A recent survey by online banking business HSBC Direct reports that people who are longtime active savers are enduring this economic downtown virtually unscathed.

Nearly half, or 46%, said they remain comfortable with their financial situation and have not had to cut back on spending, eating out or making large purchases. By contrast, 37% of non-active or periodic savers said they had to scale back on living expenses.

The old adage of saving for a "rainy day" is still good wisdom. But how many people are really willing to save? According to the survey, 85% were wiling to save more and spend less in order to get through the recession but more than 76% indicated they would return to old ways once the economy improves.

The survey also showed that most active savers started at a young age with the "saving" value taught early by their parents. Makes me wonder how many parents are teaching the value of saving in this age of "affuensa."

Most of the parents I run into indulge their kids with a lot of stuff that they don't have to earn. This instant gratification becomes a life-long habit where saving is not on the radar.

Each week, I take my 7-year-old to dance class at a local studio. There is a large display of stuffed animals, purses, jewelry, crowns and other sparkling junk right outside the classroom. And each week she stops with her other classmates to look at this bounty and request that I buy her something.

Though it costs very little, $5 or less, I always say "no." Instead I tell her that if she wants something she has to earn the money. To date, she has not really wanted something bad enough to do that.

I call that "teaching how the world really works." In the real world you can't have everything you want and to get fiscally healthy you have to save money. It's a lesson that kids have to learn.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.


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