Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What is the True US Savings Rate?

So, the U.S. savings rate is near a low point. What’s causing this? Isn’t net-worth rising? Yes it is. Doesn’t that mean savings should also be rising? Not at all. Ask yourself this question: If someone wins the Super Lotto, how much is he going to save out of his next paycheck? The answer is not very much.

This leads to an important question: What constitutes true net savings? Is it the actual savings (an income statement) or the change in net worth (a balance-sheet item)? When one thinks about it, both will result in a higher net worth. If you take the sum of private savings and the change in net worth as a percent of GDP as the approximation of the true savings rate, by my account, that rate is on the order of 10 to 15 percent today — within the historical range.
Interesting point. I agree that asset growth is just like savings and should be seen as such. I am not quite sure how he is estimating his 10-15% a year though. And I am not convinced that we shouldn't worry about the huge trade deficits and low savings rate.

via National Review

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.