Financial Planning

If I save more money, will I kill our economy?

Pig Let me start with this: I love the CPA profession's financial literacy campaign.

I've said it before, and I believe it: If individual Americans were smarter about managing their finances, our country might not be feeling this much financial pain right now. Financial literacy is that important.

That said, I've heard more than one source lately raise an interesting theory.

We're being told that spending money will help revitalize the economy. That's why the government keeps sending us stimulus checks: They hope we'll spend the money and get things rolling again.

So does that mean saving money is bad for the economy? Could financial literacy actually prolong the recession?

I'm skeptical. Still, it's hard to ignore articles like this one from the Associated Press, which states bluntly, "What's good for individuals — spending less, saving more — is bad for the economy when everyone does it."

Then you've got this story from National Public Radio's David Kestenbaum, which compares the AICPA's "Feed the Pig" message — spend less, save more — with a national ad campaign in Finland that urges citizens to spend more ... and more ... and more, all in the name of economic recovery. Like "Feed the Pig," the Finnish campaign's mascot is a pig, but with red horns and a sinister snarl. This pig represents the economic downturn, and the campaign's tagline urges citizens: "Don't feed the recession."

Not all Finns like the ad campaign. "Planet Money" reports that nearly 4,500 people have joined a Facebook group to protest the spend-more message. That number is dwarfed, though, by the more than 22,000 Finns who have joined a Facebook group that supports the campaign.

Money still talks, apparently. I just happen to believe it speaks loudest when people are in control of it.

So recession be damned. Feed the pig, anyway!


Bill Sheridan