A new study by Bankrate.com finds that many Americans aren’t saving enough.
Forty-nine percent of residents don’t have enough emergency savings to cover three months of expenses, and 28 percent have no savings at all. Both those percentages are up from last year, according to Bankrate.com.
Most financial experts recommend a six-month savings cushion, but only 25 percent of Americans have saved that much, also according to the recent survey.
Chattanooga resident Rob Bettis said he and his wife have always been in the natural habit of saving.
"We always try and save with a purpose," he said. "Being able to put a 'name' on that savings goal makes it much more likely that we will achieve it. Automatic transfer is a fantastic way to set it up. That way, you aren't required to make that conscious decision each month."
For Bettis and his wife, saving is "an emotional thing."
There are logical reasons to save, but knowing extra money is there helps Bettis sleep at night, he said.
And Bettis has experienced at least 10 situations in the past year in which he utilized his financial cushion.
"It is a fantastic feeling to be able to deal with those instances with cash, instead of having to rely on debt to deal with them," he said. "It offers you so many more choices."
He loves personal finance and said that Dave Ramsey says that having a savings cushion can turn an "emergency into an inconvenience."
He also mentioned Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."
Bettis said Kiyosaki talks about "paying yourself first."
"I think that's key with savings," Bettis said. "It's an essential step toward taking control of your finances. If you wait until the end of the month to save, you'll likely be shortchanging yourself."
In 2006, a similar poll found that 61 percent of Americans didn’t have enough savings to cover three months of expenses.
“While we've seen some improvement since then, the bottom line is that much more progress is needed," Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com, said in a prepared statement. "Having sufficient emergency savings is critical to avoiding high-cost credit card debt when unexpected expenses arise."
CNNMoney also reported that 43 percent of Americans go without cash for a week.
And, according to Money Magazine, savings help increase a person’s net worth.