The Pulse

Half of Americans Experience a Financial Emergency Every Year, yet Most are Ill-Prepared

More than 1-in4 will come up short in an emergency

NEW YORK, Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly half of consumers have encountered an emergency expense in the past year, but when it comes to financially preparing for the unexpected many fall short, according to CIT Bank’s new Summer Savings Survey conducted by The Harris Poll1.

“More than one in four U.S. consumers do not save for unexpected events such as a home repair or health expense,” said Ravi Kumar, head of Internet Banking for CIT Bank. “Another quarter of consumers report saving less than 5% of their monthly household income for emergencies.”

“Family and credit cards top the list of resources Americans rely on for financial support instead of utilizing a savings account for emergencies,” Kumar continued. “CIT provides consumers the opportunity to make their savings work harder, while ensuring their money remains accessible in the event of an emergency.”

Many would sacrifice

Despite a lack of savings, approximately 8 in 10 consumers say they would sacrifice to save for an emergency expense, including forgoing dining out (56%), online subscriptions (47%), gym memberships (41%), vacations (41%) and ride-sharing services (36%), according to the CIT survey.

CIT also surveyed consumers on saving for vacations. Almost half of Americans say that saving for vacations is a low priority (43%) and another quarter (25%) say that vacation savings is not a priority at all. However, the vast majority (77%) spend on vacations each year with the majority spending up to $5,000.

Over one in four (29%) report taking extreme actions to pay for a vacation, including taking out a bank loan, going into debt, cleaning out a savings account, borrowing money or maxing out a credit card.

More than one in four U.S. consumers do not save for unexpected events such as a home repair or health expense

“CIT’s study shows that many Americans can do more to ensure their lifestyles and savings priorities are aligned,” said Kumar. “Our goal with this survey is to help individuals better prepare, both for happy occasions like vacations as well as for unexpected expenses.”

More information on CIT Bank’s 2018 Summer Savings Survey can be found here.




1 The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of CIT between February 6 to 23, 2018 among 1,100 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older. Data were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with the general U.S. population based on the following variables: education, gender, age, race/ ethnicity, household income, size of household, and employment status.
About CIT
Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with approximately $50 billion in assets as of June 30, 2018. Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A., (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender) has approximately $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets. CIT provides financing, leasing, and advisory services principally to middle-market companies and small businesses across a wide variety of industries. It also offers products and services to consumers through its Internet bank franchise and a network of retail branches in Southern California, operating as OneWest Bank, a division of CIT Bank, N.A. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook.