Investing

The Ten Countries Where People Save the Most Money

10. Austria
> Pct. savings: 9.1%
> Unemployment: 4.4%
> Disposable income: $27,670
> Debt as a % of GDP: 78.6%
> Pct. earnings paid to taxes: 32.7%

Austrians pay a total 32.7% of their wealth in a combination of income tax and social security. Despite this, the country has the third highest disposable income among OECD countries. Simply put, Austrians have a lot of money. This is due, in part, to the fact that a relatively large number of Austrians work longer hours than average. After paying taxes, Austrians put 9.1% of their earnings into savings.

9. Australia
> Pct. savings: 9.3%
> Unemployment: 5.2%
> Disposable income: $27,039
> Debt as a % of GDP: 25.3%
> Pct. earnings paid to taxes: 22%

Australia was one of the few economies to exit the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. The resource-rich country has benefited from rising energy and commodity prices. Unemployment in Australia is low and household income is quite high. The government collects no social security tax, and residents spend just 22% of their gross income on taxes. While Australians work longer hours than most, they also spend very little time on personal care and leisure. The additional time Australians spend at work and the little time and money they spend on self-indulgence resulted in a savings rate of 9.3% in 2010.

8. Portugal
> Pct. savings: 9.8%
> Unemployment: 12%
> Disposable income: $18,540
> Debt as a % of GDP: 103.1%
> Pct. earnings paid to taxes: 22.3%

Residents of Portugal save almost 10% of their disposable income. Given the country’s challenged economic condition, this is almost certainly a good idea. In 2010, the country had an unemployment rate of 12%. That same year, the government’s debt was 103.1% of GDP. The average Portuguese worker earns less than $25,000 per year. The relatively low wage may be a function of the country’s low level of educational attainment. Only 28.25% of Portuguese citizens ages 25 to 54 have a high school diploma or higher — the lowest rate in the OECD.

7. Switzerland
> Pct. savings: 10.1%
> Unemployment: 4.2%
> Disposable income: $27,542
> Debt as a % of GDP: 40.2%
> Pct. earnings paid to taxes: 21.5%

The Swiss are notorious both for their and wealth and their thriftiness. In 2008, the average disposable income was in the top five highest in the OECD. This is largely because Switzerland has the highest household wealth in the developed world and an income tax rate in the bottom third among OECD nations. Like its citizens, Switzerland was one of only two OECD nations (along with Norway) to have a budget surplus, and government debt as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in the world.

6. Sweden
> Pct. savings: 10.8%
> Unemployment: 8.4%
> Disposable income: $26,543
> Debt as a % of GDP: 45.4%
> Pct. earnings paid to taxes: 25.3%

Swedes save a large portion of their earnings. Government debt is less than 50% of GDP, and in 2010 the country’s deficit was a mere 0.3% of GDP. The Swedish are highly educated, and their system is working well. The country is tied with Norway for having the lowest percentage of people working long hours in the OECD, a mere 0.01%.

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