Only 16.2% of Germans invest in stocks - what do the rest of them do with their wealth?

In 2018, around 10.3 million citizens owned shares or equity funds; that's 16.2 percent of the population. 36,5% are over 60 years old.
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Around 10.3 million citizens own shares or equity funds - why invest in shares?


The German Stock Institute (DAI) publishes an annual study on the behavior of the population on the subject of stock investments for wealth creation and retirement provision.

In 2018, a total of around 10.3 million citizens owned shares or equity funds; that's 16.2 percent of the population. The number of share owners has thus returned to the level before the financial crisis. The positive development in the number of shareholders is based solely on the increasing number of owners of equity fund and mixed fund units.


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Nevertheless, the share plays a rather subordinate role in asset accumulation and retirement provision. Germans still invest their money far too often without interest or with very low interest instead of in shares in current accounts and savings accounts, or rely on insurance savings. This behavior is of course also based on the fear of loss. Investors can build up savings faster and more easily with the share investment or make provisions for old age, since shares generate higher income in the long term.


8.9% average return of the DAX

Anyone who invested in the shares of the German share index DAX participated in the price development and dividends of the major German stock market stocks. For example, with an investment period of 20 years, you could earn an average return of 8.9 percent per year on the money invested. In the worst case, the annual return was 3.8 percent, in the best it was 15.2 percent. This is shown, for example, by the return triangle of Deutsche Aktieninstituts.

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Return triangle of the Deutsches Aktieninstitut (DAI) - as of December 2018










36.5% of the stockholders are over 60 years old

The age groups of 40 to 49 year olds and 50 to 59 year olds currently have the greatest affinity for stocks with 20.5 percent and 18.8 percent of the respective population group, respectively. Closely followed by the age group over 60 years (17.6 percent). The younger ones can't keep up here. Only 11.1 percent of the 14 to 39 year old age group are shareholders. The strongest age group in absolute terms was again people over 60 in 2018. In the meantime, almost 3.8 million and thus a third of all stockholders fall into this age group. Younger people tend to have less income and less financial leeway at the beginning of their working life. They tend to pursue shorter-term savings goals and are therefore less invested in stocks. The following graphic shows what percentage of each age group invest in stocks.

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Age group: invest in stocks (source: DAI)








Thankfully, Deutsches Aktieninstitut provided us with further details on the study. We were interested in how the 10.3 million shareholders break down by age group. 8.8% of the shareholders are under 30 years old, 32.4% between 30 and 49, 22.1% between 50 and 59 and more than 36% are even older than 60.


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Distribution of shareholders in Germany according to age groups









Every third (31.4%) shareholder earns more than 4,000 euros a month

It is also interesting to consider which income groups own stocks or equity funds. In the income group of 4,000 euros or more, every third person (31.4%) owns shares or equity funds. With a monthly household income of 3,000 to 4,000 euros, the rate is 19.2%. 13.8% have a net income of 2,000 to 3,000 euros, 6.6% between 1,000 and 2,000 euros and 3.8% less than 1,000 euros.


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Income structure of the shareholders









Only 8.7% of private financial wealth in stocks

According to the Deutsche Bundesbank, private households have invested just € 529 billion of their financial assets of € 6,052 billion in stocks or equity funds. This corresponds to a share of around 8.7 percent. In comparison, insurance savings account for 37.3 percent (2,257 billion euros) and 39.7 percent (2,405 billion euros) for cash and usually zero to low interest bank deposits.


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Distribution of financial assets (source: DAI)











So it remains a challenge to get the population in Germany closer to investing in shares. Since stocks represent the more profitable variant as an investment form in the long term, we hope that interest among the younger generation will continue to grow.

The misunderstandings and fears about investing in stocks are still deep. Many no longer trust the stock recommendations in the media and the so-called stock experts. Of course, we also know that it is not easy to find the most profitable companies from the large number of stock corporations.


Our recommendation: familiarize yourself with investing in stocks and form your own opinion!

TransparentShare will help you with this. The app rates stocks with objective key figures and offers understandable stock valuation for everyone. Try TransparentShare Premium free of charge for 14 days.

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