America has a saving problem. Our national saving rate in 2009 was negative 1.7 percent. Last year it was 0.1 percent. This year it’s running at 0.6 percent. You have to go back to the early 1930s to find saving rates this low. In the fifties and sixties Americans saved roughly 14 percent of national income. It’s been a generally downhill from there ever since.
According to a 2009 TNS Global Survey, when Americans were asked whether they could come up with $2,000 in 30 days, half of the respondents in a representative sample of the U.S. population said, “no.” This means that half the population does not appear to have the means to deal with a small financial shock, such as an important car or home repair, to say nothing of a large shock, such as job loss.
Owning less means buying less means saving more.