The economic news has been good lately, so Americans are spending more and saving less.
Americans consider deferral of gratification unnatural, which it is. Time was, however, thrift was considered a virtue. People sat at kitchen tables, calculating how to bring their outlays, for living and retiring, into alignment with their incomes. But eventually many people decided: This is no fun. Instead, let’s disconnect enjoyable spending decisions from tiresome facts about resources, thereby living the way the federal government does.
—George Will, The good economic news is actually bad. Here’s why.
The part about people sitting at their kitchen tables calculating how to bring their outlays into alignment with their incomes only partially applies to Andy and me. When we were first married Andy’s father was on the board of a credit union and he showed us an article entitled 10% of all you earn is yours to keep! We loved it.
We were savers at heart and had just spent all of our savings traveling around Europe (Andy had a job in France for 13 months) and coming back the long way for two months. We were ready to settle down and start saving again. We were perfectly happy living a simple life, so not spending much wasn’t a sacrifice for us.
We’re a bit appalled at the overspending by both our local and federal governments, but they didn’t ask us. The Washington Post article, The U.S. government is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion this year, an 84 percent jump from last year reminds me of the fellow who jumped off the Empire State Building. As he passed the 8th floor someone asked, “How are you doing?” He answered, “It’s going great so far!”
It may get messy, but no sense worrying about things we can’t control.