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Latest 2018 savings data – government shutdown sheds light on problem

As we report on from time to time, Americans do a terrible job saving. The latest 2018 data still shows this to be the case. In addition, everyone probably knows about the federal government shutdown, which is horrible for the 800,000 workers who are going without pay.

While everyday of not getting paid is one day too many for those workers, the fact is the shutdown has lasted only one pay cycle and that lack of just one paycheck is causing tremendous financial hardship for many of those government workers. This is but one small example of why emergency savings are so critical. It is sad that the shutdown has brought increased visibility to this national problem.

As 2018 closed out, and 2019 ramps up, now is a good time as any to take a look at long, hard look at your finances. While it is terrible that a shutdown brings light to the savings problem that Americans face, it is a fact.
Many organizations have surveys on savings data, and the numbers will differ between reporting organization. However, no matter what survey or study you use, the results are also bad. Some of the data from late 2018 is below.

Emergency Savings

A survey from GoBanking Rates shows 80% of Americans live check to check. 32% of Americans have zero (or immaterial amount) of emergency savings and another 41% have from $100 to $5000. Both of those are horrible amounts. The 2018 government shutdown helps shed light on the terrible jobs that Americans do to saved.

Retirement Savings

A 2018 survey from Gallup as well as Planning & Progress Study by Northwestern Mutual shows that about 25 to 35% have zero retirement savings. About a third have less than $5000, and get this, the average baby boomer has less than $25,000 saved for retirement. That is less than 25K for someone who is very close to retirement.

Those are terrible retirement saving amounts. About 70% do not feel they are prepared for retirement and plan on retiring (if they ever retirement) in their late 60s. A larger percent say they will never be able to retire.

The 2018 government shutdown is terrible for all those impacted workers, and we hope they get paid soon. But after the crisis passes, and paychecks resume, it can be a good learning experience. Save, invest, and financially prepare for a future or emergency. Do not just spend and spend like Americans do to show off/live above your means….as 60% plus of the economy in the SS is consumerism.

Building an emergency savings and retirement account(s) can be done by anyone, and it can be started for only a few bucks per week or month…which is less than the cost of a cup of coffee from a local shop.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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