Americans Spend More on Stuff They Don’t Need – but nobody has money for health care or retirement savings or …

Who knew? Cynical judgementalists like me, that’s who‼️

I could have sworn there was more here not so long ago
I could have sworn there was more here not so long ago
If you were raised by parents who came of age during the Great Depression, if you saw ration books for sugar and coffee your parents had saved from WWII, if you saw your parents live entirely on Social Security and if you spent a working career helping people with all sorts of financial and security issues, you may think differently about money and security and spending than younger generations.

You may be more frugal than normal people, you may be patient in obtaining a strictly luxury item, you may be obsessed with savings and future financial security, you may never buy anything on credit in favor of doing without, you may pick up every penny you find on the sidewalk.

And, you may be highly judgemental of the people who think nothing like you do. Who is right, who is wrong⁉️ Who knows⁉️

Every individual has the right to live their life as they see fit, to define happiness, to buy what they want to buy, to worry about the future or not. But do they have the right to transfer the consequences of their life decisions to society as a whole?  

At what point do individual choice and freedom intersect with individual responsibility?

Any effort to separate wants from needs involves subjectivity. One person’s luxury may be another’s necessity. That said, some categories of spending tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis — such as jewelry and restaurants — consist primarily of stuff that pretty much anyone, if pressed, could do without. Such goods and services make up almost a fifth of personal consumption, or an annualized $2.3 trillion in the three months through September.

For most of the past six decades, this nonessential consumption played a secondary role in economic expansions, with spending on more important items such as groceries and shelter taking the lead. In the new millennium, though, the roles have switched. Since the current recovery began in mid-2009, spending on stuff people don’t need has grown at an average annualized rate of 3.3 percent (adjusted for inflation), compared with 2 percent for other stuff. Here’s how that looks:

Source: Americans Spend More on Stuff They Don’t Need – Bloomberg View


  1. Why should Americans spend money on things they need? The government will proved food, shelter, medical, and phones. Somehow people believe social security is retirement savings since they paid into it.

    But maybe the swap to things other than food and shelter is a good thing. Americans are too fat and maybe we should buy less junk food. Paying for a 3,000 sqft McMansion instead of planning for retirement might be a good thing.

    Of course you and I both know that is not how American are spending their money, not as long as Madison Ave can sell you something your really need, I mean want.


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