Fourteen percent of Swedes consider having nine months’ salary in the bank ideal, compared to 4 to 5 percent among residents of other Nordic countries, according to Nordea, which interviewed 4,000 respondents in the region.
“I think that we need to reflect a bit more about what is an appropriate buffer. A buffer takes time to save up for and we must be conscious of what it should cover,” Nordea’s private economist Ingela Gabrielsson wrote in a statement on Wednesday.
“The more financial commitments we have, the greater the buffer that is needed,” she added.
Nearly half of the residents in Nordic countries believe that having two to three months’ salary in the bank is enough, but only a quarter of respondents actually manage to achieve this goal, according to Nordea.
Attitudes towards buffer savings vary significantly among the Nordic countries. Ten percent of Danes do not think buffer savings are necessary at all, compared to low single-digit percentages in the other countries and only one percent of Swedes who share the same view.
The survey also found a gap between how much respondents had actually saved up and what they hoped to put away financially. According to Nordea, 14 percent of Nordic residents had no buffer at all.
In Sweden, the figure was 16 percent, while at the same time, another 16 percent had a buffer equivalent to nine months’ salary or more.
Among Swedes, the figure hovers around 7 percent who think that a month’s wages are a sufficient buffer, compared to 20 percent in Denmark. Seventy-seven percent of Swedes have a buffer of one month’s salary or more, on a par with its Nordic neighbors, where Finns topped the list at 83 percent.
“I think this is a rather good figure. At the same time, slightly over 20 percent of Swedes have very little in buffer savings, and there I think one should think about whether it is actually sufficient. Start by listing which expenses might pop up,” said Gabrielsson.
Ten percent of Swedish youth aged 16 to 25 think that nine months’ salary or more is a good buffer. In the other countries, only a couple of percent believe such a high buffer is necessary. Twenty-three percent of Nordic youth have no buffer at all, with the figure as high as 30 percent in Denmark.
“Among young people, youth unemployment and increasingly prolonged studies result in obstacles in building upp financial security,” wrote Gabrielsson.
One in five young Finns and Norwegians do not know how large their buffer is. Among young Swedes, the figure is 10 percent.
“My advice to everyone is to look over your buffer, whether small, large or nonexistent,” said Gabrielsson.