What's ironic is that to fix this problem, those people are going to have to stick to what they're best at: spending. Or so says The New York Times:
Enough already with the saving that many of you have suddenly begun doing. This very moment, Congress and President Obama are preparing to send you a tax rebate, to inspire you to stimulate the economy. So go out and stimulate. Spend as if the future of your country depended on it.Come again? The idea is that now of all times is not the time to save. It may be okay for you as an individual, but it is ruinous for our collective economy. If there ever was a time to spend, then that time is now.
Essentially, this phenomenon is called the "paradox of thrift," created by 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes, and suggests that when a person does what they believe is "rational" (i.e., saving money) during hard times, it could be ruinous for an entire economy. Eventually, many of the savers may end up out of work because everyone else is saving, too.
Although spending is highly condoned, there's a fine line between blowing your entire paycheck at DSW and spending some of it on fancy footwear. The key is to know how to spend money now to save money later — a phenomenon that could lift the economy today and help individuals cope with their battered finances in the long run, says the NYT, who (like moi) thinks people do not do a good job of planning for the future.
[People] eat just one more doughnut and put off exercising until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. They fail to set aside enough for retirement. Again and again, they choose a bird in the hand — be it dessert, convenience or a little extra cash — over three or four in the bush. Most people could save themselves a good bit of money by giving proper respect to their future self. They could spend a little now and save a lot later.[New York Times]