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New Survey Says Americans Still Not Saving Enough

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A new financial survey says what many American families may know all too well, i.e. that most are not saving enough for emergencies and retirement.

It's the 7th annual national survey assessing household saving and it was released as part of America Saves Week. 

The survey says despite the improvement in the economy that most Americans still have "personal savings challenges".  Only about 35 percent of them said they were making any progress in their savings needs while the rest said they were making fair or no progress at all.

Stephen Brobeck, the executive director of the Consumer Federation of America and a founder of America Saves, summed it up this way: "Only about one-third of Americans are living within their means and think they are prepared for the long term financial future. One-third are living within their means but are often not prepared for this long term future. And one-third are struggling to live within their means."

The survey also concluded that while many people are meeting financial needs that they are also worse off in some ways than several years ago. About 68 percent said they are spending less than their income and saving the difference. This was down from 73 percent in 2010. Only about one third of those surveyed say they feel prepared for their long term financial future.

Officials say about two thirds of respondents had sufficient emergency savings to pay for unexpected expenses like car repairs or a doctor visit. About 75 percent say the are reducing consumer debt. These two numbers are about where they were last year, but lower than in 2010.

Bottom line: financial experts said the above and other survey numbers reveal the continuing struggles of the American middle class. They said while unemployment rates have come down, those without jobs or who are "under" employed are still relatively high. More importantly, real wages have been stagnant, and fewer middle class families are building wealth successfully through home ownership.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey said there are sharp differences between households with incomes above and below $50,000. It said the group hit hardest by the recession and its lingering effects have been moderate income households.

The survey is being released today because this is the first day of America Saves Week, an effort to promote awareness for individuals and families keep track of their saving progress.

"Savings isn't something you do once a year, or one week out of the year. However, America Saves Week gives us all a chance for a renewed focus not only on why it's important to save, or to establish goals for saving, but the role that savings plays in helping us achieve our individual needs and goals," said Nevin Adams, Director of the American Savings Education Council. "America Saves Week is a great time to revisit or establish those goals - and to start saving, or start saving more."

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