Study: Nearly Half Of American Households Lack Savings For Emergencies

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Nearly 44 percent of American households are one emergency away from financial ruin, according to a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. That means they don’t have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for three months, in the event of a job loss, illness, or  other unforeseen event. Nearly  a third of Americans have no savings account at all.

“These families have had to prioritize today’s expenses over tomorrow’s goals,” said Andrea Levere, the group’s president.

Many people living precariously have jobs; about 75 percent are working full time, and more than 15 percent are earning middle-class incomes of more than $55,000 a year, according to the report.

But despite steady jobs, many of those surveyed are surviving paycheck to paycheck, trying to cope with the recession’s aftermath; one emergency could tip them over “the edge of financial disaster.”

Possible reasons for their lack of savings? Experts say many factors could be at play, including stagnating wages, rising prices and high credit card debt.