Norwegians have become better at saving more of their paychecks since the finance crisis hit in 2008. Household debt levels remain high, but Norwegians also now have an average of NOK 200,000 (around USD 35,000) in the bank, according to a new survey from the country’s biggest bank, DNB.
That’s higher than in earlier years, when Norwegians seemed to spend or invest more of their money than save it. With tax rules that still reward debt (by allowing deductions for mortgage interest) and penalize savings (by taxing interest earned and including bank balances in the amount subject to fortune tax), having cash isn’t always an advantage.
Recent surveys, however, indicate “that many have prioritized paying down debt and building up a buffer to have cash available,” Silje Sandmæl, consumer economist at DNB, told newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.
Sandmæl said others who lost money on funds investments have instead turned to the banks and deposited money into high-interest savings accounts.