Our saving grace

After more than six years of austerity, the ghosts of the Celtic Tiger are being finally put to rest as we face into a new year with confidence and a real hope of prosperity.

One of the more positive aspects of our economic demise has been the growing tendency of ordinary people to pay off personal debt and to be more prudent in their spending.

Households are continuing to pay off debt, according to the Central Bank, with loan repayments outpacing new lending in November. Lending to households has also continued to fall on an annual basis. Loan repayments for households outpaced new drawdowns by €335m in November, according to the regulator’s latest Money and Banking Statistics, compared to a decline of €520m in October.

That may go some way to explaining why spending over Christmas was not as high as had been expected.

While retailers may find our new-found thriftiness a challenge, it is surely better that we finally jettison the madness of the borrowing culture of the recent past.

We are becoming a nation of savers — not before time.


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