Tuesday, October 20, 2009

America's Desire To Save Money Getting Stronger

As Americans continue to reduce their consumer debt by billions of dollars and with personal savings rates rising to the highest levels since 1998, Tom Dyson says that cash may be the best investment opportunity in the U.S. right now. By the end of 2010, it is estimated that Americans will have paid off approximately 13% of their outstanding credit card debt. See the following article from Daily Wealth for more on this.

"We've never seen this aggressive paying down of debt before," said a banker in the Financial Times last week. "Once you slap households in the face... it sticks."

Each month, the Federal Reserve calculates and reports the total amount of consumer credit outstanding in America. This is the money Americans have borrowed to pay for cars, vacations, education, and refrigerator-freezers at Wal-Mart.

When this number rises, it means credit is easy and Americans are in consumption mode. They're buying SUVs, houses, flat-screen TVs, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances. And they're borrowing money to make these purchases – often using credit cards – so they're not worried about finances.

When this number falls, Americans are in thrift mode. They prefer saving money and paying off debt to shopping at the mall and going on vacation.

Despite the improvement in the economy and the bounce in the stock market, the American desire to save money seems to be getting stronger...

In the last year, American consumers have reduced their outstanding debt by more than $100 billion, according to the Federal Reserve's data.

In July, Americans reduced their consumer debt by $21 billion... the sixth monthly decline in a row and the largest monthly drop in borrowing ever recorded.

The report for August came out earlier this month. It showed American consumers paid back another $12 billion of their outstanding credit, the seventh monthly decline in a row. At this rate, Americans will have paid off 13% of their outstanding credit-card balances by this time next year.

Not only are Americans paying off debt, but they're saving more money...

Each month, the St. Louis Fed publishes America's savings rate. This is the percentage of disposable income Americans choose not to spend.

In 2005, the personal savings rate fell to less than 1%. This year, it has averaged 4.1%. The last time it averaged more than 4% for the year was in 1998.

Here's the thing: While demand for cash in America soars, investors have been dumping it from their portfolios as if it were venom...

This year, cash has fallen...

60% in terms of Russian stocks
55% in terms of lead
53% in terms of coal
50% in terms of copper
40% in terms of Internet stocks
33% in terms of sugar
17% in terms of gold
16% in terms of the S&P
13% in terms of cotton

The terrible sentiment and Americans' new attitude toward saving make cash the most contrarian investment opportunity in America right now.

In tomorrow's essay, I'll show you one of my favorite ways to invest in cash...

This post has been republished from Daily Wealth, an investment analysis site.

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