When saving means not buying shoes

Women and men judge a lot differently financially. But age also changes the view of money and saving.

Chic shoes from the Argentine President Cristina Kirchner

In Financial matters, people are as different as they can be – in other things too. Some just put everything on the back burner and therefore always pay their bills shortly before the first reminder arrives. Others keep meticulous records of every issue, no matter how small, and always have a very close eye on their account balance.

A representative survey by Teambank in cooperation with the market research institute Forsa, which is available exclusively to the FAZ, shows how Germans at the age of 18 behave in terms of spending and saving. One result of this analysis: Members of the 50+ generation tend to be less willing to forego something when saving than people of other age groups.

The interpretation of the concept of savings is therefore apparently broad. For many women in particular, it means saving if they restrict themselves when buying their clothes and shoes. At least three quarters of the female respondents answered the question at which point they would be most willing to save if they had to reduce their expenses by 100 euros a month. About half of the men say that.

This means that fashion is also ahead in the overall average in the event of a waiver. In second place are the German citizens overall their vacation trips as well as expenses for various leisure activities, sports and culture, which would next be cut in the worst-case scenario. Every second respondent says that, and a similar number of women and men express themselves. In the case of the latter, however, it is the vacation trip that you would do without first.

Clearer differences between the sexes can be seen again with a view to spending on groceries. According to the survey, women are more likely to do without than men, a third in one group compares to around a fifth in the other. Measured in terms of all consumer spending, however, Germans still spend much less on food than other Europeans, as data from the Federal Statistical Office show. French and Italians in particular consider good food – at least on average – far more important. According to the survey by the team bank, which specializes in loans, Germans would least do without financial investments and old-age provision, insurance or things related to education. Multiple answers were possible at this point.

When it comes to the answer to the question of how Germans invest their money, they are known to like to play it safe – despite interest rates that have been so low for years. This is also borne out by the survey. Because while an average of 57 percent of German citizens are familiar with investments such as savings accounts, overnight deposits or fixed-term deposits, this only applies in 27 percent of cases with regard to securities – for example stocks or funds. In this respect, they should actually also know that deposits in a traditional savings account only yield zero percent interest on a national average. Only fixed deposits with longer terms of ten years, for example, stand out somewhat according to data from FMH-Finanzberatung with a current average of a good 0.8 percent. For comparison: the inflation rate in this country was 1.4 percent in August. The money of the saver is automatically worth less and less.

According to the survey, Germans are most familiar with financial matters, however, with the day-to-day planning of their own income and expenses. On the other hand, they see a lot of catching up to do with less mundane financial aspects. Accordingly, only a minority is familiar with topics such as real estate financing (36 percent on average), endowment insurance (33) or consumer credit (23). The young generation in particular lacks relevant knowledge.

Germans are considered particularly reliable, conscientious and hardworking abroad. This is evidently also evident in money matters. Because on average nine out of ten Germans pay their bills immediately after they have received them, according to the Teambank survey. Interestingly, this is what more younger than older respondents say.

Almost a quarter of all survey participants, on the other hand, have difficulties with keeping track of so many invoices and direct debits. Almost as many regularly keep a household book. Overall, less than a sixth of those surveyed use an app on their smartphone for better financial planning, while younger people use around a third. Six out of ten Germans regularly check their account balance every few days and hopefully have a good overview of their finances.