Savings advice from Barack Obama
Save a little, spend wisely -- true for individual consumers and families, and for the economy as a whole.
This post comes from MSN Money's John Flinn.
"Don’t spend all your money."
That was President Barack Obama's simple, sound advice to the average U.S. consumer at the White House's "Personal Finance Online Summit" on Wednesday. The conference gave the administration's top economic advisors the chance to expound on policies that affect job growth, energy costs, health care and education and other pocketbook issues.
When Obama dropped by in the afternoon, one attendee asked what personal finance advice he'd offer to the average consumer. He talked about lessons learned from his grandmother, a hard-working Kansan who he said rose from a secretary to executive level at a regional bank.
"Her view was, 'Save a little bit of what you’re earning,'" Obama said. "Having spending discipline is important."
He acknowledged the need for spending discipline extends to government, not just its citizens.
"We went through a bubble that happened at every level -- government, corporate, financial and consumer," Obama said. "This deleveraging has been very painful. It has sobered everybody up. And our economy as a whole has to get back to producing more and not just spending more."
Before Obama's appearance at the summit, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra highlighted sectors of focus for job growth in the new economy: health care; education, especially companies assisting the shift from traditional learning to digital and online education; energy, in particular companies investing in "clean" and alternative energy; and mobile/broadband companies developing new products using parts of the radio spectrum now being released. Post continues after video.
Chopra also pointed to programs like the Startup America partnership, introduced in January, which encourage entrepreneurs through private funding and mentor relationships; one effort in North Carolina is expected to add 17,000 jobs to the area in the coming years.
So what would the president open his wallet for? Investing in yourself, not in your appetites.
"It remains smart to spend on things that are going to increase your productivity, and wealth, over the long term," Obama said, citing the investment he and his wife made in college and law school (and collecting more than $120,000 in student loan debt that took more than a decade to pay back, he added).
And despite the turmoil in the housing market, Obama said home ownership can still pay off. "Buying a house we could afford was a good investment," he said.
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