MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A new study from BMO Harris Bank shows that 28 percent of Wisconsin parents with kids under ten do not have any savings to tap for emergencies.
The polling firm of Pollara conducted an online survey of 1,500 parents in the bank's territory. The 150 Wisconsin families surveyed had an average of $8,400 saved for emergencies -- less than the survey's total average of $9,700.
Medical costs were a real concern. Wisconsin parents said they spent an average of $1,900 in out of pocket costs during their child's first year.
In general, the study found that parents were caught off guard by lots of child-related costs like bigger cars and higher utility bills.
However, Kara Kaiser -- who heads the southeast Wisconsin division of BMO Harris Bank -- sees evidence that things are improving. She said families appear to be saving more than a few years ago -- and having an emergency fund is an important step to avoid going into debt.
Kaiser said parents should have 3 to 6 months of pre-tax income saved for emergencies, in an account that's separate from the savings and checking accounts they normally use.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)