Believe it or not, your sex determines what and how much you save.

Though they don’t like to talk about it, women are better savers than men, especially when it comes  to saving for an emergency fund.

But men are better at saving for retirement, according to a new survey by America Saves, a non-profit that encourages low- and middle-income people to save money, pay down debt, and build personal wealth. Since 2007, the group has sponsored “America Saves Week,” designed to bring awareness to the importance of saving and to encourage Americans to sign a pledge promising to save a portion of their income each month.

The good news is that overall, men and women are saving more than they used to.

“Our survey findings are consistent with both continued economic recovery and the persistence of inequality,” said Stephen Brobeck, a founder of America Saves, in a statement. “Americans are saving a little more effectively today than a year ago, but only a minority are doing so very successfully.”

The number of Americans who self-report saving at least 5 percent of their income grew from 47 percent to 52 percent this past year, and there were also small increases reported in those who were reducing consumer debt and saving for emergencies.

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Planning ahead equals saving success

It’s been proven that income is not a good indicator of financial wellness, and that holds true for saving, as well. America Saves found that there was only a 12 percent difference in savings rates between moderate and high income groups. For instance, 75 percent of those earning between $25,000 and $50,000 annually report spending less than their income and saving the difference, while 87 percent of those who earn $100,000 or more said the same.

America Saves also asked savers if having a plan in place impacted how well they were able to save for their financial goals. Overwhelmingly, those who had a plan in place reported having a much higher rate of actually saving.

What are you working toward? Plan No Plan
Saving portion of income 90% 50%
Saving for emergency fund 82% 48%
Saving for retirement 65% 31%

“Those with a savings plan tend to be more careful spending money, less willing to borrow unwisely, and more likely to save conscientiously,” said Dallas Salisbury, founding director of the American Savings Education Council.

How real people are saving

The survey asked people for concrete examples of techniques they were using to save. Some got creative with their living situations, like renting out rooms of their house, or staying with family members. One mother said she routinely goes through a “financial diet” with her family, where they pledge to not spend any money aside from paying their bills.

“Going through a no-spending fast forces me to get creative and enjoy the free things in life,” she said.

Others said that automating their finances, like directing a portion of their paycheck into a savings account automatically, helped them save money without having to think about it.

Take the Saver’s Pledge yourself

Want to challenge yourself to a year’s worth of saving habits? Sign up here and take the Saver’s Pledge. You’ll be prompted to set a goal and make a savings plan, including what you are planning for and how much you plan to save per month. Then you can sign up for text message and email alerts that encourage you to save with tips and advice.

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Article last modified on April 19, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .