The personal finances of Europeans are in a fragile state, warns a report from ING published Wednesday.
The ING International Survey on Savings, now in its sixth year, found almost one in three Europeans, 29 percent, have no savings at all. Of those with savings, 36 percent had just three months take-home pay or less saved.
Meanwhile, the survey found 16 percent of those in the U.S. had no savings, while 41 percent had three months or ess take home pay stashed away.
The cause, according to the survey, is the historically low interest rates set by central banks. The survey found 41 percent of people have been discouraged from saving in the last 12 months due to low rates.
In some cases, those who are saving less, or taken money out of their savings, have used the money to pay off debts, 11 percent, renovate their homes, 20 percent, or seek alternative forms of investment, 17 percent.
However, many are apathetic – 56 percent of European consumers have not changed their approach to saving at all
"Lowering interest rates is a widespread technique for trying to stimulate spending in the economy, but it also has an effect on people's savings," Ian Bright, senior economist at ING, said in a press release.
"We can see that people across Europe are feeling the strain of continued low interest rates, and losing motivation to save, increasing the fragility of many households' finances."
The ING survey was based on internet polling of nearly 15,000 people across 15 countries and was conducted by Ipsos.