Saving money and investing money are DIFFERENT!
You are not "saving" if you put your money in a Mutual Fund...or stocks... That's INVESTING, which has RISK which is what everyone wants to avoid!
It's the same as in the outdoor recreation world... No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions... if you take a risk... you might get BURNED...
Dillhole, the vehicles are different as you pointed out above, but the intended end results are exactly the same. People have some money and wish to make more money with it. If that wasn't the case then stuffing money under your mattress might not be so bad. (aside from it being stolen)Given the current climate its obviously that having 100K + (or now 250K + ) is at risk
in some banking saving institutions. And if someone wants to save and retire at a decent age they better have more then 250k saved away. So where are they going to put it? The smart answer has always been to diversify and I just dont see the US saving rate calculation as looking diversified enough to be the end all be all indicator. (Example 401K income not counted) I dont mean anyone should not be saving, but the dire messages were about to get pushed off the cliff because no one saved is a little overcooked IMHO. One could argue that the current crisis is made due in part to having money in non liquid-able assets instead of cash on hand (Bank savings accounts)
Here is some more points on why the Saving rate may not be the great indicator it once was: http://seekingalpha.com/article/36867-us-savings-rate-based-on-outdated-methods-of-calculation