UNDATED - What if your financial situation suddenly changed? Would you have the resources to stay afloat through tough times?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says probably not. They recently published their findings on the spending and saving habits of Americans.

The study found less than half of Americans have emergency savings, sometimes called "rainy day funds" to offset job loss, economic downturn or another emergencies. Only 42% said they are planning for retirement or know what they'll need. Also, only 41% of respondents with children report setting aside money for college.

The information is timely - April is National Financial Literacy month, and the Better Business Bureau has some startling statistics on how financially unprepared many families are. They suggest:

  • Taking the time to figure out and start paying down your debt.
  • Calculating how much you'll need in order to retire.
  • Budgeting wisely in advance of sending your children to college.

And, make sure you steer clear of any sort of  "get rich quick" schemes - most are aimed at those trying to save and invest, but they can easily undo that good work.