One of the infinite ways in which you can divide up the world into two types of people is savings behavior. People are either diligent savers or they aren't; likely, you know where you fit in without being told.
But other than the habit of savings, how are savers and spenders different from one another? Recently, I saw some research from HSBC Direct which sheds some light on the subject. In a survey of 1,000 people--two-thirds of whom had household incomes of at least $100,000--the bank found a few interesting differences between the 22% of the population that the bank designates as "active savers" and the not-so-active rest of us. (Click on each of the charts below to see larger-sized versions with more information; in all of them, the red bar signifies active savers while the blue one represents not-so-active ones.)
- Active savers start early. Seventy-three percent of them say that their parents taught them the value of saving money, compared to 56% of the so-so savers.
Non-savers had a greater likelihood of being "scared straight" into saving by a bankruptcy or significant debt.
- Active savers are less hedonistic. Maybe that's obvious. But I wanted to point out that active savers are more likely than sluggish
savers to put money away for retirement and a general sense of security, while they're much less likely to sock away funds for a vacation.
- Active savers know their limits. When asked what would improve their current financial situation, they're less likely than their counterparts to say they they could reduce their expenses.
Hey, they've already reduced them, and they know it.
- Active savers are happier with their current financial situation. Now, are they happy because they're savers, or are they savers because they're happy?
I don't know. But if you're not an active saver, why not join the club and see if it improves your mood?