Frankfurt am Main / Dusseldorf – Currently, the interest rates for investments in the basement. Whether daily money or fixed deposits, multi-year savings bonds or federal securities – rarely there are more than four percent. Some people find it more sensible to spend the money or leave it under the pillow. However, this does not protect against a rising inflation rate. Many experts see them coming in the wake of the debt crisis. With the following tips, even small savers invest their money profitably.
Calculating real interest rates : The currently low interest rates are frustrating for savers. However, Eberhard Beer of “Die Alten Hasen”, a network of independent financial experts based in Frankfurt, reminds that the interest rate alone has little significance. Anyone who deducts the inflation rate from interest receives the so-called real interest rate.
“I always have to see the interest rate in connection with the currency devaluation: If I get 2 percent interest and the inflation is 0, then that is the same as 5 percent interest with an inflation of 3 percent,” calculates Beer. Recently, the Federal Statistical Office for May announced an inflation rate of 1.2 percent compared to the same month last year. This also explains that providers with 4 percent are currently top.
The goal in view: “The initial question must always be: What do I want to achieve with my investment?” Says Beer. “Is it for the grandchild or for the pension plan? Investment strategy and product selection must be based on the goals.” They can be short-term or long-term, the product more rigid or flexible.
“Anyone who wants to build up a liquidity reserve for the next two years in order to be able to cope with larger expenditures at any time must invest differently than for old-age provision,” says Holger Handstein from the Consumer Affairs Center of North Rhine-Westphalia. The shorter the investment time, the less risk the investment should hold.
Daily allowance and fixed deposit: “When you build up an iron reserve, you have to make sure that you always get the money – and that means overnight money or passbook,” says Handstein. Savings books, overnight money accounts or federal securities: These are conservative investment variants. The advantage of overnight money over long-term investment forms: If interest rates rise, the money can be quickly switched to higher-interest-rate products.
Often offers from direct banks are attractive, says Beer. “But you should definitely pay attention to a deposit guarantee according to German standards.” In addition, some banks pay monthly interest rates on the overnight money account, others quarterly, others annually. “With large sums it can be worthwhile to receive frequent interest payments, because interest rates are directly re-calculated.”
Often the offers are limited in time or the investment is limited – another selection criterion. Fixed-term accounts are less flexible than daily available overnight deposits: you have to decide for what time the money is fixed. Another option is Federal Treasury letters. “They bring less interest than call money or fixed-term offers,” says Handstein. Beer does not consider federal securities worthwhile.
Equities: If you are too uncertain, you do not have to buy one. However, the experts believe that even small amounts can certainly move into shares. “But you should avoid buying single stocks,” says Handstein. “Then the risk can not be spread”. In addition, stock exchange fees apply. Handstein therefore pleads for fund savings plans. “Both the risk diversification and the fee burden are justifiable there.”
But how do I choose correctly? Marco Cabras of the German Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz in Dusseldorf advises to look for “defensive” companies: “These are energy suppliers, pharmaceutical companies or insurers.” “You should orient yourself by what you know – German values.”
Gold: The fear of inflation makes many people think about turning their money into gold. Beer advises against that – gold is too speculative for small assets. After all, this commodity is traded and prices can go up and down quickly. Interest does not bring the precious metal either.
Understand and prepare: The most important thing is to understand the banking products. This includes not being forced on anything. “The product has to satisfy my demands,” says Beer. “And if I can not judge that myself, then I ask someone who has a clue, but does not want to sell me anything.”