The Hole in the Bucket: Americans Obsessed Over Personal Finance During the Last Forty Years as Never Before. What Went Wrong?
Never before in history has the great American middle class obsessed so much over financial planning as during the last forty years or so. In the 1970s, this obsession fueled the growth of hot new magazines like Money and TV shows like Louis Rukeyser’s Wall $street Week. By the 1980s, it had led to the creation of personal finance sections in almost every newspaper, and to myriad radio talk shows counseling Americans on what mutual funds to buy, how much they should put into new savings vehicles like Individual Retirement Accounts or Keoghs, and how to manage their new 401(k) plans.
In the 1990s, millions of Americans learned the accounting program Quicken, avidly followed the tips offered by Jim Cramer and the Motley Fool, and employed legions of tax and financial advisers and online tools to help them figure out whether they should convert to a Roth IRA and how they should take advantage of the new “529” college savings accounts. In the last decade, millions more have turned to outlets like HGTV to learn the ins and outs of flipping houses, consolidating credit card debt with a home equity loan, and combining a medical savings account with a high-deductible insurance plan.
Who in the 1950s ever worried so much about managing money?