Jun 22, 2020 Equities

5 reasons in favor of regular fund saving (in times of corona)

High valuations, potential losses – there are thousand reasons against investing in capital markets. And thousand and one reasons in favor of doing so – for example, with fund saving plans.

  • Covid-19 has further entrenched low interest rates. No positive returns in sight for traditional fixed-income products.
  • Investors, who do not want to take the risk of their savings not yielding any returns even in the long run, must look beyond call money and government bonds.
  • Selected shares, corporate bonds, open-ended property funds or mixed funds are promising higher return potentials. All these investment products are offered in saving plans.
3 minutes to read

All over the world, governments have issued huge debt-financed stimulus programs in reaction to the corona crisis, and central banks have massively purchased bonds. Most experts regard this an adequate remedy to alleviate the impact of Covid-19. Corporations, employees, consumers – all of them will benefit. So far, so good. But this medicine does come with side-effects.

Debt-financed stimulus programs as well as the accomodative monetary policy of central banks will make low interest rates stay around for much longer. Uncertainties in the wake of Covid-19 and its consequences will additionally trigger higher market volatility.

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“Only 38% of the respondents to the DWS study expect higher returns from investment funds than from savings accounts.”

Risk aversion hampers successful wealth accumulation

This will affect all those who pursue longer-term saving targets. At this juncture, investors should review their investment behavior and adjust their risk tolerance, an important topic in every investment. Why? Because investor expectations do not always really comply with investment behavior. A DWS survey of roughly 10,000 persons revealed that successful wealth accumulation was an important milestone on the path to life goals for about half of the respondents.[1]

Wealth will, however, be easier to build, if money is not only put aside but if its value is increased. But here, many things are going wrong. In the DWS saving study, only 38% of respondents expected the long-term savings potential of investment funds to exceed savings accounts. To reiterate: savings accounts have not yielded any returns for years. Compound interest – dead loss.

But there are alternatives around. Saving via investment funds, where money is invested in assets with higher return potentials in the long run. Examples are equity funds, funds investing in higher yielding bonds, real estate funds or mixed funds. There is a choice.

Too risky? There are five reasons making it worthwhile for savers to review their perception of risk. Only in this way, today’s non-consumption – because this is what saving really is – could be turned into a bit more consumption tomorrow. It is irrelevant whether the money saved is planned for financing a car, real estate, your children’s education or your own old-age provisioning.

1. Short-term fixed-income assets threaten to shrink your wealth

According to the DWS fund study, the Germans’ most favorite investments are call money and term deposits (47% of households), followed by life and old-age insurances (40%).[2] Both investments have long since suffered from permanent low interest rates, which are presumably here to stay. The performance of 3-month term money clearly illustrates this issue. Although this kind of investment still yielded positive returns even after tax and inflation during the 1990s, this was hardly the case from 2000 onwards. To put it bluntly: the value of the money invested shrank..

2. Of late, even long-term fixed-income products such as Bunds turned wealth accumulation into an expensive luxury

There is an unwritten rule in the financial world: graphs depicting investments should be upwards sloped from the bottom on the left side to the top on the right, which is usually equal to positive performance. However, in case of long-term interest rates, this curve has long since taken the opposite direction, sloping steadily downwards. Even long-term rates, for example of 10-year Bunds, have been pushed into negative territory. This not only affects investors directly investing in these assets but also holders of traditional life insurances since they must mandatorily allocate a substantial part of their capital to fixed-income securities.

3. There are still investment opportunities – and not only stocks

“What counts is what comes out.” The decisive issue for investments is real returns, i. e. returns after inflation. This is also the view held by the majority of investors, as the DWS study on saving behavior shows. 35% of respondents would like to achieve returns compensating at least for inflation after deducting costs. 27% want to achieve market returns, and 4% would like to beat markets. All these targets can be served by different investment opportunities. In the past five years, this has been possible with stocks, corporate bonds and real estate funds. These prospects should not really change in the foreseeable future.

4. There is no such thing as the right market entry point

Covid-19 has shown once again that capital markets are not a long quiet river. Strong price fluctuations are always possible for both, stocks and corporate bonds. But this should not argue against investing in these assets. At least not for those investing their money for a longer term, let’s say ten years or more. What is important is being invested at all. Otherwise, the simple but valid market adage will come true: “Who is not invested in the downslide will not be invested in the upswing.” This is actually the crux: stock exchange profits are often made within only a couple of days. The Deutsche Institut für Altersvorsorge (German Institute for Old-Age Provisioning) has taken a closer look: if you had been continuously invested with €1,000 in German blue chips between 1999 and mid-2016, your capital would have more than doubled to €2,124. If you only missed the ten top days, your capital would have been almost halved to €552. Missing the best 40 stock-exchange days, would have left the investor with only €216. The conclusion, therefore, is that it pays to be steadily invested.[3]

5. Fund savings plans reduce the pressure on investors to take decisions

An appropriate means to evade the permanent issue of the right entry date are fund saving plans. The saver continuously invests smaller amounts without looking out for the ideal entry point. The saving plan buys at lower and higher prices. Another benefit of saving plans is the disciplined, regular investment.

1. 2020 DWS fund study; 10,020 interviews, respondents from 18 to 65 years in Germany, sample period: 10/8/19 through 10/30/19

2. 2020 DWS fund study; 10,020 interviews, sample period: 10/8/19 through 10/30/19

3. Source: Deutsches Institut für Altersvorsorge, Aktienanlage: Wenige Börsentage entscheiden (German Institute for Old-Age Provisioning, Investing in Stocks: a few trading days make the difference); as of 8/24/16

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Legal information on the investment calculator

Non-binding model calculation The data provided to you, in particular the performance data, may be different in practice, which inevitably means that the end result may be quite different from your calculations. It is not possible to carry forward a collective investment scheme's past performance into the future. The actual performance depends on the future market development and, therefore, may end up being lower or higher. To that extent, this data only amounts to a non-binding model calculation. Fiscal aspects are not included in the sample invoice. The performance was calculated using the BVI method, i.e. it does not include initial charges. In the event of a DWS/Deutsche Asset Management withdrawal plan, DWS/Deutsche Asset Management will not make any adjustment to the withdrawal amount in respect of performance. However, the current income must be adjusted to the current value, in order to achieve the goal of consuming the target's s in the specified period of time. This data only amounts to a non-binding model calculation, errors in calculation excepted. The following applies, when using the estimated annual performance, based on the past performance of the collective investment scheme: the past performance of the collective investment scheme is only an indication but not a guarantee of future performance during the period you selected. This means that the value of the period you selected is calculated retrospectively from today for the period of time specified by you and then presented as an indication of future performance, although it is not indicative of future results. The actual performance depends entirely on future market development.