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November Savings Index: 2 in 3 Americans Didn’t Save Any Money in November

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Two-thirds of Americans weren’t able to add any money to their savings in November, according to the latest edition of MagnifyMoney’s monthly survey of more than 1,000 consumers.

In total, 34% of consumers increased their savings in November, a 19% decrease from two months ago and a 26% decrease from November 2019. The 34% figure is also the lowest since April, when some states hit their initial COVID-19 peaks.

Read on for more details about consumer savings habits and how they’ve changed over the past 14 months.

Key findings

  • 34% of consumers increased their savings in November 2020, a 26% decrease compared with the same time last year.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans — 23% — said they don’t have any money saved. This is the highest percentage in the 14-month history of our savings index.
  • Men continue to save at higher rates than women. 42% of men saved money in November, while only 27% of women did the same. Women were also nearly three times as likely to report not having any savings (33% versus 12%).
  • College graduates added money to their savings at nearly double the rate of those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree. 48% of those with four-year college degrees increased their savings in November, compared with 26% of consumers with some college education and 25% without a college education.

26% year-over-year drop is evidence of pandemic’s lasting impact

In November 2019, MagnifyMoney researchers found that 46% of consumers stashed money in their savings that month. In just one year, that number dropped by 26% as just over a third of Americans put money aside in November 2020.

And the number of Americans who said they don’t have any money saved hit its highest level — 23% — in the 14-month history of our savings index.

As consumers across the country grapple with pandemic-induced financial hits — pay cuts, mounting debt and difficulty paying bills — having money set aside for emergencies is more important than ever. Yet at the same time, many consumers are struggling to simply make ends meet, making saving even more of a challenge.

If you’re facing COVID-19-related financial troubles, check out MagnifyMoney’s list of banks and credit unions offering relief.

What consumers are saving for

For consumers who do have the financial means to save, most are working on building up funds for general savings needs and emergencies. Beyond that, the top three items Americans are saving for are holidays, new houses and vacations.

There can be room for improvement in American consumers’ savings habits, especially given the pandemic’s economic impacts are far from over.

Every dollar you add to your savings makes a difference. Even saving just $5 a week adds up over time, especially if you’re able to open a high-yield savings account offering a competitive interest rate or if you can take advantage of special savings bonus offers.

Methodology

Every month, MagnifyMoney surveys consumers to find out whether they added money to their savings — and what they’re saving for. The results comprise our monthly savings index, which began in October 2019.

For the November 2020 edition, MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,052 American consumers, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded on Nov. 19-24, 2020.