19 November 2010

Savings Article

When I first started this blog, I was also discovering other web features.  The one I've used most so far is Google Reader.  This is a cool (and free!) organizational tool that lets me collect, via RSS feeds, all the blogs and websites I read into one location.  I just sign into my Google account and voila, interesting updates tailored to me (and by me).  It's also the source of most of the articles that I feature here.

I read several interesting articles today, learning that I don't know squat about tea (yet!) and that Patrick Rothfuss' annual Worldbuilders fundraiser has restarted (great cause + cool swag = awesomeness).  My blog following is a little eclectic, but centered on a lot of the themes I use here: books, authors, tea, history, economics, and personal finance.

So it should come as no surprise that it was this Freakonomics article that captured my attention this morning.  It discusses an interesting idea about using incentives to encourage savings.  Using some quick Google research, the current savings rate in the US is anywhere from a negative number to about 4%, depending on what you count as "savings".  It always surprises me how little financial preparation many people have; the article's note about half of Americans not being able to access $2,000 in 30 days is pretty jarring.  Speaking from experience, our financial planning and savings have been fundamental to our success in the last year, in which I have been unable to find a job commensurate with my skills and education.  I can't imagine going through these months with no savings account, knowing that any unexpected financial burden would drive us further in debt.

The best aspect of articles like that one?  It reminds me that even when money is tight that we took the right steps.  It's good to keep it all in perspective.  What finance statistics and factoids surprise you?


  1. I am not surprised that many have no savings. Until the last few years people have been living paycheck to paycheck. I know people who lease cars and trade them in every few years--so they have constant car payments.

    Another thing that I believe is correlated to having no savings is the recent survey that 40% of Americans believe that marriage is OBSOLETE! YIKES! This means that there are more single unmarried persons/parents than ever before (and more that will likely not remarry). In today's society that dual income is necessary for savings, but many are going it alone and at low paying jobs.

  2. 40%?!? Whoa, that's a lot! I think people forget that marriage isn't just about falling in love, it's also a financial, legal, and social arrangement. Not that marriage is for everyone, but there are benefits beyond the emotional.

    Dual income definitely helps things. Get Rich Slowly has pointed out some surveys which show that people are happiest with their financial situation when they're covered for all the basic expenses plus a little extra. The number they cite is around $75k per family, which is very tough to achieve for a single income earner.