People often say one thing, but do another. And when it comes to money that goes double – as a recent survey reveals.
A Princeton Survey Research Associates study of 1,000 adults across the country showed that while Americans feel good about saving money, they still aren’t really doing it.
Twenty-one percent of employed Americans report that they aren’t saving any of their income at all, while a quarter of respondents said they only save 10% of their paychecks. Still, for the first time in six years, the Financial Security Index showed marked improvement in the way people feel about their finances; when asked about job security, debt, savings, net worth, and their overall financial situations, people reported feeling more confident and secure than ever before.
This is puzzling to researchers, who say that people are mostly not saving money simply because they “haven’t gotten around to it.” Other reasons included not having a good enough job (16% of respondents) or being in debt (13% of respondents).
“This illustrates what’s wrong with Americans and their savings,” said one of the financial analysts behind the study. “Too many of them let their lifestyle dictate what they save or whether they save at all, instead of saving first and living on what’s left.”
Who’s saving, and how much
Making more money doesn’t necessarily translate to saving more money, the study illustrated. Households with incomes of $30,000-$49,000 were almost twice as likely to save more than 15% of their incomes, compared with households taking in between $50,000 and $74,999 per year.
The biggest reasons people said they didn’t save were either that they had too many expenses, or they just haven’t gotten around to it. Middle-income households tended to blame their debt level, or say they didn’t have a good enough job that allowed them to save money. And one in seven respondents said they didn’t save because they were too busy, or too lazy, or didn’t know how.
The study’s backers said this could easily be fixed, if only folks would adjust their 401k contributions, or set up direct deposits to equal 10% of their incomes.