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bikemott's question is harder than it sounds, and perhaps experts can direct us to good places to look. I know the question has been batted around a lot on these boards over the last couple of years.

The crudest definition is (gross income - taxes - expenditures)/(gross income - taxes).

The trouble with this is the definition of "gross income". Money that people squirrel away in 401(k) accounts -- and that is many, many billions each year -- is tax-deferred and therefore does not count as income until it is withdrawn, many years in the future. Similarly, paper gains on stocks are not savings, since they have not yet been realized. Both of these ways of counting make sense, and yet they are also absurd in the sense that they don't reflect people's attitudes about how they stand.

I think everybody would count 401(k) balances and the paper value of their stocks in their net worth. But, as I say, I think they have no influence in the calculation of a savings rate.

Here's one that's harder to calculate. What is the present value of a pension that has no death benefit, and which I, and only I, will collect but only if I survive to retirement age?
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