The joy of saving - MoneySense

The joy of saving

An interesting survey crossed my desk the other day contrasting the current mood of savers to the rest of the population.

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Savers are those people who are religious about putting a portion of their paycheque into a retirement or savings account. Savers are surprisingly upbeat these days. The recession has barely fazed them.

According to the survey, which was done in the U.S. for HSBC bank, most savers haven’t chopped their spending. They eat out just as often now as when the Dow hit 14,000. As for holding back on large purchases, forget it. If they need a new car, or a new fridge, or TV set, they buy it. Less than a third think cutting back spending would improve their financial situation.

The truth is that people who regularly set aside money have little reason to panic. First, they have gotten used to living on less already. (Most bank 10% or more of each paycheque.) Second, with all that money saved, they’re able to deal with a host of emergencies, everything from a leaky roof to losing their job better than most.

The interesting thing about savers is they’re not saving for anything in particular. You can’t say the same about non-savers. For instance, 30% of non-savers set aside money for their vacation. Only 18% of savers do that. In other words, savers save because it’s a good idea. Non-savers do it to blow the money later.

You’d think this recession has taught us all to become savers. Unfortunately, that may be asking too much. As the HSBC study found, the majority of people polled (85%) are now trying to save more and spend less. But almost three-quarters of them have no qualms returning to their spendthrift ways once the economy improves.

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