Roaring 2020s: Belgians saved a total of €23 billion during crisis
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Roaring 2020s: Belgians saved a total of €23 billion during crisis

Credit: Belga

In the midst of this economic and health crisis, people in Belgium managed to save €23 billion, a figure exceeding the numbers from previous years, according to the annual report of the National Bank.

This amounts to just over one-fifth (21%) of Belgian residents’ average disposable income, otherwise known as the money that people retain of their income after taxes, including wages but also income from capital and social benefits.

The so-called saving ratio, which hasn’t peaked this high since the 2009 financial crisis, usually averages around 13% of people’s disposable income in Belgium.

As expected, the main explanation given for this skyrocketing of savings is the pandemic and the resulting measures. In most cases (46%), people in Belgium spent less money on travel, outings or restaurants because of the lockdowns in spring and autumn.

Just 13% spent less due to a loss in income.

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Our own roaring twenties

Although there has been a decrease in spending in the last months, these figures do feed the hope for a quick economic recovery.

“There is even talk of the roaring twenties (a reference to the 1920s, a post-war period known for its mass consumerism). If we really have the virus under control, it is not inconceivable to think that people will want to party and spend more, as a compensation for the year 2020,” said Governor at the National Bank of Belgium, Pierre Wunsch.

However, this is not in the cards for everyone. As happens during every financial crisis, the greatest impact is felt by the more economically vulnerable groups, including agency workers, temporary workers and freelancers, an occurrence which has been amplified during this pandemic, as the industries of these people were hit hardest.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

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