Slideshows | February 17, 2016

Where do Europe’s wealthiest people live?

Do people in Spain have more wealth on average than in Germany? As surprising as it might sound, research by ING suggests this might well be the case.

Suggesting that Spaniards might have higher net wealth than people in Germany might come as a shock given headlines in the aftermath of the global financial crisis about Spanish debt problems. A study for the Think Forward Initiative by ING head of macroeconomics Maarten Leen examines household assets and liabilities to calculate the overall wealth. It looks at 12 countries.

Leen says wealth may exist as a house, bank deposit, share portfolio or another way and is important for long-term security. “Income may allow families to escape poverty and maintain a certain standard of living but assets can generate longer-term stability as they create a financial buffer for emergencies or retirement.”

How do we store wealth?
The study finds the average wealth portfolio in the Eurozone is 50% real estate and 17% for both currency and bank deposits and pensions. Shares and equities are 14%, with the remaining two percent comprising debt securities, loans, derivatives and employee stock options.

There are more details on the different countries in the infographic below.




Top of the table

Belgium is wealthiest of the 12 countries in the study, with net assets of €451,100 per household, on average, in 2015.


Eight times the income

The Netherlands is second in the table, with net assets of €356,700 per household in 2015 – about eight times the average annual income. Household assets in Spain and Belgium also average about eight times annual earnings.


Spain wealthier than Germany?

Average net assets in Spain come to €306,000 per household, compared with Germany’s €204,300, in 2015. Spain’s higher home ownership may explain its position, relative to core European countries.


The cash or the house?

The lowest average wealth in the study was in Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece - where more than 50% of assets are held as currency and bank deposits, versus 20% or less in Finland and the Netherlands.

Click here to view the PDF.

SavingHousingIncomeMoneyAsset allocationCash

eZonomics team
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