Neglecting our nest eggs

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If unrivaled prosperity is the hallmark of the 1990s, you can't tell by Americans' savings accounts.

Past economic expansions have been times to squirrel away savings for a rainy day. But as the decade winds down, many Americans are unprepared for job losses, says a nationwide survey by Lutheran Brotherhood.

More than half of those surveyed said they have too little savings to weather a three-month job loss. A quarter said they would fall behind on their bills immediately.

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Almost one-fifth of Americans earning more than $50,000 a year have no savings, and an equal number don't know how much they have saved.

Of the 48 percent of those who said they do save, here's what they put money away for:

*Emergencies, 60 percent

*Major purchases, 45 percent

*Small purchases, 35 percent

*College, 29 percent

*Nothing in particular, 15 percent

Men and women are equally unlikely to save, the survey says, but women's total savings amount to a little less than half of men's.

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