Why Americans grow their savings better than the French

Posted on Oct 7, 2021, 6:31 PMUpdated Oct 7, 2021, 7:15 PM

The observation, seen from the Hexagon, may seem bitter. Not only are American households sitting on a significantly higher jackpot than the French – gross financial assets per capita amount to an average of 260,580 euros across the Atlantic, against 94,990 euros in France – but they are also more efficient when it is a question of making it fruitful in times of crisis.

According to Allianz’s annual report on household wealth around the world, published this Thursday, Americans’ gross financial assets have indeed grown by nearly 27,000 euros in 2020, while those of the French have not increased ” that ”of 5,000 euros on average. That is to say an increase of about 10% across the Atlantic against 5% in France.

How to explain such a gap when the two countries have set up support plans for businesses and relatively similar households? For Allianz analysts, the answer lies in “the composition of household portfolios” as well as in “behavior towards savings”.

Rising markets

Indeed, Americans hold nearly 55% of their financial wealth in the form of shares, which has allowed them “to benefit greatly from the increase recorded by the markets in recent years,” said the report. “In Western Europe, this proportion is only 28%”, he continues.

There are strong disparities, however, on the Old Continent. The Danes, who are based on a gross financial wealth per capita of 212,000 euros, have managed to accumulate 20,000 euros in additional savings in 2020, in particular thanks to their wealth more strongly composed of shares. The Dutch have won 15,000 euros for a heritage of 180,000 euros.

French and Germans, same fight

On the other hand, the Germans, who also have a cautious approach to saving, are as inefficient as the French. With a gross financial wealth per capita of 85,370 euros, they also earned only 5,000 euros.

According to the report, stocks have only contributed to an 11% increase in German financial wealth over the past five years, compared to 70% in American asset growth. The European average is 46%.

“Between Europe and the United States, one of the big differences is the development of index funds, which reproduce the performance of stock market indices at low cost,” explains a connoisseur. The large asset managers in charge of huge American pension funds have developed a lot on this passive management. ”Still, if the trend were to reverse, the financial assets of American households could well look grim.

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