For the most part, the reason Americans don't save is because we're spoiled brats who want everything now and to keep up with the Joneses, or Kardashians as the case may be. But it's not entirely the result of irresponsibility.
Bankrate.com's Mark Hamrick says not enough of us do the basics needed to save.
"I do believe that many individuals can save more money and it begins with making a budget; knowing where the money's coming in and where it's going out."
Hamrick says you need a savings account with direct deposit.
"This is where we put our emergency savings and rainy day funds so that when we have that $1,000 emergency expense we'll have greater confidence that we have a way to handle that."
"The Greatest Generation" delayed satisfaction and saved for the future. But Hamrick says in recent generations pay raises haven't kept up with health and housing costs.
"Even though inflation data tends to look fairly benign, there are quite far from benign impacts from the continued rise in prices of healthcare, education and housing, which includes rent."
Hamrick says 40% of Americans don't have enough saved to handle a $1,000 emergency. But he says they can fix that by budgeting and direct depositing part of their paychecks into a savings account.