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Business Insider

Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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We’ve discovered thrift: Can it last?

COULD the economic slowdown really change the long-term behavior of free-spending Americans? The latest edition of Time magazine suggests that it could.

For years, Americans (and their government) have spent their way into massive debt. Be it with a mortgage loan, credit card or home equity line of credit, many Americans have overleveraged themselves into a debt-filled predicament.

On one hand, that kind of spending powers the economy, and the stock market, forward. But a lack of savings leaves people with no margin for error, which can cause financial ruin in the event of job loss, unexpected medical bills, divorce or a mortgage payment that resets.

Spending has been framed by many as our patriotic duty. But it seems that lately Americans have decided that it’s time to put away those credit cards and get to work turning around the country’s negative savings rate.

Time’s cover story was titled "The New Frugality." The cover concludes: "The recession has changed more than just how we live. It’s changed what we value and what we expect–even after the economy recovers."

Click here to read this week’s full Business Browser column.