Experts generally encourage everyone to keep three-to-six months' worth of expenses in an emergency fund to cope with an accident, crisis or layoff, and Suze Orman suggests you aim to put away enough to support yourself for about a year. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't able to meet that goal: The majority of them have under $1,000 saved, total. Half of all workers in the U.S. have nothing put away for retirement.
New data from Bankrate, however, shows that millennials as a whole are doing better than you may expect. Though 25 percent of them have nothing saved, which is roughly the same as the share of baby boomers who haven't provided for themselves (27 percent), 72 percent of young people have at least something saved, compared to only 64 percent of Boomers.
And the Boomers have had a lot more time to get started.
Generally, Americans are working on improving their financial habits. Most Americans now have emergency savings, which is a cheering development. Thirty-one percent even have enough to cover six months' of living expenses — up from 22 percent in 2015 and 28 percent last year — which is the highest that rate has been in seven years.
And 68 percent now have at least something saved.
Bankrate also reports that the "Financial Security Index itself has reached an all-time high" at 106.7 out of 108. That index measures comfort with savings, comfort with debt, net worth, job security and overall financial situation. "Any reading above 100," Bankrate says, "indicates strengthening financial security."
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