Planet Money
11:50 am
Tue June 12, 2012

How Much Should You Save For A Rainy Day?

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 10:09 am

The most important reason Americans save money: To have something salted away for a rainy day.

When researchers asked people the most important reason they save money, building an emergency fund finished slightly ahead of retirement and way ahead of everything else.

This raises a second question: How much do you need in a rainy day fund?

Lucky for us, the researchers asked this question as well. Not surprisingly, people with higher incomes said they needed a bigger emergency fund.

But up and down the income spectrum, people said a rainy day fund should be between 9 percent and 14 percent of their annual income.

In other words, most people think they need a bit more than a month's worth of income saved up for a rainy day.

The findings come from a report the Federal Reserve released yesterday. For more on the report, see our post from yesterday looking at the decline in wealth for American households.

Planet Money Question of the Day: How much do you think you should have saved for a rainy day? (Also: How much do you actually have in your rainy-day fund?)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.