A recent survey found that 55 percent of Americans have been able put more into their emergency savings accounts than they have acquired in credit card debt. The surveyors looked at emergency savings only without taking into account retirement accounts or other similar funds. The same survey two years ago found that only 52 percent of Americans had more stashed away than they were carrying in consumer debt.
Even though it seems like people are able to save more than they were a few years ago, many survey respondents still said that they were uneasy about how their finances would be in the future. In fact, 37 percent of the people who took the survey said that they feel less secure with regards to their savings accounts than they did one year ago.
The results seem to echo the slow, incremental economic recovery that has many people hopefully but still cautious. The fact that more than half of the respondents have been able to save in a way that outpaces their spending is quite remarkable, and may indicate a more sustainable attitude towards debt.
However, these positive results shouldn’t overshadow the realities for the many Americans who are still earning less than they were before the recession. For many middle class families, it may have been sustainable for a short period of time to go with less money and the same financial obligations, but in the long term that has proven unmanageable. It can often seem that a better opportunity or a promotion is around the corner, but with many companies cutting back and hesitating to hire, the relief may not be as near as one would like.
This is where the bankruptcy process plays an important role, helping to stop the cycle of borrowing more and more until things get better. After bankruptcy borrowers can focus on manageable payments and may have the opportunity to rebuild a health savings account.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Credit card debt tops savings for 55% of Americans,” Samantha Bomkamp, Feb. 25, 2013.