How do Polish people accumulate savings?

Even if we put anything aside, we usually keep our savings in deposit accounts or in cash, which means that our money actually loses value instead of growing. How can we prevent this? PPKs (Employee Capital Plans) are a solution that teaches us how to accumulate savings efficiently over a long period.

Jak oszczędzają Polacy oszczędzanie, oszczędności, finanse osobiste

The estimated savings of Polish people are more than 1.5 trillion zloty. Over a half of this amount is kept in deposit accounts or as term deposits. Although the total accumulated savings have been increasing for several years now, the saving efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. Over a half of this amount is kept in deposit accounts or as term deposits. According to the National Bank of Poland, Poles had 871 billion zloty in banks at the end of Q3 2019, with 2/3 of that amount kept in current accounts [1].

If we compare the current interest rate of popular terms deposits, which is about 1.3%, to inflation, which was 3.4% at the end of December 2019, according to the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), we can clearly see that our money loses value instead of growing.

So why do we so often choose solutions that are not the best for us from an economic perspective? Our conservatism and tendency to choose the simplest and the most familiar financial products arises largely from our economic history and the transformations that took place in Poland. For many years, banks were the only institutions associated with the accumulation of savings, and this belief still continues.

In the 1990s, the capital market and investment funds emerged, but any attempts to build social trust for this market and to associate it with generally known and understandable products have been so far unsuccessful. This lack of knowledge about the capital market and its possibilities is confirmed in surveys. According to the Report on Polish Savings, which concludes a study conducted by Kantar Public for the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK), Poles are unfamiliar with many available financial products. Only 10% of respondents declared to any knowledge about investment funds and the way they work [2].

Is it possible to change the attitude of Polish people to financial instruments? I believe so, but this requires a lot of work and commitment on the part of financial institutions.

Employee Capital Plans most certainly open new possibilities in this respect as their introduction has sparked a general discussion about savings. The whole capital market was involved in the creation of the PPKs from the very beginning, which is why so many institutions became engaged in the organisation of meetings and training for employers, business organisations, various professional groups or trade unions. Those educational activities have already been initiated and I hope that in time they will bear fruit in the form of more informed investment decisions and more courage on the part of Polish people in taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the capital market.

[1], Oszczędności puchną, inwestycje kuleją
[2] UOKIK, Raport: Inwestycje Polaków

Publish date:   11 February 2020
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Author of the article

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Ewa Małyszko

Ewa Małyszko, CEO of PFR TFI. An economist with many years of experience in creating and managing financial institutions. She specialises in issues connected with pension funds. Recognised in the Businesswomen ranking of the Businessman Magazine and in TOP 50 Best Managers in Poland. She actively promotes long-term saving and modern retirement pension solutions.

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