Mar 17, 2009

What's so wrong with saving money?

I'm reading a Newsweek article entitled "Stop Saving Now!" It's overall message, if you couldn't guess from the title, is that in order from our economy to recover we - as a society - need to start taking more risks and throwing our fiscal caution to the wind.

This brings to mind a time when I received an allowance and I had a choice to save the money or spend it. My parents would advise to save it so I could buy something bigger than what I could with just a few dollars. At that point, there was no risk in not receiving more allowance, but nonetheless the general principle was that risk-free "saving is good."

It almost makes me ill to think that our entire economy revolves around - well - greed and bad decision making. Not that penny pinching is the way to go, but when an article compares our entire society to Las Vegas casinos (where gambling revenue is down -- in January, Nevada's casinos reported, gamblers lost 14.6 percent less money than they did in January 2008, notes the article), I start to get a bit queasy. Why should we be expected to live our lives with such high risk in order for our economy to work? Isn't there something wrong with that equation?

"It's tempting in this period of contraction to mimic Thoreau, to live simply and deliberately. But if we lose our penchant for gain and risk, we'll lose some of the essence of what makes us American."



2 comments:

Revanche said...

Agreed, I don't like this message at all. What's worse, there will be people who will take it to heart and continue the kind of "risk-taking" (aka careless) spending behaviors that fueled this situation to begin with.

dawn said...

I think people will begin spending when they're ready. They can't hoard $ indefinitely, because eventually, because consumer goods don't last forever. Eventuall, they WILL need a new car, a new washing machine, new clothes, etc.

But to ask people to sacrifice themselves, or their financial well being on an individual level so that the larger society can recover, is a message that i just ignore. I do what's best for me, and i advise others to do the same.

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