 in 5 Americans live paycheck to paycheck"


pelican's picture

I wonder what percentage of these have jobs.

steveharless's picture

realistically more like 4 outta 5

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Depends on how your defining revolution Doc. People are trying to start things like a race war and the general destruction of rights. We probably won't see a Russian revolution but I rate a dissolution type revolution pretty high.

Dr. Engali's picture

There will be an uncivil war long before there is any revolution. TPTB divide us for a reason.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

We've already got the uncivil and a little push, which a lot of fools seem to be willing to supply, will create a nightmare that will be damned hard to stop.

Fun Facts's picture

The revolution already happened.

It was the PNAC ZWO New Pearl Harbor in 2001.

Anything happening now would technically be a counter revolution to the 2001 soft coup.

...and it won't happen because americans are ignorant TV zombies, which is why ziowood turned them into TV zombies.

Pie rre's picture

I'm going to verify that with Arnold Ziffle next time I'm in Pixley.

PTR's picture

Someone once said "What we need is a revelation, not a revolution."

Freddie's picture

The idiots keep watching TV and Hollywood's crap.  I bet 65% of ZH posters still watch TV like little whining serfs.

economics9698's picture

I really like Bonanza reruns these days.

daveO's picture

The Surgeon General has determined that watching 'old' reruns is not part of a balanced daily diet of propaganda. No black heroes, 'strong' women or homo white males. 

T-NUTZ's picture

I'll take the under and up the ante

65% of ZH posters don't even subscribe to TV.  

TV is dead, only old people and zombies haven't realized it.

Dr. Engali's picture

It's tough finding that third or fourth  part time job in order to put some money away.

playnstocks's picture

 I'm looking for that hospital with the $1000 emergency room visit.. Now that's a deal!

oddjob's picture

Quite unfortunate that your government invests in better ways to kill people rather than help them.

Equality 7-25-1's picture

Sheep Breeding for Dummies by Marge Singer

ZeroPoint's picture

Green Valley Animal Hospital is here to serve you!

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

I was thinking of same thing, $1k for emergency visit is a steal! I won't even need to worry about buying insurance any more if only my emergency is that cheap! But then again I don't have insurance due to self-startup business, so all I have are my savings to cover for emergency or if it's a treatment that I need I'll be traveling to another country for procedure. Byw CAT scans are like $100 in HK.

BandGap's picture

That's why God gave us TWO kidneys. Keep one, sell the other. Duh.

cheech_wizard's picture

and if you were truly lucky (genetically speaking) you got FOUR kidneys.

Standard Disclaimer: Duplex kidneys occur in 1% of the population

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

This Obama 'economy' is a complete joke...

chinoslims's picture

It's not a joke.  It's a criminal enterprise.  The banksters are making off with billions that are completely insured by the taxpayer in the form of bailouts.  motherfuckers!

Seasmoke's picture

Just stop paying. Everyone. So simple. And no bloodshed either.

NotApplicable's picture

"Savings" = money not spent on other bills that are due (or past due).

Vincent Vega's picture

3 out of 5...... Nor does the federal government and likely not your state nor local government.

Latitude25's picture

Based on the amount in my bank account I'm nearly penniless. 

Pool Shark's picture



I'm sure that's true of most Americans.

We used to live "Paycheck to paycheck."

Now we live "EBT to EBT."


Latitude25's picture

I don't live paycheck to paycheck.  I'm simply avoiding bailins.

Pool Shark's picture



Well played, sir.

That's why I always say: "Cash, Bonds, Gold."

[Note: "Cash" does not include bank deposits...]

MrSteve's picture

Technically speaking (TMI), now the Candians are cent-less since the nickel is their smallest coinage denomination. The English pound-shilling-pence systems had two penny, penny and half-penny coinages at various times. Poor folks could have been penniless under that system. Americans have been penniless since the 100 mostly copper cents to the one silver dollar was founded, way before the FRN was sprung on us in 1913.




Creepy A. Cracker's picture

Thank you Dear Leader Obama and your fellow socialists for strangling businesses with excessive taxes and regulation, destroying jobs in the U.S.  You have done your job well.  Your government dependent, socialist utopia, is almost here...

El Gringo's picture

Are you trying to tell me that liberal "progressive" nanny-staters are scum bags?

Bunga Bunga's picture

Few hours emergency room visit is closer to $5,000+ in CA.

Slowdrip's picture

That painful climb to DOW 30,000, up 205, beautiful....