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What the World Cup Can Teach Us

by Don Current on June 21, 2010

Young Soccer Players

photo by Beth Rankin

While much of the rest of the world pauses to watch the World Cup soccer matches with perhaps more attention than we give to March Madness here in Indiana, people in the U.S. go about their business as if nothing significant is happening. Perhaps we should spend a little time learning about the world around us instead of keeping our focus within our own borders.

Did you know that in the U.S. our personal savings rate has risen to between 3 and 4% from its recent dip to a negative savings rate? At the same time, Britain, Germany, and Ireland have up to 2-3x that savings rate, yet their median annual income is lower than that of the U.S. They also tend to take on less debt than us.

Where is your savings rate? You should be putting away a minimum of 10% for your retirement. You should also have a 3-6 month emergency fund in place to cover expenses in case of job loss, serious illness, or any one of the myriad of unexpected expenses that pop up in our lives. This would also help reduce the level of debt you go into by allowing you to dip into your emergency fund instead of a credit card or loan.

It is also important to be saving for non-monthly expenses such as car insurance, home owner’s insurance and life insurance. This helps to level out those bumps in your expenses that seem to throw off your budget.

I’m all about pride in your country. I don’t think we need to try and be just like ‘x’ country, but I do think we can always learn from others and take away what they’re doing right. So why don’t you tune your Sports Channel to some World Cup and see what the rest of the world is doing. Cheer on the U.S. They’re doing pretty well so far. Show a little national pride! While you’re at it, see what some of those other countries are doing right and improve your own situation a little.