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Millennials Less Prepared for Emergency Expenses Compared to Older Americans – HomeServe 5th Biannual State of the Home Survey

  • Nearly 2 in 5 Americans (38 percent) don’t have the necessary funds set aside to cover a $500 emergency expense, including almost half of Millennials (49 percent)
  • 1 in 2 Americans (50 percent) describe the current state of their household finances as only fair, poor or even terrible
  • Necessities (43 percent), eating out (28 percent) and home-related expenses (26 percent) are the top areas Americans cite spending more than they’d like

Norwalk, CT – Compared to older Americans, Millennials (Americans aged 18-36) appear less prepared to cover the costs of unexpected emergency expenses. Nearly half of Millennials (49 percent) report having insufficient or no funds set aside to cover the costs of a $500 unexpected emergency expense, while roughly one third of older adults (ages 37+) (34 percent) said the same. In fact, approximately 3 in 10 Americans ages 37+ (28 percent) cited having no money set aside to cover the cost of an unexpected emergency – compared to over a third of Millennials (34 percent) who reported having zero dollars in emergency funds. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 36 percent of older Americans said they had $8,000 or more set aside for emergency expenses. Millennials were less than half as likely to have that much money set aside, with just 15 percent reporting they had $8,000 or more in emergency funds. 

These findings are part of the Summer 2017 edition of the HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Survey – now in its fifth edition – presented by HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home repair solutions. The twice annual survey reports on the state of Americans’ readiness for emergency home repairs and other ongoing expenses. This 5th edition of the survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from August 17-21, 2017, among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Compared to the Winter 2017 edition of the survey, the percentage of Americans with no money set aside for unexpected emergency expenses has increased – up 10 percentage points to 29 percent compared to 19 percent in Winter 2017. The percentage of Americans with $8,000 or more was up a nominal 4 percentage points compared to the Winter 2017 survey data (30 percent vs. 26 percent). Additionally, the survey found that married Americans were nearly twice as likely as unmarried Americans to have $8,000 or more set aside for emergency expenses (39 percent vs. 20 percent). Furthermore, homeowners were over twice as likely as renters to have $8,000+ set aside (37 percent vs. 18 percent).

Americans on State of Financial Health & Spending
Beyond emergency savings, the Summer 2017 edition of HomeServe’s survey explored how Americans grade the present state of their household finances. On a scale of excellent to terrible, nearly 2 in 5 Americans (37 percent) described the current state of their household finances as good, while 35 percent described it as fair. Sixteen percent described the current state of their household finances as poor or terrible, while 13 percent reported it as excellent. Among Millennials in particular, the findings skewed slightly more negative across the board, with the majority citing the state of their household finances as fair (39 percent), while 34 percent described it as good and 9 percent described it as excellent. Nearly 1 in 5 Millennials (19 percent) described the state of their household finances as terrible or poor.

The survey also investigated the areas where Americans found themselves spending more money than they’d like. Americans overall reported, as expected, spending on necessities, such as food, utilities, and phone bills, ranked first (43 percent), followed by eating out (28 percent) and home-related expenses (26 percent) such as maintenance, home renovation and repairs. Medical expenses (24 percent) came in as the fourth-most common area Americans found themselves spending more than they’d like.

Like older Americans, Millennials cite spending on necessities (48 percent) as the top area they find themselves spending more than they’d like, but the second- and third-ranked areas reflected remarkable differences. Millennials cited eating out (44 percent) as a fairly close second to necessities, with non-essential items (31 percent) such as apparel and electronics being the third most popular category. Compared to older Americans, Millennials were three times as likely to cite social/recreational activities as an area where they were spending more than they’d like (7 percent for older Americans vs. 22 percent for Millennials).

Being Prepared for Emergency Home Repairs
Home-related expenses being cited as one of the major areas Americans find themselves spending more money than they’d like comes as no surprise, particularly given the consistent gap between expectations and reality among Americans when it comes to emergency home repairs. In the Summer 2016 edition of the survey, three-quarters of Americans (75 percent) felt it was not very or not at all likely that they might experience a major home repair emergency in the subsequent 12 months. But a year later, the Summer 2017 survey found nearly half of Americans (46 percent) experienced a home repair emergency in the past 12 months.

Awareness of the frequency and cost of home repair emergencies is punctuated by a significant portion of Americans continuing to have no funds set aside to cover the cost of an unexpected repair event. The Summer 2017 survey found that 28 percent of American homeowners had no money set aside to cover the cost of an emergency home repair, much higher than what was reported in the Winter 2017 edition (16 percent) and up from the 23 percent reported a year ago in the Summer 2016 edition. Furthermore, among those who have some money set aside, the percentage of homeowners with $1,000 or less saved fell to 30 percent – a significant drop from the 52 percent reported by the Summer 2015 edition of the survey two years prior. On the other end – among homeowners with money set aside for emergency home repairs – 53 percent said they had $5,000 or more in funds set aside, an increase from the 48 percent reported in the Winter 2017 survey.  

“Across our previous surveys and with this latest edition, there is one finding that has remained consistent: a significant portion of Americans are not prepared for emergency expenses. The Summer 2017 edition highlights the vulnerability of Millennials in particular,” said Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA. “This is why our focus continues to be on doing our part to protect Americans from the unexpected financial burden and inconvenience of home emergencies. Whether it’s a younger generation of first time homeowners or the generations that came before them, our mission and commitment to assisting homeowners through their emergency repair needs remain the same.”   

Survey Methodology
The HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Summer 2017 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from August 17-21, 2017 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older among whom 606 are Millennials ages 18-36.  The Winter 2017 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from March 6-8, 2017 among 2,178 adults ages 18 and older. The Summer 2016 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from August 3-4, 2016 among 2,027 adults ages 18 and older. The Summer 2015 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from July 17-21, 2015 among 2,024 adults ages 18 and older. These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact press@homeserveusa.com.

About Harris Poll
Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. Contact us for more information.

About HomeServe
HomeServe USA Corp. (HomeServe) is a leading provider of home repair solutions serving 3.1 million customers across the US and Canada under the HomeServe, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) and Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) names. Since 2003, HomeServe has been protecting homeowners against the expense and inconvenience of water, sewer, electrical, HVAC and other home repair emergencies by providing affordable repair coverage and quality local service. As an A+ rated Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, HomeServe is dedicated to being a customer-focused company supplying best-in-class repair plans and other services to consumers directly and through over 475 leading municipal, utility and association partners. For more information about HomeServe, a 2017 Connecticut Top Workplace winner and recipient of seventeen 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, please go to www.homeserveusa.com. For information on SLWA visit www.slwofa.com and for SLWC visit www.slwofc.ca. To connect with HomeServe on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.twitter.com/homeserveusa and www.facebook.com/HomeServeUSA.

  

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