Are you actually able to save any money these days?
While the U.S. household savings rate averaged nearly 10% in the 1970s and 1980s, it was handily eclipsed by the amounts Canadians were able to put aside for the future. In fact, we were saving close to twice that, way back when.
Frugal Canadians, profligate Americans? Maybe, but not any more.
Over the last 12 years, we've been catching up. So much so, that there's no longer much of a difference between the two countries at all.
Over the past decade, most North Americans essentially stopped saving altogether, as the average savings rate has hovered between 3 and 4% in recent years.
But those are the big picture numbers. What's actually been happening in your house? Are you able to put any money aside these days?
If you don't make enough to cover basic expenses like food and shelter, then saving obviously isn't an option. And, if you find yourself out of a job, then you have no income from which to save.
But barring such extremes, most people don't lack the ability to save. It's the will or discipline that's missing, says Suze Orman, author of The Money Class.
She thinks that people need to start getting the same amount of pleasure from saving as they do from spending. If they could do that, "their whole life would turn around," she says.
If you can, do you enjoy saving for the future? Or, with interest rates so low, is the leverage available simply too tempting?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money