Chart of the day: Savings Rate

The United States has gone from saving an average of 8-10% of income for decades to zero or negative savings today. If you look at this chart of 12-month rolling average monthly data, it looks like people actually saved more as inflation increased in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, the bottom fell out of savings into a precipitous decline.


Now, if you look at the annual data back to 1929, you first notice that huge forced savings during World War II, when the savings rate went up to 26.1% in 1944. Thereafter, the data mirror the first chart, showing that Americans saved between 7-11% every year from 1948-1992. After the effects of the recession of 1990-1991 receded, savings plummeted to end 2007 at 0.4%, the lowest rate since the Great Depression. Combine this chart of the day with my chart from Monday and you can see a 1990s-2000s trend of ever higher debt and ever lower savings.


As the mortgage ATM becomes history, this trend will certainly change and the savings rate will most certainly go back up.

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