What it means when 21% of Americans aren’t saving any money at all

A new survey from Bankrate, which interviewed 1,003 respondents via telephone, found that about one-fifth of working Americans–21%–aren’t saving any money at all. Among those who do manage to put some money away, a majority are putting away less than 10% of their income. Only one in six workers (16%) report saving more than 15% of their yearly earnings.

That means an alarmingly high number of Americans are operating with no safety net for emergencies, sudden job loss, or because we don’t have healthcare, medical emergencies. It also means that many people have no money saved for their retirement–and even mentioning that reality probably stressed out at least three of the 12 people reading this.

While older households (age 55 and above) are more likely than other age groups to be saving more than 10% of their annual income, that seems obvious as retirement and hours of golfing in Boca are in their very near future. Millennials and gen-Xers, though, are more likely to say they’re not saving any money at all, or that they’re not saving more than 10% of their income. That’s no surprise: Who can save for retirement when you’re trying to pay back student loans, pay rent, buy groceries, and just live on stagnating wages, even if you have a “decent job”?

Plus there’s the whole thing about climate change causing irreversible damage in about 12 years, which may make saving for retirement seem less like a huge priority. (There’s also the slight chance that the survey is skewed, because what self-respecting millennial answers the phone to take a survey?)

If you recognize yourself here, there is still hope. Here are some tips to bounce back from money troubles.

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