We're the wealthiest country in the world, and yet we spend all we make -- and more!
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4 percent in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5 percent savings rate in 1933 during the Great Depression.So what's the problem? Why are Americans unable to save? In the '30's, the savings rate was negative because the unemployment rate was 25% and people needed to afford food. Now, the unemployment rate is very low, and we're spending all we make, then buying iPods and Wiis on credit.
With the obvious peer pressure to live above our means, what're we to do? Josh & I have decided to live below our means on purpose. We stick to a budget. When we go house shopping, we look at houses below our means- and definitely well below the average house price around these parts. And, honestly, I'm happier to have it this way. There's a freedom in saying No to things. Saying Yes to them doesn't bring freedom, in my experience, but instead weighs me down- not only do I have the burden of paying for the things I say Yes to, I have to store them, keep them in working order, or consume them. Living below my means with my needs met is really freeing.
This is my prayer:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.