Author Sheldon Garon on the lesson of “thrift”

Author Sheldon Garon was recently a guest writer on the public radio Marketplace blog, “Makin’ Money,” with a piece entitled How America shortchanges its kids about thrift.

In it Garon explains the curious difference between “thrift” education in America versus Europe. With the exception of a handful of exemplary states, America had historically shown little interest in encouraging students to save.  In recent times student saving programs have become fewer and farther between.  Garon notes that “this is a pity because decades later one encounters New Yorkers or Minnesotans who insist that school programs started them on a lifetime of saving.”

Today, “the U.S. is…behind other nations in permitting pre-college teenagers the freedom to make withdrawals from bank accounts and thereby learn financial responsibility.” Garon suggests that we have a lot to learn from other nations, and the time to start is now.  Read his eye-opening article here, and pick up a copy of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves to learn more about the practice of saving in America and around the world.


  1. As an avid NPR listener, I heard the same broadcast. Actually, I heard it years before from my parents – simply put a different way!

    Before the de-leveraging we have seen in the past few years, this book would have never made the bookshelves – or it would hasve been laughed at if it did.

    Hopefully, our current condition will be the basis for catharsis from our old ways. If not, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” may have to be re-written as “Smart Dad, Dumb Kid”

  2. Not a question of imitating other countries, is a question that you have to save for when things go wrong.

  3. This book has a strong argument that should not be ignored but listened to. It is true that spending can only last so long and when the spending reduces so does the number of jobs in the economy. If the population saved more we might see less shocks in the economy and at the very least people will be able to fund potential unemployment.