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When are Savings Account Balances Highest and Lowest?

September 6th, 2020 by 
PK

In this post, we'll look at savings account balance by week in the United States. We examine which weeks balances are highest and lowest, and model savings and spending in the United States.

When are Savings Account Balances Lowest?

The lowest balance week in our dataset was the first week of the year in January, followed by the next three weeks sequentially.

The second most common cluster of lowest balance weeks was the 52nd and "53rd" week of the year (around Christmas).

When are Savings Account Balances Highest?

The highest balance week in our dataset was the 52nd week of the year (Christmas). The 49th, 50th, and 51st week of the year were also common.

Interestingly, the 45th week also snuck in. That maps to around October-November.

Keep an Eye on Your Savings Account

Businessman exposing empty pockets showing low savings
The lowest average savings account balances are around New Year's and Christmas.

First let's talk caveats.

This is very noisy data due to how dates interact with years and our methodology. Additionally, it doesn't adjust for inflation (which would make a significant difference some years).

Furthermore, we're looking at savings and money market balances. It's possible people transfer money to investments or checking accounts (or otherwise don't spend money.)

For fun though, let's continue.

Throw out the years where the first and last weeks mapped to the lowest and highest average savings balance, respectively. If you do that, low balances do tend to line up with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas.

Surprising? Probably not – but even this quick study hints at the effect of the end of year purchasing season.

Methodology for Weekly Savings Account Balances

We used an interpolated Civilian Noninstitutional population from FRED and mashed it up with total savings by week. Our dataset extends from 1975 through July, 2019.

Total savings by week is reported on Mondays, so we normalized with the Excel NUMWEEK function (the week number in the year, starting with January 1). Then we looked at relative balances per year to arrive at the statistics you see.

Annual Highest and Lowest Week for Savings Account Balance

How to read this table:

  • Year: Year for savings account observation
  • Week Minimum Occurred: The week of the year we saw the minimum average savings account balance
  • Week Maximum Occurred: The week of the year we saw the maximum average savings account balance
YearWeek Minimum OccurredWeek Maximum Occurred
1975252
1976252
1977149
19785222
1979521
19801945
1981491
19823152
1983128
1984913
1985152
1986152
19875218
19885327
1989221
1990140
1991152
1992151
19931750
1994538
1995161
1996152
1997352
1998352
1999245
2000353
2001451
2002151
2003149
2004150
20052343
20062252
2007534
2008439
2009150
2010250
2011252
2012151
2013445
2014649
2015250
2016252
2017151
2018334

Shout-out to our long time reader Clint for the interesting article idea.

Any thoughts on the noisy data? Think it's enough to be useful?

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