By Wes Moss
NEW YORK ( AdviceIQ) -- Why can't many Americans fund their retirement? Blame a fictional TV character -- or at least the spending mania he helped create -- and learn how to reclaim your budget and your future. Here's how.
Don Draper, adman guru of the series Mad Men, symbolizes my culprit of our widespread personal debt today: Relentless marketing creating a consumer culture founded on shopping, buying and spending.
Before World War II, most Americans saved prudently. Pent-up demand after the deprivation of the war years combined with America's emergence as an economic superpower to fuel new levels of affluence and a spending boom.
Between 1945 and 1949, Americans bought 200 million refrigerators, 21.4 million cars and 5.5 million stoves. In the 1950s, TVs flew off shelves 5 million a year as their prices dropped. An increasingly shrewd advertising industry drove much new spending.