Germans are overly conservative in dealing with money | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 25.09.2012
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Germans are overly conservative in dealing with money

Germans' savings and spending habits haven't changed much in the past two decades, a fresh study claims. The overwhelming majority of Germans still prefer ultrasafe investments, although yields have become negligible.

Germans are astonishingly conservative when dealing with money, a study by the Axel Springer and Bauer Media Groups showed on Tuesday. The survey found that Germans opt for ultrasafe forms of investment and readily put up with declining yields.

Almost 70 percent of Germans still have a conventional savings book with next to no interest paid at the moment, the study found. Other popular forms of safe, but low-yield, investment are life insurance and building loan contracts, the authors write.

Respondents said their No. 1 reason for putting money aside ís to eventually be able beef up their retirement funds.

Playing it safe

The survey bears out that the notion that the majority of Germans are still rather reluctant to invest in capital markets, shying away from any financial experiments and the prospect of total losses. Only 6.6 percent of Germans are reported to hold shares.

"Even if the financial market crashed, the majority of Germans would not be heavily impacted as they don't own risky equities," the Axel Springer market researcher Andrea Treffenstädt said while presenting the study in Hamburg.

The survey also found that only about a third of Germans own a credit card. About the same amount engage in online banking. In Norway, the corresponding rate is 83 percent; 77 percent in the Netherlands carry out transactions online.

The study found that Germans' savings and spending habits haven't changed much in over 20 years. "All in all, Germans are very conservative in dealing with money," Treffenstädt said. "They don't exactly ignore new developments, but they aren't forging ahead either."

hg/mkg (dapd, dpa)