America’s Savings Challenge

Using policies, programs, and products to promote financial health


America’s Savings Challenge

Americans overwhelmingly prioritize financial stability over economic mobility. However, recent Pew research suggests that such security is elusive: Even the most well-off households find their finances strained when they experience a financial shock—expenses or lost income they do not anticipate, such as a major car or home repair or a loss of income.

In a series of three issue briefs, Pew examined the extent to which households are financially vulnerable. The research found that over the course of a year, 6 in 10 families experience financial shocks that can cause significant strain and that the typical household spent $2,000 on its most expensive shock, an amount that exceeds what many have in liquid savings. In fact, 80 percent of households had less in savings than they recommend for people like themselves.

An array of interventions—policies, programs, and products—may be necessary to get families on firm financial footing. Please join Pew’s financial security and mobility project for a discussion with leading thinkers on how to promote financial health for American households.


  • Leigh Phillips, chief executive officer, EARN
  • Tara Watson, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Jeanne Hogarth, vice president, Center for Financial Services Innovation


  • Clinton Key, research officer, financial security and mobility, The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts makes every effort to comply with federal, state, and local government ethics rules, including when hosting events. Please make sure that your participation is consistent with applicable ethics rules.

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Time: 3:30-6 p.m. EDT
Location: The Pew Charitable Trusts, 901 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20004
House with rainbow over it
House with rainbow over it

The Role of Emergency Savings in Family Financial Security

Quick View

In a series of three issue briefs to be released over the coming weeks, Pew shows the extent to which households are financially vulnerable when faced with a financial shock. The briefs provide insight into the financial risks that Americans face and the impact of shocks on family balance sheets; households’ level of preparation to address emergency needs; and the implications of families’ savings behavior for policymakers as they work to create solutions that support Americans’ financial security.