Being chic and not saving

February 23, 2012

Japanese people are generally regarded as saving a lot and not spending much, but in olden times when Tokyo was called Edo (until the mid-19th century), it was considered iki (chic or sophisticated) not to keep one’s earnings overnight.

The latest survey from the Central Council for Financial Services Information (part of the Bank of Japan) may suggest that people are going back to that tradition — although perhaps not for style reasons.

The survey, only available in Japanese so far, showed more than one in four households (consisting of at least two people) said they have no savings, the highest level since the survey started in 1963.

The average level of savings was 11.5 mln yen ($143,232), down 190,000 yen from last year.

More than 40 percent of the respondents said their savings fell from a year ago, double those who said their savings increased.

As Goldman Sachs predicted last year, it may be a matter of time before Japan’s savings rate goes negative.

Click on the following for more.

Japan slowly wakes up to doomsday debt risk
Japan logs record trade deficit in January
IMF paper on “Precautionary savings and global imbalances in world general equilibrium”

 

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