I knew this before, but the stat is still startling: the savings rate in China is 36 percent, while in the US it is 6 percent (and that’s double the 3 percent rate from 2000 to 2008). On this issue, my own upbringing is not much different from that of many well-educated Asian-Americans. We don’t look to the government as a safety net. We brace ourselves against rainy days and catastrophes. We accept our responsibility to care for our elders in their old age as they cared for us in our young age. We save so that we can invest in the education of our children. So far, so good.
And yet, as a Christian, I cannot help but make sure that my heart is right in all of this. Does such an attitude about saving lead me to look down on others who are different as being less responsible or less intelligent? Does my drive towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance create a prideful shell resistant to seeking help when I need it? Do I ignore the very real needs of those around me in my bull-headed drive towards taking care of my nest egg first? At the end of the day, is my hope for my future well-being placed in my shrewdness in financially planning for it, or is it in a God who promises to provide for me as I seek His kingdom first?
These are hard questions, and I don’t always like the answers I get when I look inward. But, as with many life issues, they are gateways to what we really believe in, and in what or whom we are truly placing our trust. So they are worth asking and answering. For our life savings is literally on the line.