Americans withstood a number of financial curveballs in 2022 that made saving money more challenging than ever.
Record-high inflation rates led to higher costs of living, steep grocery bills and eye-popping gas prices. Due to higher expenses, it likely comes as no surprise that many struggled to save money last year. According to a recent survey conducted by GOBankingRates, 33% of Americans have $100 or less in their savings account going into 2023, and 34% had the same amount in their savings in 2022.
In light of this data, let’s take a harder look at how Americans’ financials stack up this year compared to last and hear from some financial experts regarding the best ways for Americans to grow their savings this year.
Majority of Americans Have Less Than $1K in Their Savings Now
Most Americans do not have a major savings cushion to fall back on — and that’s consistent. According to GOBankingRates’ survey, 57% had less than $1,000 in their savings in both 2022 and 2023. Further, one-third of Americans had less than $100 in savings in both 2022 and 2023.
Here’s the full breakdown in savings between the two years.
How Much Do Americans Have in Their Savings Accounts?
$100 or less
Although in general Americans’ savings remained fairly consistent from 2022 to 2023, this tends to vary by age. In 2022, 45% of Americans aged 45-54 had $100 or less in their savings account, the most likely age bracket to have under $100 in savings. On the flip side, adults between the ages of 55-64 were most likely to have over $10,000 in savings, as a quarter of respondents who fell into this savings category were in this age bracket. Additionally, those over 65 are most likely to have between $2,001-$5,000 in savings.
Women are more likely to have less in their savings account heading into 2023 than men. According to the survey, 37% of women have less than $100 in their savings while only 28% of men have under $100. Men are also more likely to have over $10,000 in savings; 15% of men selected this response while only 11% of women did.
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Inflation Remains the Primary Culprit
For many Americans, inflation remains the primary roadblock holding them back from saving more money.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 8.6% in May of 2022. With last year witnessing record highs across all essential goods and services, many individuals had to dip into their savings to accommodate the rising prices.
Having to put more money into food, gas and other necessities has led to the dwindling savings exemplified in the survey. While one-third of Americans having less than $100 in savings may seem like a shocking number, it is a product of years of financial struggle.
Saving Money Isn’t Easy — But Here Are 3 Ways To Start
Saving money in general is a challenging task to take on. Adding on high inflation rates after a global pandemic makes it nearly impossible.
“If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you just don’t have the money to save,” said Jay Zigmont, PhD, CFP, and founder of Childfree Wealth. “Additionally, those who are in debt should be putting any extra money toward their debt rather than saving, which compounds the issue.”
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“In order to save more money, you need to get on a budget and get out of debt,” Zigmont said.
It’s important to prioritize eliminating debt as soon as possible so that you can build your savings and create an emergency fund.
It’s also advisable to create a plan for your money in order to stay accountable financially.
“It does not matter which budget you use, but you need to have a plan for your money,” Zigmont said. “Lock your credit cards so that you can’t use them as they can often be budget-busters. Set a goal to save a starter emergency fund of one month of expenses. The total amount will vary based upon your expenses, but a one-month emergency fund will at least get you started.”
Automate Your Savings
If you have a savings account already and want to grow the amount of money you are setting aside monthly, establishing an automated payment system can be very effective. You can use your bank’s mobile app or online platform to automatically route a portion of your paycheck to your savings account to discourage you from spending it right away.
More From GOBankingRates
Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older from across the country on between December 7 and 12, 2022, asking nineteen different questions: (1) What category does your current financial institution fall under?; (2) Have you considered changing Banks within the past year?; (3) If you have considered changing banks in the past year, were any of the following factors? (select all that apply):; (4) Which feature, perk, or other offering is most important to you when opening an account with a new institution?; (5) Are you currently satisfied with all your banking products and services offered by your Bank/Credit Union?; (6) Would you ever have different types of accounts across multiple banks? (i.e. Checking at Chase, but Savings at TD Bank); (7) What is your most preferred method of banking?; (8) Which of the following is the biggest factor of you staying with your current bank?; (9) Which of the following bank accounts do you currently use/have open? (Select all that apply); (10) How much is the minimum balance you keep in your Checking Account?; (11) How much do you currently have in your Savings Account?; (12) What amount of a sign up bonus would make you consider switching banks?; (13) Have you considered using any app-only banking platforms (aka neobanks) in the past year (e.g. Current, Upgrade, Chime, Dave, etc.); (14) How important is it to you for your bank to be affiliated with a crypto exchange/platform?; (15) In the past year how often have you written a physical check?; (16) When was the last time you visited your bank in-person?; (17) Why would you choose to visit your bank in-person? (Select all that apply); (18) When you think about banking, do you think of it as something you need or don’t need?; and (19) What services/products do you expect from your Bank and/or Credit Union? (Select all that apply). GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Here’s How Much Americans Are Saving in 2023 vs. 2022