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Most Americans Are One Missed Paycheck Away From Poverty

A majority of us would be too broke to deal if a $500 emergency came up.

Saving money is tough. Especially for millennials, many of whom are dealing with tons of student loan debt. But new research suggests that a majority of Americans -- not just young ones -- aren't saving money at all, and don't even have enough money set aside to deal with one unexpected $500 bill -- the kind you might get if, say, you got really sick and had to be hospitalized, your cat needed emergency heart surgery or your car broke down.

According to a recent survey by Bankrate and the Princeton Survey Research Associates International, approximately 63% of Americans have no savings for dealing with emergencies. Those same respondents said that in the event of an unexpected emergency, they'd handle it by either reducing spending on other things (like canceling cable, eating out less, and buying less coffee out), borrowing money from family or friends or using credit cards.

This also puts people in a really precarious position, since emergency spending is often unavoidable. According to Bankrate, four in 10 Americans either experienced a major unexpected expense in the last year, or had an immediate family member who did.

The good news? The responses of the millennials surveyed indicated that we're doing better at saving money than we were in 2014, though the trends for older generations stayed mostly the same.

According to Bankrate, "In 2014, many more young people said they would have to reduce their spending to pay for an emergency. In this year's survey, millennials were most likely to say they would use savings. More also indicated they would use a credit card, while fewer said they would need to reduce spending to meet an unexpected expense."