WSJ Interview: Americans Are Saving More, but How Long Can It Last?

You know there is something wrong with the economy and society when it takes a literal pandemic to save money at a ridiculously fast rate like I am right now. I am thankful every day that our household income hasn’t wavered, and we are finally catching a break and rebuilding our savings after a round of quarter-life crises last summer. In the most recent months, we haven’t been living paycheck to paycheck, but still, there was little left to set aside each month once all our bills were paid.

With student loan interest rates at 0%, discounts on car insurance, and nowhere to go — meaning we aren’t filling our cars for gas, having them serviced, or paying tolls to travel an hour in each direction to our respective jobs — we are saving at a rate we have never saved before. And it’s because we aren’t spending as much on the necessities and setting aside our stimulus, stipend, and overtime monies during this challenging time for a more substantial purchase, like a house. Buying a house now since the 2008 crash is more challenging than it ever has been before.

I am aware that many of my millennial cohorts haven’t been as lucky, and I am aware that I am in a privileged position right now. This pandemic has ripped away the curtain that has hidden what is wrong and what is broken. I’m hoping things will change when we come out of this.

Here’s a snippet of my interview in the Wall Street Journal.

Alexandra Lashner and her husband found themselves saving more than ever during the pandemic. They had spent the better part of this year scraping and saving to replenish their emergency fund following two respective job changes and a big move—from Lancaster County to Philadelphia, closer to family.

“Ever since Covid started, we’ve had a lot more money just to put in the bank,” said Mrs. Lashner, a 26-year-old marketing professional living in Bensalem, Pa. “We’re not commuting to work, and we’re saving a lot more money every month because we’re not spending money on gas and tolls.”

Mrs. Lashner said she is also taking the money she would typically budget for eating out, entertainment and putting it toward her savings goals. Cutting expenses like her gym membership also freed up more money to sock away.

“Overall there’s just a lot of these extra expenses that we had in our monthly budget that aren’t being used,” she said. “Whatever is extra is just going into our savings account right now.”