Austrians ‘have more money than Germans’

Austrians on average have more spending power than Germans, according to Allianz’s Global wealth report for 2015.

Austrians 'have more money than Germans'
Photo: Milad Mosapoor/Wikimedia

Austria placed 17th in a ranking of countries with the highest net financial assets (gross assets minus debt) per capita.

In 2014, every Austrian resident had an average of €48,416 in financial assets, making the country the 17th richest out of 50 countries.

Germany fell from 16th to 18th place, with an average of €44.769 per resident. Switzerland remains the country with the highest net financial assets per capita, with an average of €157,446 in financial assets, followed by the US with €138,714 per capita.

Debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was 51 percent in Austria – compared to 55 percent in Germany and a whopping 122 percent in Switzerland.

However, Austria is lagging behind in asset growth compared to other Western European countries. Gross financial assets (the combined total of bank deposits, securities, insurance and pension funds) grew by 2.5 percent in Austria during 2014, compared to a Western European average of 6.7 percent. Sweden saw the highest growth in assets, at 13.5 percent.

Overall, the financial assets of private households reached a record €135.7 trillion, enough to pay off the planet’s sovereign debt and still have two-thirds of the total left over, according to Allianz’s Oliver Bäte.

However, these assets are distributed unequally, with 71 percent (3.5 billion) of the planet’s population holding less than five percent of net financial assets. Eighty percent of the world’s net assets are held by the “upper wealth class”, which makes up less than 10 percent of the population.

The report shows that wealth inequality in Austria is continuing to rise, as is also the case in Germany. Austria comes in at 73.6 on the Gini coefficient (a measure of income distribution of a nation’s residents where zero is perfect equality and 100 percent is maximal inequality) – a deterioration of two points since 2000. The Gini coefficient average for developed countries is 64.6.

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How to keep your apartment cool in Austria this summer amid rising energy prices

With energy costs continuing to rise, in Austria many people are reluctant to use air conditioning in their apartments this summer. Here’s how to keep your apartment cool without breaking the bank.

How to keep your apartment cool in Austria this summer amid rising energy prices

It’s a well-known fact that air conditioning units are expensive to run – and even more so this year with spiralling energy costs.

But with temperatures in Austria already hitting the mid-30s on some days, apartment dwellers are starting to feel the heat.

What are the alternatives to air conditioning? Here’s what you need to know.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Use a fan

An electrical fan might not cool the air down as much as an air conditioning system but it is significantly cheaper to run. 

Der Standard reports that a fan uses 95 percent less energy than a mobile AC unit with an average cost of just €7 per summer (based on 60 days of use).

Whereas a mobile air conditioning unit could cost €170 in additional electricity costs.

Close blinds and curtains

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to cool down an apartment is to keep all blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep out the heat.

In Vienna, there are even government subsidies available to purchase external blinds and shutters for an apartment. Although permission from a landlord is required for rental properties.

The City of Vienna website has more information about this scheme.

Hang up wet laundry

A top tip to cool down a hot apartment is to hang up wet laundry to dry.

As the clothes dry, evaporation removes heat from the air which cools down the room. Plus, it saves more money on energy bills by not using a tumble dryer.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer

Wear clothing made from natural fibres

Wearing natural fibres is one of the best ways to stay cool in hot weather.

This means wearing clothing made from cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, lyocell or merino wool.

Bamboo and lyocell are also sustainable crops, so buying clothes made from these fibres is better for the environment too (as long as it’s from FSC-certified wood).

Drink lots of water

This is an obvious one, but it works.

Always drink plenty of water during hot weather – even when inside an apartment – as this will help to keep your body temperature down.

Additionally, try to eat a light diet during times of high temperatures, such as salads and vegetables.

READ MORE: Vienna to handout €200 payments to counter rising energy costs

Use a damp cloth

If it gets really hot at night, try using a cool damp cloth to cool the neck.

It won’t have the same effect as crisp air conditioning, but it will help to cool you down.

Last resort

If there really is no other option than air conditioning then try to use it sparingly. For example, just for a few hours at night.

Mobile air conditioning units are the most expensive with approximately 8kWh of electricity consumed during an eight hour period. However, these are easy to source at hardware stores and are simple to install.

Split units (with indoor and outdoor compartments) are cheaper to run but need to be installed by a specialist and usually require permission from a landlord. These devices use around 40 to 50 percent less energy than a mobile unit.