(Vienna) Many Austrians already rely on more attractive options than the savings account when it comes to asset investment. During the COVID-19-pandemic and intensified by the low interest rate environment, the Austrian population has become more engaged with the topic of financial investments. The Aktienbarometer 2023 – a survey by the Aktienforum, the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) and the Vienna Stock Exchange – makes it clear that securities have arrived in the middle of our society: every fourth person in Austria already holds securities, 20 percent would like to invest. According to the survey, even the gradual increase in key interest rates, which began in mid-2022, does not change the fact that many Austrians want to evolve from savers to investors.
"This is an understandable trend. Because in the long run, shares beat every other asset class – whether savings account, real estate or commodities – by at least double. For example, the ATX including dividends has shown an average annual return of around 6 percent since the beginning of its calculation," emphasises Vienna Stock Exchange CEO Christoph Boschan.
Lack of financial education as the biggest investment stumbling block
The fact that many people who would like to invest in securities refrain from doing so has one main reason: the lack of financial knowledge. This also emerges from the Aktienbarometer survey. It shows that a lack of financial literacy is the main factor why people renounce investing in securities. The Vienna Stock Exchange has been counteracting this circumstance for many years. In over 6,500 school presentations, more than 100,000 students have been reached so far. In addition, the Vienna Stock Exchange provides teaching materials and thus supports the national financial education strategy. In the extracurricular area, the Wiener Börse Akademie – a cooperation with WIFI Wien – offers a wide range of educational programmes, covering the entire spectrum of knowledge from the "1x1 der Wertpapiere" to the diploma course in stock exchange trading.
"The importance of sound financial education that is accessible to the general public cannot be stressed often enough. It is the best investor protection and enables to determine one's own financial future. In the first place, it is not about implicit positive effects for the capital market or the stock exchange, but about conveying important basic knowledge of everyday relevance. This includes, among other things, a sensible weighing of opportunities and risks or the significance of the compound interest effect for individual retirement provision," says Boschan.
Principles of a sustainable investment strategy: Practical tips
The compound interest effect unfolds its impact above all by taking into account an important investment principle: the long-term. Savings plan investors who, for example, have invested 100 euros per month in an ATX Total Return portfolio since the start of the calculation in 1991, held 130,349 euros as of 30 September 2023 (before deduction of fees and taxes) – with a deposit sum of 39,400 euros.
The cornerstones for investments are:
- information about the investment products
- long-term investment horizon
- regularity of the assessment
- diversification of the portfolio
- observance of the fees
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