Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The State of Consumption

I don’t imagine this is news to many people, but it seems we haven’t learned anything. MSN Money reported on a study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling that says :

“Nearly a third of Americans are without savings of any kind outside retirement plans.
A full one-third had not saved anything in the past year for retirement either.
One in four had paid at least one bill late in the past year.
28% of those with a mortgage said they were unaware of the terms.
Of those spending less, about 45% said they saw their newfound thrift as temporary and planned to recapture their old lifestyles once the economy improved.”

So 45% of us aren’t even pretending to think that maybe we got ourselves into this mess and should change our behavior.

We thought this would be a wake up call. But really, I think we just made bargain-hunting the national past time. A new Home Goods store opened near me and I couldn’t even get a parking spot on a Tuesday afternoon. At the Whole Foods two stores away.

I did it myself a couple of weeks ago. I walked into a TJ Maxx needing a last-minute Easter gift for my niece. I was in that shopping center and knew they had a toy section. I walked out with a lovely toy and a Michael Kors tote bag.

It was 55% off! And I needed a new bag for summer!

I guess for me, because I have 30+ years until retirement, the Dow Jones average means less to my spending habits than the fact that I have a job. Maybe that is how everyone else sees it, too.

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