20201017 经济学人 The saver’s dilemma

The saver’s dilemma
储蓄者的困境

Low interest rates leave savers with few good options
低利率让储户没有什么好选择

The covid-19 pandemic has only sharpened the dilemma
新冠病毒大流行只会加剧困境

2020年10月17日|

IN THE 1980S comedy, “Trading Places”, Jamie Lee Curtis plays a prostitute who has been saving for her future; she has $42,000 “in T-bills, earning interest”. If she followed the same strategy today, she would be disappointed with the return. The one-year Treasury bill yields 0.13%, so her annual interest income would be just $55. If she reinvested the income, it would take more than 530 years for her money to double.

在20世纪80年代的喜剧《交易场所》中,杰米·李·柯蒂斯扮演一个妓女,她一直在为自己的未来存钱;她有42000美元的“国库券,赚取利息”。如果今天她用相同的策略,她对回报会很失望。一年期国库券的收益率为0.13%,因此她的年利息收入只有55美元。如果她用利息再次投资国库券,她的钱需要530多年才能翻一倍。

Savers around the world face the same problem. Bank accounts, money-market mutual funds and other short-term instruments used to offer a decent return. Not any more (see chart). Rates are lower in nominal terms than they were 30 years ago because of a long-term decline in inflation, but they are also lower in real terms. The pandemic has made the dilemma acute. This year American, British and German nominal ten-year bond yields have all touched their lowest levels in history.

银行账户、货币市场共同基金和其他短期工具用来提供可观的回报。可是以后再也不能这样了(见图表)。由于通货膨胀率长期下降,名义利率低于30年前,但实际利率也较低。新冠病毒大流行使两难困境更加严重。今年,美国、英国和德国的名义十年期国债收益率均触及历史最低水平。

Savers are likely to respond to this situation in one of three ways. They can save less, and spend more of their incomes. Another approach is to set aside more money, to make up for lower returns. A third option would be to put more savings into risky assets, such as equities, which should deliver a higher return over the long run.

储户可能用以下三种方式之一对这种情况做出反应。他们可以少存钱,多花钱。另一种方法是存更多的钱,以弥补较低的收益。第三种选择是将更多的储蓄投入到诸如股票之类的风险资产中,从长远来看,这些资产应能带来更高的回报。

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