New National Pastime of Saving


Retail Banking

by Tim Cook

Perhaps a compounding-interest-rate CD with your deposit slip, sir?

Believe it or not, more Americans than ever before say they prefer saving than spending, according to a recent Gallup poll. Some appear almost giddy about saving.

“Americans are considerably more likely than they were in the easy-credit years preceding 2008 to perceive saving money as more enjoyable than spending it,” Gallup says.

In fact, the rise of amateur penny pinchers over libertine spendthrifts is at an all-time high, to a substantial majority of about 65 percent of all Americans who would rather sort their spare-change jar than hit the casino on a Saturday night, Gallup reports. Moreover, accumulating is preferred among all age groups, with 66 percent of those age 18 to 29 saying they enjoy saving more than spending at, say, a groovy nightclub.

Saving has continued to steadily rise since the recession and hasn’t fallen out of favor, says Gallup, which measured Americans’ preference for saving rather than actual saving.

However, actions appear, to some degree, to be backing up the new attitudes. Saving rates by Americans that had dropped from the double-digit levels of the 1960s and 1970s down to a paltry 1.9 percent in July 2005 are consistently close to or above 5 percent. That’s an impressive change reflected in the lingering shade of the Great Recession.

“Even as Americans have seen their own finances improving, they have continued to value saving over spending,” Gallup offers.

Could long-trusted community banks capitalize on the trend in loving saving? Stodgy but steady old-fashioned savings accounts—perhaps with a modern-day technology twist featuring automatic sweeps of extra pennies, nickels and dimes into those accounts from rounding up balances of debit-card purchases—just might be a hit again, even with customers younger than 75.

Tim Cook