A new Gallup poll finds that 62% of Americans prefer saving their money compared to 34% who enjoy spending, a percentage gap that is one of the widest since the poll began in 2001.
The Economy and Personal Finance poll was conducted from April 3-6. The results also indicated that Americans preferences on spending or saving are typically not connected to their thoughts about the economy or the degree of their own financial troubles.
Based on household income, those earning less than $20,000 a year (73%) prefer saving over spending (21%). Sixty-three percent of those in the highest income bracket (earning $75,000 or more per year) prefer saving compared to 36% who enjoy spending money.
The poll results note that while there is growth in the number of Americans who enjoy saving their money, personal consumption has increased in recent years.
Economists would typically view increases in personal consumption as a positive sign of an improving economy, Gallup notes. But if the increases in spending are occurring out of necessity, not desire, and Americans take on more debt or deplete their savings, the picture may not be quite as rosy.
Citing data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Gallup reports that the average personal savings rate in 2013 was 4.5%, the lowest mark since 2007.
Stagnant wage growth and the overall sluggish recovery from the Great Recession perhaps have contributed to decreasing personal savings, Gallup notes. While Gallup data indicate a stronger preference to save than spend, in reality Americans seem to be having difficulty putting together a safety net.