Lessons from the 1940s - Save and Invest

The generation that fought World War II on the battlefield and on the Home Front had come through the Great Depression. While we cringe at today's unemployment figures hovering around 10 percent (as we should), in 1932, 13 million were unemployed - 25 percent of the labor force at a time when most households had only one wage-earner.

This generation learned the importance of managing money wisely. During the war, that meant purchasing War Bonds. Many enrolled in automatic purchasing programs to buy a set quantity with each paycheck. Bond rallies and drives brought in many more purchases. By the end of the war, 85 million Americans had purchased $185.7 billion worth of bonds.

More than patriotism and the financial necessities of total war, War Bonds were a good investment. At the end of ten years, the bonds matured and were worth far more than their purchase price.

We can learn a lot from this generation about personal finances. Don't buy more than you can afford. Live frugally. Reuse and repair and wear things out. Don't go into debt. If you are in debt, get out quickly. Don't put more on your credit cards than you can repay at the end of the month. Set aside a portion of your salary regularly for savings and investment.

For today's Americans, these concepts seem impractical and foreign. But they work.

Which of these ideas are you trying now? Which would you like to try?

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