Aktia Bank Plc
31.3. 2021 at 8.00 a.m.
Swedes save and invest their money more actively and diversely than Finns, according to a consumer survey commissioned by Aktia. Few Finns have prosperity plans and even fewer have the investments or other assets necessary to accumulate wealth.
A survey commissioned by Aktia indicates that Finnish people are far behind the Swedes as savers. The average savings and investments of Finns are, by all measures, smaller than those of Swedish people; 46 per cent of Finns responding to the survey and 62 per cent of Swedes had stock or fund holdings. Half of Finns still keep their savings on their bank account, and approximately a third of Finnish respondents did not have any savings or investments whatsoever.
Positive developments are on the horizon, however. Compared to Aktia’s 2019 survey, Finnish people increasingly invest in stocks and especially in different fund holdings, the share of which has increased by five percentage points. The number of Finns saving or investing regularly has also grown. The share of Finnish people making investments at least several times per year has increased from the 2019 survey especially among women, young adults and those with low income. However, the share of Finns saving monthly (41%) is considerably lower than that of the Swedish (51%).
“The results indicate that Finnish banks certainly have a lot of work to do in raising awareness of investing as a form of saving, especially among lower-income households. We want to help Finnish people to plan their personal finances in uncertain times and to aid the Finnish saver in accumulating wealth systematically. We feel that now is a good time to start,” says Carola Nilsson, Executive Vice President of Aktia’s Private Customers business area.
Finns live in a daydream when it comes to gaining wealth
Only 37 per cent of Finnish respondents said that they have a prosperity plan for the next 10–20 years – and 55 per cent had no plan at all. Prosperity plans were the most common among the youngest respondents as well as the respondents with the highest income. Of female respondents, only 33 per cent had a prosperity plan.
Furthermore, Finns lay out their prosperity plans in very broad strokes: 40 per cent of Finns who said that they plan to accumulate wealth had no investments in, for instance, stocks, funds, apartments or forest. Meanwhile, nearly 80 per cent of Swedes planning their wealth said that they make investments.
According to the survey results, only one in six of the Finns with a prosperity plan also has the versatile tools necessary for accumulating wealth, while this share is double in Sweden. Such a toolset is a combination of own house or apartment, investments (stocks, funds, real estate or forest property) as well as life and disability insurance.
Appetite in both countries for investing alongside mortgage
Attitudes in Finland and Sweden are surprisingly similar toward investing while paying off the mortgage: more than a fourth of the respondents are interested in downscaling their instalments in order to invest, whereas approximately a third think that mortgage should be paid off as quickly as possible. High-income households in Finland have a much more positive view than low-income households toward extending mortgage periods to increase the amount of funds available for investing. In Sweden, investments were common also in lower income groups.
The key factor explaining the attitudes in Finland as well as in Sweden is how the respondents view their competence with regard to stocks: of those estimating their competence as excellent, over 60 per cent believed that it is financially more sound to pay off their mortgage more slowly and invest in, for instance, stocks and funds alongside mortgage repayment, whereas the view was shared by only under a third of the respondents who estimated their stock-related competence as weak.
Swedish consumers who invest are more used to diversifying their investments geographically as well as between several companies and funds, whereas the majority of Finns invest in a few listed companies in one country – of the respondents, 41 per cent in Finland and 59 per cent in Sweden held shares in more than six companies. Respectively, 42 per cent of Finnish stock investors had centralised their investments to one country only, whereas in Sweden, 31 per cent had done so.
“Digitalisation has made investing easier than ever before, and it is now truly within everyone’s reach. Any one of us can gain wealth, but that requires doing something about it today,” Carola Nilsson says.
The survey commissioned by Aktia was conducted in December 2020 and January 2021, with a total of 1,729 Finnish and 1,000 Swedish respondents aged 18–75 participating. For results analysis, the data was weighed to correspond to the Finnish and Swedish populations in terms of age, gender, region of residence and income. The study was conducted by Prior Konsultointi Oy.
Aktia is a Finnish asset manager, bank and life insurer that has been creating wealth and wellbeing from one generation to the next for 200 years. We serve our customers in digital channels everywhere and face-to-face in our offices in the Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Vaasa and Oulu regions. Our award-winning asset management business sells investment funds internationally. We employ approximately 930 people around Finland. Aktia’s assets under management (AuM) on 31 December 2020 amounted to EUR 10.4 billion, and the balance sheet total was EUR 10.6 billion. Aktia’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd (AKTIA). aktia.com.