Mar 23, 2020 - Economy

Most Americans say they have no savings

Reproduced from AARP via Deutsche Bank Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The shock of the U.S. economy coming to a halt as more cities and states shut down businesses will be severe if lawmakers don't act quickly.

What's happening: AARP's latest study tracking U.S. household savings is based on a "yes" or "no" response to the following question: "Does your household have an emergency savings account?"

Why it matters: A majority of respondents answered "no," and even respondents who answered "yes" may not have a significant amount saved.

  • In fact, researchers note, "A broad interpretation of the question could count any plan for coping with an emergency, including borrowing from family and friends, as having an emergency savings account."
  • "Under this interpretation, even a household without savings in cash or a bank account may still answer 'yes' to the survey question."

Of note: A quarter of Americans who earn more than $150,000 a year don't have a savings account.

Further, "Fed data shows that 40% of U.S. households would not be able to come up with $400 for an emergency expense," Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Torsten Sløk notes.

Go deeper: The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it

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