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Are Americans spenders or savers?

We’re good savers — but with room for improvement.

Feel like you’re struggling to save? Take heart: Finder’s analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals Americans might be better savers than they think.

The United States ranks 15th out of 34 OECD countries for the percentage of disposable income saved, ahead of countries like Japan, the United Kingdom and Poland, but behind Estonia, Mexico and Sweden. When ranking countries based on the total dollar amount saved, the United States jumps to seventh place, leapfrogging countries with higher savings rates but lower average disposable incomes like Mexico, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands.

Top 15 highest saving OECD countries

Complete list of all OECD countries and rankings

Ranked by % of disposable income savedCountryPercent (%) of disposable income savedDollar ($) amount of disposable income saved
1 Sweden $18 $6,194.06
2 Germany $16 $6,843.54
3 Switzerland $16 $6,813.58
4 Luxembourg $16 $7,544.77
5 Norway $16 $6,478.32
6 Mexico $15 $2,553.45
7 Canada $14 $5,193.24
8 Italy $10 $3,321.07
9 Australia $10 $4,227
10 Netherlands $10 $3,714
11 Chile $10 $1,667
12 Estonia $10 $2,387
13 France $9 $3,360
14 Austria $8 $3,233
15 United States $8 $4,234
16 Czech Republic $8 $2,135
17 Hungary $8 $1,679
18 Ireland $8 $2,340
19 South Korea $7 $1,895
20 Belgium $6 $2,345
21 Slovenia $6 $1,652
22 Denmark $6 $2,108
23 Finland $6 $2,031
24 Slovakia $5 $1,158
25 Costa Rica $5 $744
26 Japan $4 $1,282
27 Portugal $4 $1,139
28 Spain $2 $574
29 Poland $1 $347
30 United Kingdom $1 $261
31 Lithuania $1 $174
32 New Zealand $0 -$124
33 Latvia -$3 -$660
34 Greece -$12 -$2,590

Are Americans saving enough money?

American households are forecast to save 8.5% of their disposable income in 2021. Using the average disposable income of $53,202, that equates to $4,522 a year. While that figure might not sound like a lot when compared with the $7,545 Luxembourgers are set to save, it adds up. If you put the monthly savings difference, $252 a month, into a savings account with an annual interest rate of 2.0% (play around with our calculator below to see how much you could save), over 15 years you could save $52,819 — more than $7,400 of it pure interest.

However considering America has the highest disposable income of OECD countries included, you’d expect the savings rate to be higher. Sweden — the country with the best savers — has an average disposable income of $35,164, which is $18,039 less than America. Yet, they have a much higher forecasted savings rate of 17.61%. The Germans and the Swiss come in a close second and third, both with savings rates over 16%, and Luxembourgers came fourth, with a rate of over 15%. If Americans put away the same percentage as the Swedes they’d be putting away an extra $5,137 for a total of $9,371, or if they matched the Germans, an extra $4,399 for a total of $8,633.

CountrySavings rateAnnual savings*How much more Americans would be saving
Sweden 17.61% $9,371 $5,137.00
Germany 16.23% $8,633 $4,399.00
Switzerland 16.17% $8,600 $4,366.00
Luxembourg 15.99% $8,508 $4,274.00
Norway 15.52% $8,256 $4,022.00

*Based on the average American household’s disposable income

Trying to boost your savings?

Thanks to the power of compound interest, the earlier you start saving, the better. But the best news? No matter your age, it’s never too late to put money away for your future.

Here are Finder’s top tips to save more:

  1. Find the best interest rate you’re eligible for. Above, we saw that by putting away $252 a month, we could save more than $53,000 over 15 years at an interest rate of 2.0%. At an interest rate of 1.5%, you’d end up with more than $2,000 less. It pays to have the strongest rate, so shop around and compare your savings options.
  2. Save more of your disposable income. Another way to supercharge that nest egg is to save more of your disposable income. If you’re able to boost your annual savings to $5,000 — an extra $39.80 a month — you’d have more than $87,000 in the bank, assuming a 2.0% interest rate compounded monthly over 15 years. Learning to think critically about the money you’re spending can help you say no to discretionary purchases — and put those extra savings straight into your bank account.
  3. Increase your disposable income. It might be easier said than done, but maybe it’s time to go for that promotion or pick up a side hustle. Try gigs like driving for Lyft or renting your spare bedroom to see what works for you. Also look to reduce your expenses: Changing banks, transferring credit cards or switching insurance providers might sound like a hassle, but if you compare your options, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars every year with just a few minutes of work.

If you’re not in a position to save more (or you just don’t want to right now), don’t beat yourself up. You’re likely saving more than the Greeks. Greece takes the cake for worst savers. In fact, they don’t save at all, achieving a negative savings rate of 11.55% of their disposable income. The same is true for residents of Latvia and New Zealand, who all spend more money than they save. Ouch!

Past household savings by country findings

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