“The savings account is a huge brake on growth in this country: Currently, about four million Austrians have a net financial assets of less than 16,000 euros – and thus form, as in 2000, the domestic asset sub-class,” Martin Bruckner, Chief Investment Officer of the Allianz Group in Austria, commented on the results of a recent Allianz study comparing the composition of asset classes in 53 countries to move up into the middle class.
50-40-10: No change in the asset classes in Austria
In the current survey, the population is divided into three asset classes: The asset subclass includes all those whose financial resources are below 30 percent of the average net financial assets per capita. The upper class limit is over 180 percent of the average net financial assets per capita, and the asset class is between these two values. In Austria, half the population currently has a net financial assets per capita of less than 15,590 euros, 40 percent between 15,590 euros and 93,560 euros, 10 percent own more than 93,560 euros. In 2000, these thresholds were still at 8,570 euros and 51,420 euros – in the distribution of asset classes, however, nothing has changed: “A ‘glass ceiling’ separates one half of Austrians from the other.
Global asset class: doubling to 1 billion people
Looking at global trends, since 2000, the global asset class has more than doubled from around 450 million to more than a billion people. The majority of the new members of the middle class recruited from the asset subclass, just under 600 million people since 2000, the rise succeeded. Above all, the households of the emerging middle class in the emerging markets benefited from the asset growth of recent years – alone since the year 2010, 400 million Chinese have made it to the middle class. The global asset sub-class currently has around 5.5 billion people (net financial assets per capita below 7,700 euros) and the upper asset class (net assets per capita over 45,900 euros) about 550 million people.
Ascent environment: education, long-term planning and capital coverage
In order to give a broad segment of the population the opportunity to move up to the next higher asset classes, three points should be given special consideration, as the study authors emphasize, referring to developments worldwide: positive for asset growth and distribution are consistent policies for education and equal opportunities (as in Scandinavia), long-term investment behavior, eg through the widespread promotion of funded old-age provision (eg the Netherlands) and economic growth (China). Conclusion: “The key to a more balanced distribution of wealth lies in facilitating advancement – financial education plays a decisive role in this,” concludes Bruckner.