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People with high debt less likely to save

Mar 30, 2011 Todd Milner

Consumers that carry high credit card and short term loan debts are more likely to struggle with savings, according to a recent survey from Experian and America Saves. More than half of the people surveyed who take home a paycheck said they have difficulty saving a portion of their earnings. More than two-thirds of moderate-income households - those making between $25,000 and $50,000 annually - reported this challenge. Maxine Sweet, Experian’s vice president of consumer education, said in a statement that a combination of good credit and strong savings habits was "essential" for financial health and well-being. "Cleaning up and paying off debts can make a positive impact on credit scores, and when a consumer is able to save, unexpected life events won’t force them into a financial crisis," she said. The survey also found that 16 percent of Americans carry a payday, car title or pawnshop loan. Organizations across the country are working to encourage more consumers to open traditional savings accounts and leave the ranks of the unbanked. In cities such as Memphis, Tennessee, and Fresno, California, the Bank On program is working to enroll thousands of unbanked residents. Some neighborhoods in St. Louis county don't even have a bank branch, The St. Louis American reports.