Born to Spend

Will Americans' conversion to thrift stick? My gut tells me no.

We'd all like to think that the Great Recession has taught us a lesson about the dangers of overspending. In the spirit of saving money, a couple of new terms have entered the popular lexicon: deleveraging (a fancy word for paying off debt) and the new frugality. More than two-thirds of those interviewed for our exclusive Thrivent Financial/Kiplinger Survey of Family Finances said they had become more frugal over the past year.

So now that Americans seem to have become disciples of thrift, I'm often asked whether I think the conversion will stick. My gut tells me no.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.