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Americans unprepared for emergencies

May 22, 2012 Philip Burgess

There are many unforeseen expenses that can affect a person's financial situation, including accidents, layoffs, medical issues and environmental disasters. Those who have a healthy savings account can often deal with emergencies, but the majority of citizens would have to look for alternative sources of finance, including short term lending firms. The 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report published last week found that Americans are optimistic about potential health issues, with 62 percent saying that it's not likely a family member will be diagnosed with a serious malady and 55 percent believing they will not face a medical problem personally. The findings, however, indicated that many are not saving for medical expenses and may find themselves in debt if something arises. Fifty-eight percent of working Americans have no plan to handle an unexpected expense, and 8 percent believe their family would be adequately prepared to financially cope with an emergency. Fifty-one percent of those polled have less than $1,000 in savings that could be put towards an unforeseen issue. Bankrate.com suggested that it is emergencies that are a large contributor to the major credit debt situation. "People are often out of work now for as long as nine months, and if they don't have savings, they live on credit," often resulting in the involvement of debt collection agencies, National Foundation for Credit Counseling's Gail Cunningham told the source.