The New National Debate: Shop Or Save

If you listen to most people who dispense advice about money, the right time to save is always NOW!

When stocks were in the midst of the greatest bull market in a generation and housing prices were soaring, it was a great time to save so you could invest. After all, it takes money to make money.

And then after you lost most of that aforementioned money, what better evidence did we need for saving than the fact of a lousy economy where nearly every asset class was losing value at nearly-light speed?

I've always had a problem with this aspect of the conventional wisdom. But even if you're the kind of person who thinks it's downright immoral not to be sticking 10% of your paycheck in a savings account or under a Serta every week, don't you have to acknowledge that saving money, and thus spending, can make more sense at some times than at others?

Consider where we are right now. Retailers have slashed pricesin order to move inventory. The auto companiesare practically giving away cars. Houses haven't been this cheap in years. If you have money, if you have a job, this is the best time to spend in ages.

The responsible thing right now is to go on a shopping spree.

If you want to be prudent, it's time to break the bank. Even compulsive savers should be able to handle the idea that at this moment in time, you can buy for stuff for less money, thus allowing you to hoard more cash over the long run.

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