New York Daily News


More of us without rainy-day fund

- BYPHYLLIS FURMAN pfurman@nydailynew­

LET’S FACE IT: We’re broke.

More than one quarter of Americans — 28% — are living on the edge with zero in emergency savings, according to a new survey from

That’s even worse than a year ago, when 24% fell into that category.

And 49% of Americans have just three months of emergency funds, up from 46% last year.

Financial experts say you should have at least six months worth of expenses socked away to tap in the event you lose your job or face some other unforeseen hardship.

By having cash on hand, you can avoid digging yourself into a deeper hole by taking on debt. But only 25% of Americans have a six-month rainy-day fund, the survey found.

While the recession made people more aware of the importance of savings, many can’t shake the bad habits formed during the boom years, said Greg McBride of

“Savings were anemically low during the go-go days of the housing boom, and even though people realize the importance of saving now, they haven’t made a whole lot of progress over the past 12 months,” said McBride, senior analyst at the financial website.

Greggory Mitchell, 51, a student adviser at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, said he has only $500 in emergency savings.

“It can make me feel vulnerable,” said Mitchell, who lives in East Harlem.

Last September, Mitchell had a flood in his apartment and was suddenly hit with $3,000 in bills.

“I wasn’t prepared for it,” he said. “I had to take care of things in increments.”

Having cleared up his credit card debts, he said he’s been careful about not falling into another debt trap.

Even so, Mitchell doesn’t see himself socking away more money in his emergency fund anytime soon.

“If I had kids, it would make a difference. I would be much less cavalier,” he said. “Because it’s just me, I can be a little more reckless.”

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