Personal Savings Interest, Effort, and Effectiveness Declined in First Trimester of 2015

Contact: Katie Bryan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 202-939-1018

Washington, DC – The interest, effort, and effectiveness of Americans to save personally declined during the first trimester of 2015, according to the latest Personal Savings Index (PSI) survey undertaken by America Saves.  From January to May of this year, interest in saving fell from 70% to 63%, saving effort declined from 61% to 58%, and perceived saving success dropped from 59% to 55%.

These four-month decreases were especially pronounced among low-income respondents.  For those with household incomes under $25,000, interest declined from 58% to 52%, effort fell from 51% to 43%, and effectiveness dropped from 49% to 41%.  In contrast, for those in households with incomes $100,000 and over, while interest flagged (down from 82% to 77%), effort increased from 73% to 75%, and effectiveness rose from 72% to 73%.

“While it is not clear why indicators declined for low-income but not upper-income consumers, the anemic first-quarter economy, with stagnant growth, may be related to these differences,” noted Stephen Brobeck, Consumer Federation of America Executive Director and a founder of American Saves. 

The PSI percentages for the past six trimesters are the following:                                                                

  Interest Effort Effectiveness
9-13 71% 62% 58%
1-14 65 58 56
5-14 71 63 58
9-14 71 62 60
1-15 70 61 59
5-15 63 58 55

The surveys are undertaken for America Saves by ORC International, which interviewed a sample of 1,015 adult Americans May 7-10 by cell-phone or landline.  The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior. Nonprofit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at americasaves.org and americasavesweek.org.