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Wealth, Savings and Debt

One comment on this post about the state of America mentioned our rising debt, negative savings and so on. Savings is mismeasured in the US–it doesn’t include investment in human capital and ignores asset appreciation. As I said in the post, yes, debt is rising. But debt isn’t what matters. It’s net worth. Here are the data on real net worth. It’s at an all-time high.

And yes, I know this is the total and doesn’t hold for every individual. The same data for different quintiles of the income isn’t quite so cheery. But they’re still cheery. The chart is taken from a post by Michael Mandel at Business Week. Read the whole thing.