If you came out of 2005 with more savings (or less debt) than you began with at the beginning of the year, give yourself a huge pat on the back. You were one of the few. The Commerce Department reported today that consumer rose more than double the rise in incomes which left the 2005 savings rate at the lowest level since the Great Depression: negative 0.5% This is the first time the savings rate has been in negative territory outside of the Great Depression
While there are a lot of experts putting on the spin that the reason people spent more than they had in disposable income was due to “soaring housing prices which made them feel wealthier,” I’m not buying it. I think it is an attitude change where people don’t believe that they have to save anymore. A perfect example is the huge increase in no down payment mortgages for homes.
When I was talking to some friends the other day about saving for a down payment, they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language (and I swear I wasn’t speaking Japanese at the time). There attitude was, “why save for a down payment when there is no need to?” Their basic logic was that they can get a loan for no money down so they must be making enough money to afford it – an extremely dangerous assumption.
I’m wondering what type of spin the experts will put on if the savings rate is still in negative territory and the housing market isn’t growing as much as it has been – my prediction for 2006. For all of you taking the time to visit the personal finance site and get your finances in order, give yourself a huge pat on the back. You’re obviously in the minority at the moment…