Thats what I learned in a recent telephone interview with Stuart Feldstein, founder and President of SMR Research; a Hackettstown New Jersey credit research company. I had called him to ask what he thought about our declining savings rate. (The firms website is located at:

Beyond the savings rate you are into psychology. But if you go back only to 1980 you find there are all kinds of spending categories that didnt exist back then. Things like cable, personal computers, answering services, and cell phones. Some of these things arent cheap. Restaurant dining seems to have become a necessity. It used to be a treat.