I realized that American savings rate is not zero - its probably 12.5% which is the amount deducted from each paycheck as payroll taxes. You end up getting that money back when you retire. So Social Security is a forced savings program. I think that's why most people in America don't save much. In many countries without SS or pensions people save save 50% of thier income. And if we didn't have SS, welfare, pensions, etc. we'd probably save 50% of our income as well.