Savings, Investment and Debt Ownership at a Glance

  • Individuals and businesses seek to increase their assets through savings and investments. They also borrow to purchase assets or finance business opportunities.
  • National saving, the portion of the nation’s current income not consumed, is the sum of saving by households, businesses and all levels of government.
  • Gross national savings rose from $1.8 trillion in 2010 to $1.9 trillion in 2011, with the rise largely fueled by corporate savings, which rose by $1.5 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Personal savings fell by $54 billion in 2011. Government savings was negative, with the sector spending $1.3 trillion more than its income in 2011.
  • According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Fed), in 2011 households, financial institutions, governments and others held $22.5 trillion in U.S. corporate equities, which provide an ownership interest through company stocks. Households held 37 percent of U.S. corporate equities, amounting to $8.4 trillion. U.S. chartered depository institutions (including commercial and savings banks) held $67.4 billion, property/casualty insurance companies held $225.4 billion and life insurance companies held $1.4 trillion.
  • In 2011 households, financial institutions, governments and others held $11.6 trillion in U.S. corporate and foreign bonds, according to the Fed. Households held $1.9 trillion, U.S. chartered depository institutions held $551.8 billion, property/casualty insurance companies held $361.0 billion and life insurance companies held $2.1 trillion.
  • In 2011 the household sector held $4.7 trillion in mutual funds. U.S. chartered depository institutions held $41.7 billion, property/casualty insurance companies held $5.5 billion and life insurance companies held $150.1 billion.
  • In 2011 individuals, financial institutions, U.S. monetary authorities, state and local governments, and foreign and international investors owned $10.4 trillion in U.S. public debt securities such as U.S. Treasuries.
  • Financial assets of the personal sector totaled $46.3 trillion in 2011, with the largest share (39.1 percent) in securities, including stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares and other securities.
  • Over the 10 years, 2002-2011, household debt rose 53.2 percent, compared with a rise of 59.4 percent for business debt. Household debt dropped by 1.4 percent, 2010-2011, while business debt rose by 6.6 percent.
  • Lending to businesses and individuals by FDIC-insured banks rose by 1.2 percent from $7.4 trillion in 2010 to $7.5 trillion in 2011.
  • Small business lending by banks rose from $601.5 billion in 2005 to $607.7 billion in 2011, according to data from the FDIC.