More than half of Brazilians who managed to save money in 2020 did so because it became more difficult to travel, go to parties, bars and restaurants.
The reduction in spending on leisure and tourism was the main contribution to the formation of savings, according to a Datafolha survey for Anbima (Brazilian Association of Financial and Capital Market Entities).
The entity calculates that 20 million people have saved with these expenses last year. In 2019, in the pre-pandemic period, the reduction of expenses with travel, bars, restaurants and parties had been identified as the source of savings by 34% of savers, equivalent to about 12 million people.
Marcelo Billi, Anbima’s superintendent of communication, certification and investor education, says that the formation of involuntary –or forced- savings was expected given the restrictions on circulation, which led to a drop in consumption.
The Datafolha survey for Anbima was carried out with 3,408 economically active people, from classes A, B and C. The interviews were carried out between November 17th and December 17th. Involuntary saving, says Marcelo Billi, appears more in classes A and B.
In the lower-income strata, this was also perceived, but, according to him, in a less homogeneous way. In class C, the year 2020 had more loans than savings.
Among those who managed to save money, forced reductions in spending were the main savings inducer.
In 2020, according to Anbima, 36% of Brazilians managed to save. Last year, this percentage was 38%. “The proportion of people who managed to save does not drop that much compared to 2019”, says Billi.
“And it’s strange, because we know that people had a reduction in their income, they lost their jobs. “[A poupança] it came from this impossibility for people to spend. [A economia] it doesn’t come as a strategy.”
Anbima’s data show that 55% of respondents had a drop in income, 10% of which had a total loss in income.
The other behaviors that citizens adopted to guarantee a financial reserve ended up losing ground last year. The second biggest source of savings, says the survey, was the cut in spending on purchases considered unnecessary, pointed out by 24% of savers. In 2019, the reason was retired by 47% of the ears.
The increase in the economy through the impossibility of traveling and going out, also caused a drop in the percentage of savers who used expense control and the separation of part of their salary to guarantee their financial reserve. These two reasons were mentioned by 19% and 11% of savers, respectively. They accounted for 34% and 35% in the previous year.
According to the survey, 7% of Brazilians who saved in 2020 said they had saved because “they have nowhere to spend”. There are about 2.5 million people with reduced expenses due to the impacts of the health crisis that started in March of last year.
“The impossibility of spending kept the proportion of savers at the level similar to 2018”, says Billi. Two years ago, 33% of Brazilians said they had managed to save.
This involuntary savings made the passbook break successive fundraising records in 2020.
Central Bank data show that, from January to December, deposits exceeded withdrawals by R$ 166.3 billion, the highest value registered by the monetary authority since the beginning of the historical series, in January 1995. Previously, the record had been recorded in 2013, when the difference was R$71 billion.
In addition to the pandemic control measures, which included closing shops and services to reduce the movement of people, the result of savings is also attributed to the payment of benefits by the government.
Last year, in addition to emergency aid, paid to informal workers, beneficiaries of the Bolsa Família and unemployment benefits, the federal government also released the withdrawal of up to R$ 1,045 from the FGTS (Guarantee Fund for Time of Service).
For the Central Bank, Brazilians also made a precautionary saving in 2020, from the postponement of purchases, given the uncertainties regarding the duration of the pandemic and the speed of economic recovery. In 2020, Brazilians deposited R$3.1 trillion in the passbook. Withdrawals totaled R$2.9 trillion.
This year, savings accumulated three months of negative results, that is, with more withdrawals than deposits. In April, however, net funding turned positive again and deposits exceeded withdrawals by R$3.84 billion.
For Marcelo Billi, from Anbima, it is natural that part of the involuntary savings formed in 2020 will become consumption this year. However, he bets that the period of restrictions will leave a learning experience as to the importance of maintaining some conduct of financial planning.
“People will go back to spending, but there are those who will save for the memory of the difficult period. It is possible that the desire for financial planning will become greater”, he says.