21+ American Savings Statistics to Know in 2021

In the wake of the global pandemic and the disruption it caused to all our lives, it has become apparent just how threadbare the social safety net is. A lot of Americans had to rely on their savings and found them wanting.

We gathered the latest American savings statistics for you to help you make sense of the retirement statistics and why saving money is important.

How much are we saving?

What are we saving for?

Why are some of us not saving at all?

American Savings Statistics (Editor’s Pick):

  • Americans have more than $3.9 trillion in personal savings
  • 69% of adult Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account
  • The average household savings in America are at $17,135
  • 73% of millennials are saving money
  • The median balance of retirement accounts is $65,000
  • The US has a retirement savings deficit of $4.3 trillion
  • Black households have $29,200 saved up for retirement

As we’ve seen, savings can mean the difference between life and death.

What should we do?

Start saving money.

Enjoy learning about our savings-related habits and mistakes:

American Savings: Fascinating Facts

But before we sort out the details, let’s look at the big picture.

1. Americans have over $3.9 trillion in personal savings.

(Source: FRED)

By November 2020, Americans have managed to save over $1.31 trillion more than they would have without the lockdown. American savings account statistics show that even pre-pandemic, the national savings total was set to eclipse the previous year by $900 billion.

By the way, don’t miss our awesome list of ways to save money.

2. 56% of American parents were saving for college education in 2018.

(Source: Statista)

Statistics on American savings indicate that the majority of those who have children under the age of 18 have started putting money aside for their child’s college education. From 2009 until 2018, there’s a noticeable decrease in this number — back then, 62% of parents were saving for their children’s higher education.

3. 38.1% of American families have savings for liquidity purposes.

(Source: Statista)

According to a 2019 survey, liquidity is the reason why 38.1% of American families save money. American statistics on savings show that the second main reason why families across the US save is retirement at 28.4%. Planned purchases come distant third 11.2%.

4. The personal saving rate in the US was at 20.5% in January 2021.

(Source: FRED)

The percentage of disposable personal income that Americans save each month has shown a tendency of growth since 2005. While there were some fits and starts, the progress was fairly predictable. The pandemic changed a lot and people started spending less, which resulted in a massive spike in April 2020. According to American savings statistics and history, the current rate of 20.5% is higher than the pre-2020 record of 17% in 1975.

5. Almost 75% of Americans keep their savings in physical banks.

(Source: The Ascent) 

It appears that the Americans still mostly trust brick-and-mortar banks over their online counterparts. 51.76% of people use only physical banks, while 25.18% use only online banks. The remaining 23.06% use both.

How Much Does the Average American Have in Their Bank Account?

Let’s see what Americans have set aside for rainy days.

6. Just 30% of Americans have a financial plan that includes savings.

(Source: Debt.com)

Close to a third of the US population has no long-term financial plans that involve savings (retirement, emergencies, etc.). Savings might become a priority as Americans’ revenue increases. Those who make at least $75,000 in a year, are much more likely to have savings, according to American savings statistics.

7. 69% of adult Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account.

(Source: GOBankingRates)

More than two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 saved up. Worryingly, the majority of those with less than $1,000 in savings have no savings at all. Around 45% of adult Americans were unable to save any money in 2019.

8. Over 50% of women have no savings at all.

(Source: GOBankingRates)

Women seem to have more trouble saving than men. With 5.56% of women having no savings and only 22.94% having the average amount in savings of less than $1,000, the situation seems alarming. Men tend to have more in their savings accounts across the board.

9. The average savings for the US is $17,135.

(Source: PR Newswire)

When all American households and their savings accounts are taken into consideration, the situation doesn’t look too bad. The average savings account balance was $17,135 in November 2020. However, this number is the national average. That means it includes a range of people from across the country. The average in West Virginia is $6,936, while South Dakota is ahead of the pack with $24,497.

10. The median amount of savings for American households is $3,500.

(Source: The Ascent)

For a more realistic view of American savings, we should look into the median savings instead of the average amount on the savings account. The median is almost five times lower than the average. Few people keep separate emergency and savings accounts, and those who do usually have around $2,000 on them.

11.Memphis is the best city for saving money.

(Source: CreditDonkey)

When median earnings and median expenditures are taken into account, Memphis is the city that stands out. It has a median income of $73,816 and median expenses of $49,566. This means the difference, theoretically, should go to savings.

12. 38% of Americans say they can’t save any money because their expenses are too high.

(Source: Bankrate)

High living costs are the most cited reason why Americans aren’t saving and why the average amount in savings is generally so low. 16% haven’t gotten to it, and another 16% claim their job isn’t good enough. Only 8% think they don’t have to save anymore.

Savings Statistics by Age

Savings differ considerably between generations. Let’s check out median and average savings by age and what they’re spending money on.

