Recent indicators show that the personal-savings rate among Americans is very close to zero. Why? The obvious answer is incentives, or the lack of them. Given a choice of whether to put money into a savings account at a local bank for 1 percent or less interest, or put it into the next hot investment that dangles at 10 percent or more annual return, the answer is obvious. It's so obvious that ordinary Americans are sometimes willing to borrow money at low rates to put it into their favorite stock, mutual fund or real estate investment. What's wrong with this picture?

Steven E. Yorgason