Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Americans: "Saving Is Hard"

Just when you thought you'd seen the last-ever survey on Americans and saving (yeah, right!), the kids at Wachovia and the Consumer Federation of America have thrown together a new one.

They rounded up 2000+ "representative" American adults and presented each one with a 50-plus-question survey, as well as a certificate for a complimentary 36-hole round of miniature golf if they promised to overstate their own financial prowess. (Okay, I'm just making up that last part. But check out the charts below. You'll wonder where some of those numbers came from, too.)

Some General Tidbits

I'm presenting a few interesting tidbits in the chart below; click to enlarge it:

Click to Enlarge Chart

Wow. You'll pardon me if I don't exactly believe that over half of us are truly saving enough for retirement.

And how exactly it is that 53 percent of those surveyed say they're saving adequately for retirement, yet 52 percent say they cannot save at all or are saving inadequately, is beyond me. Perhaps the latter 52 percent are talking about saving overall, and not just retirement saving?

Reasons Why We Don't Save

One thousand of the survey respondents were asked about various specific factors which might or might not contribute to their non-saving ways. Percentages below reflect how many respondents attributed at least some of their "saving slacking" to each factor.

Reasons They Don't Save

Yeah, well, can't say as I see any real surprises there.

The survey's press release can be found here:

CFA: Americans and Saving (PDF)


— Posted by Michael @ 9:44 AM


Self-reporting is a notoriously unreliable way to collect data. It's fine for an opinion poll, which is basically what this is.

As a survey it is complete crap--as the completely stupid results demonstrate.

Furthermore, the data is likely to vary significantly across demographic divisions (e.g., black, white, high/med/low income, West, East, etc...).

The only way to collect accurate data for this type of study is scientifically. Families that accurately utilize a financial recording tool (eg Quicken, Money, etc) would be a good place to start. These tools generate detailed, and categorized reports of spending patterns. The reports could be summarized across various demographics.

Finally, you could throw in the opinion bit by asking people in the various demographic groups whether they believe they are saving enough, where they spend too much, etc... Then opinion can be correlated with reality.


apparently 68% of Americans also believe in angels.

just because they believe it don't make it so.

do we live in a country full of stupid people?


No surprises here... really!!


- Steven Burda

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
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