The main reason the Dutch save? Emergencies.

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Money in a jar

Over four in ten Dutch people admit they save but don’t know exactly why. The reason most often cited for building up a nest egg, though, is to ensure there are sufficient funds in the event of an emergency, according to a survey recently carried out by ABN AMRO on the savings habits of over 2,000 Dutch citizens. Nearly 16 per cent said they put money by to invest later in their home and household. The results of the survey also reveal that the Dutch rely on their savings accounts to go on holiday (8 per cent), repay their mortgage (5 per cent) and top up their pension.

Those having drawn on savings during the last twelve months often put that money towards their mortgage (43 per cent), while about 28 per cent said they anticipate putting all or part of their savings towards their mortgage in the next twelve months. In addition, 22 per cent are thinking about using their savings to make a major purchase in the coming year. Of those respondents who plan to use all or part of their savings in the near future, one in five said they would be doing so for investment purposes.

Alternatives to traditional savings account a good idea

Frans Woelders, Senior Managing Director of Retail Banking at ABN AMRO, says, “As the National Institute for Family Finance Information [or Nibud, as it’s called in Dutch] concluded early in November, it’s important to save so you have a buffer. However, savings accounts don’t pay much interest at the moment. So for the millions of people in the Netherlands who already have a sufficient buffer, there are other ways to generate a higher return on their savings than they might think. One example is making higher mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low right now, but they’re still several percentage points higher than the interest on savings. That’s why, in many cases, higher mortgage payments make sense. Parents might also think about making cash gifts to their children to help them get on to the property ladder or cover their tuition fees, for instance. Savers might also consider the merits of investing some of their money if such a strategy fits with their individual situation. At any rate, I think the Dutch would do well to give some thought to alternatives to the traditional savings account.”

The vast majority save for a rainy day

Nearly all Dutch citizens – 94 per cent, to be exact – have at least one savings account, but the average is two accounts per person. Some 56 per cent say they transfer funds to a savings account monthly, with 34 per cent admitting they save only if there’s money left over. Those who don’t save at all (56 per cent) say a lack of financial resources is the main reason, while 27 per cent cite the low interest earned on savings.

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