13. Millennials are saving more than older generations.

(Source: Bank of America)

While millennials may believe that they’re bad at managing money, the majority of them (73%) are saving! Out of that 73%, 59% have $15,000 or more which is excellent especially when compared to the average American savings rate. Three quarters are saving for retirement and just over half are saving for an emergency fund.

14. People aged 30–39 have $461 billion in student debt.

(Source: ValuePenguin)

While it’s true that the student debt numbers aren’t great for older millennials, they aren’t rosy for Gen Z either. The age category with the second-largest amount of student debt are under 30-year-olds. By looking at these statistics, we can say that millennials and Gen Z have 844.8 billion in college debt combined.

15. 6% of Americans don’t have enough saved to retire comfortably.

(Source: Northwestern Mutual)

According to American savings statistics, roughly 21% of all currently working Americans intend to work past the standard retirement age of 65. Slightly more than half (55%) say they’re doing it willingly, while the remaining 45% are doing so unwillingly, citing lack of savings, poor social security, rising costs of healthcare as their top reasons.

16.People aged 45–54 have $100,000 in household retirement savings.

(Source: Nerdwallet)

This is the median value, with the average skewing significantly higher at $254,720. These are usually the strongest earning years, especially for men, so it’s not surprising this age demographic does so well.

17. Baby boomers have the most money saved up for retirement.

(Source: Nerdwallet)

This isn’t surprising, considering they had the most time to save it up. For younger boomers, some of which are still in the workforce, the median retirement savings amount to $134,000. American savings account statistics show that the older boomers, those aged 65 to 74, have $164,000 saved up. The average values are significantly higher, and they amount to $408,420 and $426,070, respectively.

Savings Statistics by Race

There’s a significant racial wealth disparity in the US

18. 75% of Latino and African-American households have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

(Source: CreditDonkey)

Demographic disparities are noticeable with retirement savings: around 66% of all minority households in the US have no retirement savings, as evidenced by American savings account statistics.

19. White households between ages 25 and 61 have median retirement savings of $79,500.

(Source: Investopedia)

It’s no surprise that the White households are the best of. The main cause of this specific savings disparity is the higher income and better benefits that White people tend to get. Average household savings for the retirement of a “standard” White family are over three times higher than an average Hispanic family and almost three times higher than an average Black family.

20. Black households have $29,200 in retirement savings.

(Source: Economic Policy Institute)

Racial wealth disparity in the US is particularly evident when we compare retirement savings accounts. Black households fare significantly worse than White ones, with almost three times less money saved up for retirement.

21. The median amount of savings for Hispanic families is just $23,000.

(Source: Economic Policy Institute)

The Hispanic households seem to have it the worst by far, American statistics on savings indicate. Their savings started dipping during the great recession, but unlike those of White and Black households, theirs haven’t even begun to recover by 2016.

22. Asian households have median savings of $67,025.

(Source: Center for American Progress)

As far as minority populations go, Asian Americans are relatively close to White households which have median savings of $79,500. This disguises the fact that there are vast gaps in income and savings between different Asian populations in the US. Japanese and Chinese Americans tend to do much better than Philipino or Korean Americans, despite them all being lumped together under the “Asian” umbrella.

American Retirement Savings Statistics

Let’s see how much Americans have saved up for retirement and what awaits us in the future.

23. The US has a retirement savings deficit of $4.3 trillion.

(Source: SmartAsset)

The average savings of Americans are not even close to enough to sustain the majority of the population through retirement. Working Americans, aged 25–64, have contributed $4.3 trillion less than they should in order to retire comfortably.

24. The median balance of retirement accounts in the US is $65,000.

(Source: The Federal Reserve)

While the average balance of all existing retirement savings accounts in the US is close to $255,200, the median balance is four times lower. Still, even the average bank account balance isn’t enough to last through retirement — medical expenses alone are expected to exceed $200,000 for a couple at the retirement age.

25. 22% of the US population will be 65 or older by 2050.

(Source: Statista)

We are currently in sort of a retirement crisis, with so many people unable to retire. Right now, less than 17% of the population is 65 or older. The crisis will expand further during the next few decades if our saving habits don’t change. The percentage of those who should retire exceeds a fifth of the population 30 years from now.

In Conclusion

Financial literacy is not something that’s commonly mentioned during early education. As the American Savings statistics listed above show, we’re not great at saving. We tend to disregard retirement savings as something too far away to worry about. We also tend to forget that sudden expenses can ruin our lives in a heartbeat.

It is true that no one plans on getting sick, getting robbed, or losing their job. However, that’s what emergency savings are for. Having peace of mind is priceless, so consider saving more and at a younger age. The perfect time to start is yesterday, the second-best time to start saving is now.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Milan is an English Language and Literature graduate. He never wanted to spend his workdays with groups of 20 teenagers. Instead of teaching like most of his college friends, he went on to become a content writer. In addition to writing, his passions include mountain biking, hiking, and playing the guitar.

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