(NBC News) - If your rainy day fund is light, you have plenty of company. According to a newly released report from Bankrate, 24% of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings, and 13% are not much better off—they don't have credit card debt but they don't have emergency savings either. Put another way, more than a third of Americans are living at risk of a financial crisis.
Generation X is the group shortest on emergency savings, Bankrate found, largely because they are in an expensive stage of life. Some 32% of respondents aged 30 to 49 had more credit card debt than emergency savings. Millennials are in relatively better shape, with just 21% of respondents between 18 and 29 having more credit card debt than emergency savings. Perhaps that is because they have not hit the high-spending years and perhaps, as McBride said, "You are looking at a generation that had a front row seat for the financial crisis, so they have a greater tendency to save ingrained in them."
Retirees were the most prepared for emergencies, with just 14% saying their credit card debt was bigger than their emergency savings. Bankrate's figures released Monday do show some improvement from a year earlier. Only 58% of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt, Bankrate found, but a year ago that figure was 51%. Respondents in the new survey also feel better about their finances than the respondents a year earlier.