Are Americans Saving Enough?

The Economist's Allison Schrager notes that trend that might be of concern: Americans are saving less:

And the savings that Americans do have are mostly tied up in retirement savings (her data is from the Survey of Consumer Finance):

So savings are down overall, and funds set aside for short-term needs and rainy days are down even more.

That Americans are saving less isn't self-evidently problematic. But the fact that savings increased dramatically when bad times hit around 2007 suggests that in aggregate people didn't have enough saved up. Schrager goes into some of the possible policy-driven explanations for why Americans are undersaving. It's worth considering if there are ways to encourage precautionary saving -- or obstacles to doing so that could be removed.

Joseph Lawler is editor of RealClearPolicy. He can be reached by email or on twitter.

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