Katie O'Brien
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Majority of Americans Have More Credit Card Debt than Savings

Image Credit: Flickr

Between mortgages, utility bills, car payments and other expenses, credit cards like American Express (NYSE: AXP), Visa (NYSE: V) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA) can seem like an alternative to get what you need, and get it fast. 

However, credit card debt can be crushing. For almost one-quarter of Americans, credit card debt outweighs the amount of savings they have set aside, according to a recent report by Bankrate. This statistic primarily includes adults ages 30 to 64.

“People don’t have enough money for unplanned expenses, and if they have more credit card debt than emergency savings, it’s a double whammy,” Bankrate Chief financial analyst Greg McBride said. “In the event of unplanned expense their options are limited.”

According to the report, 58 percent of Americans admitted to saving more than the amount of debt they owe to credit companies, up seven percent from last year. However, the pay rate since 2011 has not increased much, allowing Americans to save, but not much more than before.

Some analysts suppose this is an after affect of the most recent economic recession.

The lack of financial safety net is concerning with more than half of Americans likely to experience an emergency within a year, Bankrate reported. For example, if a loved one needs costly medical care or a member of the family loses their job, a financial cushion is crucial.

“It’s difficult for people to really move the needle on savings when their income hasn’t grown,” McBride said, according to Bankrate.

Financial experts recommend having about three to five months worth of expenses saved. That may seem easier said than done, however, simple saving strategies can be put into place in order to achieve financial goals.

Saving at the beginning of the month may be one solution to reaching a long-term savings goal, CBS reported. Further, automatically transferring a certain amount into a savings account with each paycheck can add up, without even realize the money has gone.