The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 6, 2013

Families hoard cash five years after crisis

(Continued)

Americans pulled the most money out over five years — $521 billion from stock mutual funds, or 9 percent of their holdings, according to Lipper. But investors in other countries sold an even larger share of their holdings: Germans dumped 13 percent; Italians and French, more than 16 percent each.

The French are "not very oriented to risk," says Cyril Blesson, an economist at Pair Conseil, an investment consultancy in Paris. "Now, it's even worse."

It's gotten worse in China, Russia, Japan and the United Kingdom, too.

Fu Lili, 31, a psychologist in Fu Xin, a city in northeastern China, says she made about 20,000 yuan ($3,267) buying and selling stocks before the crisis, more than 10 times her monthly salary then. But she won't touch them now, because she's too scared.

In Moscow, Yuri Shcherbanin, 32, a manager for an oil company, says the crash proved stocks were dangerous and he should content himself with money in the bank.

Hirokazu Suyama, 26, a musician in Tokyo, dismisses stock investing as "gambling."

In London, Pavlina Samson, 39, owner of a jewelry and clothes shop, says stocks are too "risky." What's also driving her away may be something that runs deeper: "People feel like they're being ripped off everywhere," she says.

Holzhausen, the Allianz economist, says people are shunning stocks for the same reason they're shunning other investments that involve risk — less a cold calculation of whether the price is right and more a mistrust of nearly everything financial.

"People want to get as much distance as possible from the financial system," he says. "They want to be in control of their financial matters. People no longer trust in the markets."

In India, where the growing middle class seems perfect for stocks, people were pulling out even before the economy deteriorated in recent months. Indians dumped 15 percent of their holdings in the five years after the crisis.

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