Savings plays a central role in conversations about American household finance. Surveys suggest that few American households save enough for retirement, nor are Americans adequately prepared for emergencies. However, the details of saving are fuzzy. How long does money have to be set aside before it is spent to count as savings? A month? A year?

In this brief, The US Financial Diaries researchers focus on when households plan to spend their savings—or what they call “savings horizons.” Download and read more on how households think about and use savings and how they use the variety of financial tools available to them.

USFD is a joint initiative of NYU Wagner’s Financial Access Initiative (FAI) and The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). Leadership support for USFD is provided by the Ford Foundation and the Citi Foundation, with additional support and guidance from the Omidyar Network.