|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
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
||45-percent say day-to-day
living expenses prevent them from saving--which means we can infer that
the expenses are too high.
||48-percent say "too little
income" is the problem--unfortunately, we know that's a problem no
matter what the number is.
||28% say it's too much debt.
||24-percent blame the
kids--personally, I blame the dog.
||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:
||Yes, people are very worried about their
financial future; 69-percent worry about having enough for retirement.
||But get this: 58-percent say they've NEVER
crunched the numbers, and have NO idea how much money they need to retire.
||Among those 55-and-older, more than 40-percent
have NO idea what they'll need to retire.
||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.
||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!