The savings effectiveness gap is growing between the poorest and wealthiest Americans

The interest, effort, and effectiveness of Americans to save money declined in the last year, according to new research from America Saves. And while savings effort and effectiveness are at a three-year low across the board, the declines were most concentrated among low- and moderate-income Americans.  

The most recent America Saves Personal Savings Index measured American’s savings interest at 65 percent, savings effort at 55 percent, and savings effectiveness at 53 percent. It’s been measured three times a year since September 2013.

The Personal Savings Index naturally climbs and falls throughout the year as people save, splurge over the holidays, and then recover from their financial hangovers. So, while savings indicators from September are down slightly since May of this year, they are remarkably lower than previous Septembers, and a growing savings gap among the poorest and wealthiest Americans is to blame.

Overall, savings effectiveness fell 10 percentage points, savings effort fell 10 percentage points, and savings effectiveness fell 9 percentage points from September 2015 to September 2016.

Declines to the personal savings index were much steeper for low- and moderate-income Americans. For those earning below $25,000, savings effectiveness declined from 55 percent to 39 percent. And for those with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000, savings effectiveness declined from 63 percent to 48 percent.

Meanwhile, for Americans earning $100,000 and above, savings effectiveness is unchanged from a year ago, and is at the highest level of any September surveyed. As a result, the savings effectiveness gap between the poorest and wealthiest Americans doubled from 16 percentage points in September 2015 to 32 percentage points in September 2016. 

America Saves motivates, encourages, and supports low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Two of our largest efforts to encourage low-to moderate-income households to save money are our over 60 local campaigns and the America Saves for Young Workers initiative, which works with summer youth employment programs to motivate young first-time summer workers from low-income households to set up direct deposit to save a portion of their pay.

Last year our local campaigns introduced the pledge to 17,600 individuals and launched two new campaigns – Point Loma University Saves in California and Prince William Saves in Virginia. In the summer of 2016, America Saves for Young Workers motivated 8,059 young workers to pledge to save a total of $4,377,364.

Learn more about the Personal Savings Index and its savings indicators here.


The savings effectiveness gap is growing between the poorest and wealthiest Americans >> http://bit.ly/2eWxFHj v/ research from @AmericaSaves
Tweet this now

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 7, 2014

    Second saving strategy: Save for emergencies http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Budget like Nohemi

Written by Guest Blogger | April 19, 2019

Nohemi found out about America Saves a few years ago as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She remembers attending a University of Illinois Saves event where she decorated a piggy bank and took the Pledge, but college life made her put the thought of saving at the back of her mind. Those thrifty thoughts resurfaced when she graduated with a degree in public health.

Read more...

Saving for a Bright Future

Written by Guest Blogger | April 15, 2019

Kristin Hendricks, a single mother from Texas, understands the importance of saving money and following a tight budget. She decided to make saving money a priority when she gave birth to her son.

Read more...

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

Written by Great Lakes Michigan Saves | April 19, 2016

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up