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Americans Spend Less Now Than in ’73

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By Walter Hamilton

Still, it’s clear that Americans aren’t socking away the extra money for the future.

“In short,” the report says, “spending — and saving — among American consumers is changing, and not necessarily for the better.”

The U.S. saving rate is a fraction of what it used to be: 4.6 percent today versus 13 percent four decades ago, according to the report.

“Where are we putting the extra money? Not into retirement accounts, stocks or bonds, clearly,” the report says. “The 1973 households surveyed are still more or less in decent financial standing today; we’ll see how it works out for those of 2012.”

The analysis provides an interesting snapshot of American spending habits.

In 1973, according to ConvergEx, the average American had post-tax income of $9,700. Annual spending was $8,270, or 85 percent of income.

Income has risen to about $63,000 today, but per-person expenditures average only 81.2 percent.

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