But coming from an Asian culture and having lived in Asia I do know that Australians are pretty bad at saving. In fact the average personal savings have gone into deficit (negative) now. I read somewhere that for China, the personal savings rate is around 30%. It does seem that 'poorer' countries are better at saving.. but...
Also, the cost of living in France seems to be higher than Australia when you consider that most things cost the same (except in Euros vs Aust. dollars) but the average salary in France is around €20.000 and the average salary in Australia is around $50,000 per annum... *
I did a bit of searching around and found this swivel.com spreadsheet.
It features the countries:
According to the chart, Australia, New Zealand and Greece are the worst, and are all in a deficit. Canada, Finland, Japan and Korea are also looking pretty bad, falling drastically.
Unlike most other countries, Norway's savings rate has increased.
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland have all remained fairly stable over the years, and are around the 10-12% mark.
I'm thinking this must definitely be a cultural thing because.. is it a coincidence that all those countries are in the same geographical area?
2003 savings rates (%)
Czech Republic 2.4
New Zealand -
United Kingdom 0.7
United States 2.4
2003 International savings comparisons
Sources: Gross savings rates from OECD and ADB; household saving rates from OECD and sundry national statistics agencies; consumption and CA balances from IMF.
2007 OECD international personal savings rates
5 things about money in France.
Anyway, I think it's a really interesting topic! It seems that all the anglo countries don't fair so well in this area, nor does Greece (or Canada or Japan or Korea). I'm not sure what the story is there?
I was not a business major and admittedly I don't know a lot about world/economic affairs. Maybe someone can enlighten me?
* "By the way – before anyone brings up currency conversions, one who has lived overseas knows that conversion does not apply when talking about residents who earn the currency they spend — only to people who earn in one and spend another currency, which is quite rare."