The most popular reasons Americans save their money

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This study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Chase reveals saving habits of Americans (Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash).

One in four Americans do not have enough money saved to cover more than two months of expenses, according to a recent poll.

And another one in four don’t actually have a dedicated saving account at all — but, despite this, 85% of those surveyed recognize that a consistent approach to savings is important in order to reach their savings goals.

While opening a savings account may be the first step, 80% of Americans say they would also benefit from deeper guidance on the steps to take toward making their savings efforts even more impactful.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Chase, showed 40% of adults would have difficulty covering an unexpected expense of just $400.

This echoes the findings of a recent study by the Federal Reserve, which found 40% of the country admits to having $400 or less in their savings accounts.

But 2020 could be a year for change, as the majority of respondents polled (80%) said they’d like to learn more about how to start saving, how much to put away and how often to move funds into a savings account.

According to the poll, the average American believes they should be putting away $357 every month, with one in five reporting that saving $500 or more every month is even more optimal.

But more than a set amount, experts say that the most important thing is to start saving.

“Saving seems much easier when you break it down into smaller increments, like $1 a day, and building and nurturing the habit can help you achieve your goals,” said Kavita Kamdar of Chase and part of the team that works on the bank’s Autosave feature, which allows customers to automatically transfer funds into their checking accounts.

Why are Americans saving? More than 60% of respondents polled say that they already have a specific goal in mind for their savings.

But it’s not usually for a lavish vacation, or a nice car — the most popular reason Americans save is in case they encounter some type of emergency, medical or otherwise.

The second most popular reason to save was to become financially independent, followed by the goal of having a foundation for kids’ college tuition.

Having savings can put minds at ease, too. Eighty-three percent said having adequate savings would or does give them the confidence to lead their best life.

“Saving and having access to emergency funds is one of the most important predictors of financial health,” continued Kamdar. “For most of us, when saving with a specific goal in mind, there is a reward or at least peace of mind once you have mastered the habit and work toward your goal.”


  1. In case of an emergency 49%
  2. For financial freedom 48%
  3. To pay for college for my kids 43%
  4. For retirement 41%
  5. To start a business 39%
  6. To travel 38%
  7. To buy a house 36%
  8. To pay for college for me 32%
  9. To buy a new car 31%
  10. To get out of debt 31%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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