The overall economy is improving; the unemployment rate is down, the stock market is up and the housing market is on the upswing. Unfortunately, the state of family economics isn’t as healthy. New survey data from Bankrate.com reveals that only 24 percent of American families have six months of emergency savings and this figure has remained relatively unchanged for the past three years.

Financial Security Index Bankrate.com

While a six-month emergency fund is a great way to prevent financial disaster in the event of a job loss, having even a small emergency fund can help put a buffer between you and a financial meltdown. Unfortunately, 27 percent of the 1,004 adults surveyed have no emergency fund whatsoever. If the water pump goes out on the car, what are these consumers to do? Pay for the repair with a credit card, go without a vehicle or even worse, seek out a high-interest short-term loan, which puts their overall financial situation on even shakier ground.

Survey data revealed an even more pressing concern – the ever-widening income gap in the United States. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of surveyed consumers that make more than $75,000 per year had a three month emergency savings fund while only 35 percent of families that earn less than $75,000 had a three month savings cushion.

Other highlights from the June 2013 Financial Security Index include:

  • 43 percent of survey participants aged 18 to 29 consider their jobs more secure today but only 18 percent of those 30 and older feel the same
  • 34 percent of participants earning less than $30,000 annually feel they are more job secure than one year ago
  • Older individuals are more uncomfortable with smaller savings; 40 percent of those older than 50 are less comfortable with their savings compared to 20 percent of 18 to 29 year olds
  • People in the West are more comfortable with their debt; 37 percent compared to 27 percent of the rest of the population
Do you have an emergency fund? If so, do you have three months of savings? Six months? More?

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.