Canadians, you know how low the national savings rate is supposed to be.

Americans, your savings rate might be the lowest in the developed world.  … read more

Singaporeans…you save at least 35% of your salaries…every year.  And unlike the Japanese, you don’t let your money sit idly in simple savings accounts.  Yours gets invested.  Should North Americans follow your lead?

The high savings rate in Singapore is a result of the government’s foresight, when creating The Central Provident Fund

It’s a bit like an American 401K or Canadian RRSP—on steroids.  Singaporean employees invest 20% of their annual salaries.  It’s mandatory.  There’s no option.  Then the employer contributes a further 15.5%, putting the combined annual savings at 35.5% annually.

The money can be saved for retirement, where the government offers a guaranteed percentage each year.  Currently, that percentage isn’t high, but it’s guaranteed, and doesn’t generate taxable consequences.

Citizens can also use their CPF money to purchase homes.  Partly as a result, according to a speech given last year by Singapore’s Prime Minister, Singapore has one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world, at roughly 90%.  …read more

Some of a citizen’s Central Provident Fund money can also be used for Asset Enhancement, where investors can allocate their money towards Insurance, Mutual Funds, ETFs, Fixed Deposits, Bonds, Treasury Bills, Individual stocks, and Gold.

No country is perfect.  But with a balanced budget, despite no natural resources, this virtually debt-free country has set a precedent that many other countries could follow.  Putting Singapore’s wealth in perspective, it’s a country of just $4 million people.  But only 12 countries in the world own more U.S. Treasuries than Singapore does.  …read more

And per capita, the Singaporean government owns 104% more U.S. government debt than China.

With their forced savings plan, could this wise, forward-thinking government be on to something?

What do you think?  Could Canadians mandate an annual RRSP contribution?  Would it help?

And could Americans do the same with IRA, Roth IRAs and 401Ks?

Or does a personal forced savings plan, mandated by the government, strip an important level of a citizen’s right to choose?