No Savings IS a Problem, WSJ!

In retirement, I enjoy reading as well as writing. As a money guy, when I see an article in the financial section headlines that captures my attention, I'm going to read it - or at least skim it. 

When I see a financial article that disgusts me, I'm going to say something about it. My wife is used to this from me since she gets first dibs on hearing my displeasures on some of the clumsy and irresponsible financial writing that goes on in the world today. Some of these authors, reporters, bloggers will say almost anything to get you to click on their links.

My favorites are these financial bloggers who have 0 experience with finance and investments and are giving financial advice to an audience of 1 million or more followers. These authors even state on their site that they have no financial education background or professional experience. Yet, they write. And they offer their advice. They brag about their readership. And they sell their products. I'm sure some of their followers actually listen. But why?

I tried to write about these type of irresponsible articles before for large financial community site I often contributed other money related material on, but I was censored with these 'strike back' articles because the editors did not want them as part of their community.  Now that I have started my own site, no editors can stop me now. And so I'm spilling it out here.

I have just read an article in the WSJ entitled "No Savings? No Problem. These Companies Are Helping Hone Buyers With Down Payments" by Christina Rexrode and Laura Kusito, dated June 29, 2018, and I am disgusted with it.

I am sure that these women are fine reporters. The fact they work for the WSJ means they are quite accomplished and good at what they do. Their job as reporters is to report news, more specifically news that will draw attention and get people to read their articles. They do not or rarely voice their own opinions on what they write. That's not the name of the game. 

In the case of this particular article, I don't think they realize the hidden message of what they are writing. This is evident by the title of this article and by things that are written in various areas in the article. 

To summarize the article as briefly as I can, it is about how people (in their 20s) use alternative methods of obtaining a down payment on a home. BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO SAVINGS. Emphasis mine. 

This is not a review of the WSJ article. My commentary here is about the hidden message of this article. Or maybe the real message of the article.  

I have stressed the importance of saving money before. In my opinion, saving money is the most important thing a person can do with it. I've discussed the dangers of not saving, of not having an emergency fund. Folks, this is serious stuff, I've seen what happens to people who do not save, even some of the millionaires, well former millionaires who lost it all. It's not good.

What are these reporters doing besides trying to gain attention? 

This article shouts to me that people do not need to save money to pay for things because you can find an alternative. The article also justifies the notion that is difficult to save money.

Here are some passages from this article that disgust me, see if you can can pick up a common aspect in them, again all emphasis is mine:

"No Savings? No Problem."
"...options for borrowers who have good credit and income but are struggling to save."
"rising consumer debate and high prices have made it tough for first-time buyers to save for a home."
"Nearly 40% of renters ages 25 to 34 said they were saving nothing each month...."
 "and those who are trying to save on their own."
"...and a credit union has already denied their mortgage application because they didn't have enough in savings."
""Now some of her friends are interested in following suit. "It just worked out so well," she said, "that people were like, 'No way, I want that!' ""

Saving money is hard for everyone. It is a problem that most Americans have and it gets worse each day. The older I get, the more I see stories of younger people who have no savings, struggling to save,  the are severely indebted.

Publishing an article like this Does-Not-Help-With-Solving-The-Savings- Problem-In-America. In fact, it does the opposite.

It says to readers that it's ok to not have savings because you can find a way around it. It sympathizes with people who have no savings because times are tough and it's hard to save. You know what? Times are ALWAYS tough for people when it comes to money, although the reasons vary. The article cites rising consumer debt. This is nothing new. Credit card debt and loan debt have risen almost and maybe every single year. The article cites high housing prices. Housing prices have risen almost every year with the notable exception of the housing market bubble-crash. There is always an excuse for people not to save and there always will be.

There's one simple thing that this article does not address. If people have no savings and are able to obtain alternative ways to get a house, how are they going to have the money to make their mortgage payments each month? Will these buyers find alternative methods to pay the bank? I don't think so.

In my opinion, this is an irresponsible article, it sends the wrong message to people - especially young adults, it promotes finding alternatives to saving, it justifies the hardship of saving, it literally says that Having No Savings is Not A Problem and it tells of others who are excited about being able to find alternatives to buy something without saving.

This is scary wrong.

Ironically, the next article on the WSJ site was called "Millennials Want to Buy Homes but Aren't Saving..."

Wake up!