Better put it in the bank

Greeks are beginning to grasp that the state-managed social security system will not provide them with an adequate pension and are increasingly turning to private insurance, a survey indicates. The survey was conducted by GFK Market Analysis in the United States and several European countries, Greece among them. A total of 14,193 respondents (1,250 in Greece) were asked where they invest their savings and where they would invest 50,000 euros, if given the money. Americans and other Europeans invest a greater part of their savings in insurance policies and private pension programs (44 and 45 percent respectively) than Greeks (32 percent). If given 50,000 euros, Greeks and other Europeans would invest less in the above programs (16 percent and 35 percent of their savings, respectively), while Americans would invest more (54 percent). Specifically, if Greeks had 50,000 euros available as savings (which, in any case, 91 percent of them do not) they would prefer to deposit it in the bank (33 percent) than invest in insurance policies (10 percent), bonds (8 percent), private pension programs (6 percent), shares (6 percent), equity funds (3 percent) or other mutual funds (3 percent). Another 31 percent would spend it otherwise, many buying property. Asked if they would prefer having their money in a low-interest savings or deposit account or get insurance policies with potentially higher returns, 68 percent said they would rather opt for the accounts. Greeks’ investment in private insurance and pension programs is increasing, but only slowly. Their experience with share buying in the summer of 1999, when about 1.5 million investment accounts were opened, and the subsequent lengthy fall, have left them suspicious of risky investments.