Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Does tithing mean LDS Church members save less? (Many Americans Opt Not to Think Of the Rainy Day)
Salt Lake Tribune 29Oct99 N6
By Lesley Mitchell: Salt Lake Tribune
A Consumer Federation of America survey of 1,010 Americans shows low
savings rates, especially in Utah, where, according to financial
planners, low savings rates can be blamed on tithing. The survey of
Americans age l8 and older was taken from July 22-25, shows that a
quarter of Americans believe their best chance to retire comfortably
is to win the lottery.
Jennifer Danielle and her husband, who are in their 30's and have four
children, both work. "We have not put anything away at all," said
Jennifer. They agreed they think about retirement. "But between the two
of us working, it's all we can do to pay the bills."
The survey showed that many families save little, if anything at all.
The study also estimates that half of American households have
accumulated less than $1,000 in net financial assets. Assets were
determined by subtracting a family's installment debt from their savings
and investments. This figure did not include home equity or mortgages.
It did however include individual retirement accounts but not 40l (K)
David Hatton, Salt Lake City Financial Planner said, "I wouldn't
dispute that $1,000 figure for a minute. It's a crying shame." He
claims that most people underestimate what a $50 per weeks savings over
40 years would yield at 9 percent. Most guessed it was closer to
$200,000 when in actuality it is over $1 million dollars.
"If Americans understood that their chances of winning a big lottery
jackpot were l0 to 20 million to one but that they could accumulate
hundreds of thousands of dollars through regular saving, more families
would put the $50 away rather than spending it on gambling or unneeded
consumption," said Joesph Plumeri, chairman of Primerica who
co-sponsored the study.
Not surprisingly, one-fifth of respondents with the lowest incomes had
the fewest financial assets. The youngest, poorest and the
least-educated were also less likely than other demographic groups to
save. High consumer debt figured prominently into the picture.
Most people overestimate the wealth of others and underestimate their
ability to accumulate wealth. The study suggested Utahns may be even
worse off than their peers, sighting large families and high rents and
home prices. Financial planners suggested that Utahns who are members
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and pay 10 percent of
their income in tithing may be part of the those who save less.