How Much Money is in the Average American’s Bank Account?

Frank De Raffele

News Anchor

“Just go to the money machine to get more.” says my daughter, when I tell her that I don’t have any cash to buy the soda she wants.

Then it hits me, she has NO CLUE where money comes from.  She believes the ATM machine is the money creator.  Whenever you need more, just go get some.  She has no realization that it is MY money I am taking out of there.

As adults we all come to the realization that the only money we have is that which we create through work.  As Americans we are pretty good at making money, very good at spending money, but not quite as good as saving money.

One of today’s top money gurus is Dave Ramsey.  With numerous books and a syndicated radio show to over 400 stations nationwide,  his word about finances is taken as gospel.  His advice is that he average family SHOULD have a 6 month emergency fund.  If you do not have this then your number one priority (besides paying current bills) is to start by focusing on building a 1 then 2 then 3 month emergency fund….just in case.

So, I thought to myself, How many families really have that?  (3 or 6 months worth)  I then thought, I wonder how much the average American family has in their savings and checking accounts?   What I found was a little scary.

Average Balances

The average savings account balance in the U.S. was $5,923 in 2011, according to a 2012 report by Pitney Bowes, a document-management services company. This represented an increase of just under 3 percent from the $5,753 balance in 2010. New Jersey residents saved the most, with average savings account balances of $7,872, while those in New Mexico had accounts averaging just $4,119, the lowest in the U.S.
Savings accounts aren’t the only way to sock money away for a rainy day. Pitney Bowes says the average checking account balance in 2011 was $3,100, up from $2,947 in 2010. As with savings accounts, checking account balances were also highest in New Jersey, with an average balance of $4,465. New Mexico residents maintained the lowest checking balances, averaging $2,206.

Savings Shortfall reported in 2012 that 28 percent of American families have no savings. Another 20 percent don’t have enough saved to cover even three months’ worth of living expenses, while just 43 percent have enough in savings to cover three months of expenses.
Americans’ savings problems don’t stop when it comes to retirement savings. The “Chicago Tribune” reports the average 401(k) balance hovers around $74,600, as of 2012, while the average account for those over age 50 is about $130,000. A December 2011 report by “USA Today” reveals that half of all U.S. retirees have less than $25,000 in savings of any kind.

Setting Goals

A 2012 report by “Time” magazine offers useful benchmarks to help you decide if you’re saving enough. The report suggests that by age 35, you should have a savings balance equal to your yearly salary. By 45, you should have saved three times your annual salary; by 55, your savings balance should equal five times your yearly pay. At retirement, your balance should equal about eight times your salary.

Emergency Fund

If you’re looking to boost your savings, start with an emergency fund. It should contain enough money to cover at least three to six months’ worth of expenses. Once you’ve set up this basic safety net, consider your short- and medium-term savings goals. These may include buying a car or taking a major vacation. Figure out how much you’ll need to save each month to meet these goals in the time you have available, then start socking money away in an easy-to-access fund such as your savings account.

When it comes to long-term savings and retirement, there’s no better strategy than to start young. The earlier you start saving, the more you get to reap the rewards of compound interest, which can significantly boost your savings over time. Take advantage of 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plans; funnel in at least enough money each year to get the employer-matching contribution.

How Do We Make this Happen? 

Over the next few months, we will have experts offering advice on how to really start to change the way you save.  There are a lot of little things we each can do to keep more money in our account at the end of every week and therefore at the end of every month.  Let’ s get solution oriented and we can start to resolve this problem for families in our areas.

Remember, when everyone is monetarily healthy then we are all monetarily healthy.  (Theoretically)

So altogether Americans save about $8000 annually


Average credit card debt – $7,000

Average Amount saved $8,000-$9,000


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