A bright side of the recession: Piggy bank sales are rising

Frustrated with poor returns from the stock market, investors are increasingly turning to a conventional strategy that can promise security at 0 percent interest rates. I am talking about piggy banks.

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According to Reuters, sales of the novelty banks are rising as the economy continues to worsen. Exact figures are hard to come by but several retailers report rising demand. Piggy Bank World.com reported a strong holiday season, according to Michael Gehi, one of the owners. Companies are also increasingly using the banks for promotions.

Though my wife and I don't own a piggy bank, we have taken our loose change to Commerce Bank (now owned by TD Bank, which for years has counted people's spare change for free in a nifty computerized machine.
Unfortunately, all of the piggy banks and free change counting has not changed the fact that America is a nation of spenders and not savers. Way back in 2005, officials noted that the savings rate hit negative levels for the first time since the Great Depression. "Personal saving as a proportion of U.S. disposable income rose to 2.8% in November compared with zero back in April, but remain well below the 10% range it occupied back in the early 1980s," Reuters noted.

Thanks to the current economic crisis, people are saving even less because they are falling behind in the mortgages and credit card bills. For many, retirement is a dream. Investors have yanked about $110 billion from stock funds this year. None of this is a surprise.

Americans have worshiped at the church of conspicuous consumption for too long. Financial institutions, car makers and retailers enabled our addiction to stuff we did not need by convincing us that we deserved what we wanted when we wanted it. We became spoiled brats who were never told that we could not afford anything. The results were disastrous.

So if you see a piggy bank for sale, you might want to buy it, take it home and use it.

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