Personal Finance

Americans expect to burn through their savings quickly, survey finds

Key Points
  • Almost half of low-income Americans say they expect to burn through their savings within three months, according to a survey released Thursday.
  • Eighteen percent of adults with an annual income of $50,000 or less have no savings.
  • Some 34% have enough savings to cover just three months of expenses.

As millions of jobs are lost to the coronavirus pandemic, almost half of low-income Americans say they expect to burn through their savings within three months, according to a survey released Thursday.

The government's monthly employment numbers for March, due to be released Friday, are expected to show an unprecedented surge in layoffs by businesses forced to shut down by the pandemic.

Guido Mieth | DigitalVision | Getty Images

In a separate report Thursday, the Labor Department found that some 6.6 million workers had filed for unemployment benefits. That follows a wave of 3.3 million jobless claims in the prior week.

Many of those laid-off workers, especially in lower-income households, have little in the way of a financial cushion to fall back on, according to a survey by Morning Consult.

The research firm found that nearly 18% of adults with an annual income of $50,000 or less have no savings, while some 34% have enough to cover just three months of expenses.

Another 11% said their savings would be depleted within six months. Only 10% of that income group has more than a year's worth of cash.

Higher-income households are only somewhat better prepared, the survey found. Among those with annual incomes of $50,000 to $100,000, about 18% said they have between three months and six months of savings.

About 25% said their cash would last less than three months, and 6% had set aside nothing at all. None of those questioned in that income group had more than a year's worth of savings.

The survey of 2,200 adults was conducted March 27 to 29, with a margin of error of 2%

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