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Fidelity Research: Emergency Savings Ranked the No. 1 Savings Goal After Retirement

Release Date: 12 Oct 2023
Fall 2023 Emergency Savings Press Release Graphic
  • Half of Fidelity Participants Say Lack of Emergency Savings is Causing Them to Be Distracted at Work
  • More Than 15,000 Employers Working with Fidelity to Help Employees Achieve Short-Term Savings
  • The Secret to Preparing? Start with a Goal
BOSTON, October 12, 2023 How urgent is the emergency savings crisis in America? According to recent research by Fidelity Investments®, a lack of emergency savings has become a major source of stress for Americans, with 8-in-10 Fidelity participants saying inflation and the cost-of-living are causing them stress, and half saying it is causing them to be distracted at work.[i] Small wonder, then, that emergency savings ranks as the number one savings goal among participants after retirement.[ii] While Americans have struggled to maintain emergency savings for years, economic and world events like inflation, market volatility, and the pandemic have exacerbated the issue. Today, the majority of U.S. adults (57%) say they are currently unable to afford a $1,000 emergency expense.

To help ease the burden so many employees are under, many employers are adding workplace emergency savings programs to their growing roster of financial wellness benefits. And with good reason, as research reveals that financial wellness results in a variety of improvements to employee well-being.

“Today’s economy has left many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, and the thought of setting aside money for the unexpected can feel daunting,” says Kevin Barry, president of Fidelity Workplace Investing. “The good news is many employers are stepping up to support the financial wellness of their workforce with emergency savings benefits. This growing focus, coupled with recent legislation enabling employer involvement, is driving forward-thinking employers to help employees better prepare for those rainy days.”

As a leader in the workplace benefits, financial wellness, and retirement spaces, Fidelity is proud to work with some of the world’s top employers to offer emergency savings solutions for employees, many of whom are offering unique incentives to encourage participation. Some examples include:

  • Whole Foods Market, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a leading natural and organic foods retailer with more than 500 stores. The company is launching an emergency savings program in January 2024 to help its team members save for an unexpected expense. Team members will be able to set up an automatic deduction from their paycheck each pay period and access the funds when they need them most.
  • Starbucks, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is one of the premier roasters and retailers of specialty coffee in the world. In September 2022, the company launched My Starbucks Savings as a way to help eligible partners save for the unexpected. Through the program, partners can contribute a portion of after-tax pay on a recurring basis directly from their paycheck to a personal savings account. As an incentive, Starbucks contributes $25 and $50 credits at certain milestones, up to a total of $250.

“We are continually looking for new and innovative benefit offerings for our team members,” says Brian O’Connell, senior vice president of Team Member Services for Whole Foods Market. “We are excited to add Fidelity’s savings program to our suite of financial wellness benefits, creating an easy way for team members to save for unexpected expenses – one paycheck at a time.”

Fidelity Goal BoosterSM is a savings and investing experience designed to help people save for important short-term goals, including emergency savings. The tool not only helps users set up and manage saving for their goal – such as how much to target and how much to save per month – but also includes an option for employers to integrate payroll, allowing employees to deposit money directly from their paycheck into their goal-based account. Once a payroll election is enabled, employers can choose to contribute directly into their employees’ emergency savings accounts, either as a one-time award or over time to help motivate ongoing behavior. For more information on how to start building up your emergency savings, Fidelity offers a number of resources, including Viewpoints articles such as “Emergency fund: What it is and why you should have one” and “Why everyone needs an emergency fund.”

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity’s mission is to strengthen the financial well-being of our customers and deliver better outcomes for the clients and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $11.7 trillion, including discretionary assets of $4.5 trillion as of June 30, 2023, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers. Privately held for over 75 years, Fidelity employs over 70,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

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Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Views expressed are of the date indicated, based on the information available at that time, and may change based on market or other conditions. Fidelity does not assume any duty to update any of the information.

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[i] Fidelity Financial Wellness Checkup of more than 247,000 participants from June 1 – November 30, 2022.

[ii] Fidelity's Financial Wellness Checkup of 392,000 active workplace participants from January 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023.

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