In fact, according to a recent survey of 1,000 people from Bankrate, 21 percent of the U.S. workforce isn’t saving anything at all. About 48 percent of those surveyed said they are saving, but no more than 10 percent of their income. The results are on par with previous years’ surveys, and Bankrate says about 20 percent of people say they aren’t saving anything.
“Unfortunately, this means it hasn’t improved,” said Bankrate’s Greg McBride.
Why aren’t Americans saving? The most popular answer, given by 38% of people: They have too many expenses.
Indeed, many expenses that are considered necessities have gone up in recent years, and wages are barely keeping up. The cost of rent, groceries, household furnishings and medical expenses have all risen in recent months, with rent being the biggest source of inflation in 2019.
It was more common for low-income households to say they aren’t saving than for those making more. Some 45% of households earning less than $30,000 per year said they weren’t saving any money, compared to 6% of those in high-earning households, surveyed by Bankrate.
But 16% of those who responded said they weren’t saving more because they hadn’t gotten around to it.
That’s “a lousy excuse,” McBride said.
There are many ways to take the work out of it, and save automatically.
Apps including Qapital, Acorns and Digit are popular ways to put away small amounts of money, but many large banks including Chase JPM, +0.29% allow customers to set up automatic transfers to savings accounts, too.
See also: The best apps to help boost your savings
Workers at companies with human-resources departments can often ask them to split a paycheck, depositing part of it into a savings account automatically.
“Having money tucked away for unplanned expenses and actively saving for your retirement are too important not to prioritize,” McBride said.
Financial experts typically recommend that people have at least three to six months’ expenses saved in an easily accessible emergency fund, in addition to their retirement savings.