Jeff Horwich: A report today from Bankrate.com says almost half of Americans don’t have enough emergency savings to last three months. One problem: they are saving too much for retirement.
Here’s Marketpalce’s Sally Herships.
Sally Herships: It’s not that we’re bad savers, it’s just that we’re really good spenders. That’s one reason we don’t have more money stashed away in our emergency accounts.
Xavier Gabaix: So if you have lots of cash lying around, it’s too tempting to consume it.
Xavier Gabaix teaches finance at NYU. He says consumers also underestimate the likelihood of bad events. Which brings up a question worthy of King Solomon: Should we save for emergencies or retirement?
Tom Balcom: The first priority should be the emergency fund.
Tom Balcom is a financial planner in Boca Raton, Fla. He says we need to have six to 12 months of cash on hand — just in case. But can’t we always raid our retirement funds?
Nevin Adams: The good news is that you can. The bad news is that you probably don’t want to.
Nevin Adams is director of the American Savings Education Council. He says cashing in early could mean handing over a third of your savings in taxes and penalties. Instead, Bankrate.com says the answer is: Save more for emergencies and retirement.
In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.