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Sunday, May 26, 2024   

It's Your Money: Saving
by Tom Layson
Tom Layson has chased earthquakes, forest fires, dirty politicians, and fast-flying airplanes during 18 years in television news. At News 12, Tom produces a nightly personal financial feature called It's Your Money. He has hosted two of News 12 New Jersey's Town Meeting programs on education and personal finance. You can read more from Tom at his It's Your Money blog.
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Tom Layson

The national savings rate continues to be a bit of an embarrassment.

Right now, it's hovering right around zero--sometimes going negative, sometimes slightly positive depending on when you happen to catch the numbers.

A.G. Edwards did a survey recently that focused on savings, and they've developed a score that gives people credit for saving for their appreciating homes and increasing stock values--needless to say, I find that portion of the company's effort to be garbage.

Saving means you're putting NEW MONEY into the bank every month according to the guidelines in your financial plan. The fact that your investments grow is nice to be sure, but it sure-as-HECK doesn't count as "savings." no matter how badly you try to torture the meaning of the word.

With that said, A.G. Edwards numbers show DO some interesting things about what people see as their obstacles to saving:
1) 45-percent say day-to-day living expenses prevent them from saving--which means we can infer that the expenses are too high.
2) 48-percent say "too little income" is the problem--unfortunately, we know that's a problem no matter what the number is.
3) 28% say it's too much debt.
4) 24-percent blame the kids--personally, I blame the dog.
5) 21-percent say it's medical expenses. Now THAT is a horse of another color. Medical expenses are a huge drain on the economy and personal wealth, and spinning the make-or-break healthcare roulette wheel shouldn't have to be a way-of-life in this country.
Here are more results from the survey:
1) Yes, people are very worried about their financial future; 69-percent worry about having enough for retirement.
2) But get this: 58-percent say they've NEVER crunched the numbers, and have NO idea how much money they need to retire.
3) Among those 55-and-older, more than 40-percent have NO idea what they'll need to retire.
4) This tells me that people are worried, but have done NOTHING to confront the numbers--because they just don't want to know. That is a recipe for certain failure.
5) Saving stinks. Nobody wants to do it. The problem is that this changing world is going to severely punish those who don't set something aside. So, pick your poison.

And that's It's Your Money!



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