All of us are consumers but not all of us are active savers. An active saver can be defined as follows:
- You have the habit of saving money since very young
- You were taught the value of money by your parents
- You diligently save some money each and every month
- You read about financial news, for example from the web
A survey released in 2009 by HSBC Direct indicates that 22 percent of online Americans are active savers. The rest are categorized as everyone else. According to Kevin Martin, the executive vice president of personal financial services at HSBC, anyone can learn to be an active saver. It is easy if you learn early but with proper discipline, you can begin anytime.
In another survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling reported the following about Americans:
- 1 in 3 adults have no savings
- For those aged between 18 and 34 years old, about 50 percent have no savings at all
- 1 in 3 American adults do not save part of their income for retirement
- 57 percent do not keep a budget
Survey on Malaysians
It would be interesting to know how we Malaysians would fair in a similar survey like the one above. Well, in a 2008 survey done by Citi’s Financial Quotient (Fin-Q) comprising of 500 online interviews on 40 set questions, the results were less than favorable.
- Only 2 in 5 Malaysians put aside money as savings
- Only about 28% Malaysians have a monthly budget
- 1 in 5 has savings that would last only 4 weeks in the event of a job loss
- The average savings Malaysians have in reserve is about 11 weeks
It all boils down to how financially literate you are. Most Americans rate themselves low where 2 in 5 choose to rate themselves a C, D or F when it comes to personal finance. How would you rate yourself?
Personally, I would give myself a “B” in financial literacy as I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about personal finance but enough to achieve financial security at this point. I also choose to be an active saver which is something that is absolutely necessary if I want to achieve all my financial goals. Do you choose to be categorized as an active saver or not?