Time passes, time passes, and a savings account remains one of the main investment options for many Brazilians – including those who have easy access to more profitable alternatives.
There are currently about 24,000 savings accounts with a balance of more than R$1 million, according to April data from the Credit Guarantee Fund (FGC). Together, they add up to R$51.9 billion in investments – resulting in an average of just under R$2.2 million per account.
For analysts and economists, the option to keep that much money in the account at the moment is untenable – and the reason is the return. Savings compensate deposits with an interest rate of 0.5% per month (or 6.17% per year) plus a change in the reference rate (TR), which has been at zero for years.
The Selic benchmark rate is 12.75% per annum, with a high chance of a rise from 13% on Wednesday (15), when there is a new decision by the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (Copom). .
By insisting on the passbook, “savings millionaires” lose money individually – and even more so together. To be more precise, they fail to earn up to R$2.5 billion per year by not migrating resources to more profitable alternatives.
The simulation was conducted by Camila Dolly, Head of Fixed Income at XP Investimentos, and compares how much R$51.9 billion belonging to this group would pay out more if invested in other securities. In the brochure, this value will become R$55.9 billion at the end of one year.
The number will be much higher in other applications – as secure as or more passbook. In the smart treasury, a post-fixed one-year guarantee available in direct treasury, the final value will rise to R$57.9 billion, with income tax already deducted.
And you’ll get to more relevant numbers in bank bonds. With CDB revenue of 110% of the CDI rate (the main indicator of fixed income), it will reach R$58.1 billion. And with LCA (Letter of Credit for Agribusiness) at 95% of CDI, it could reach R$58.4 billion. Check the simulation details in the table below:
“There is complacency, lethargy, fear, little financial education,” says Camilla, for whom savings is not under any circumstances a reasonable investment with Selic at the levels they are. In addition to low profitability, other characteristics have been cited as the advantages of the ledger – ease of refunds, for example – in other relatively easy-to-access applications.
Procrastination, inertia or fear
Procrastination, inertia, or fear are often the most common reasons even for people with large savings to keep their money in savings. “These are people who don’t know what to do with the amount, and in order not to leave it completely stuck in their checking account, they apply it in the passbook, to think about it later. Time passes and it stays there,” says Nélio Costa, a certified financial planner (CFP).
Although this does not seem logical from a financial attractiveness standpoint, the behavior is consistent with people’s natural tendency to “stay where they are,” says Patricia Palomo, Head of Investments at Unicred do Brasil. “Even considering the possibility that a small change in your situation could provide an increase in well-being, the aversion to change that the new decision brings has a crippling effect on the investor,” he says.
Investing in savings is easy, says Patricia. “What an investor should do is…nothing,” he says. “This is very convenient from an emotional point of view, the individual does not need to make any decisions.”
You also don’t need to go to great lengths to rescue. Savings have daily liquidity, and not being “stalled” on an investment with a maturity date is usually seen as an advantage. However, it is not difficult to find other investments with the same characteristic – especially for values in the million riyals.
“There are other products that also offer this positive point of savings, without the negative points, like monthly profitability, which is really bad on the ledger,” Costa says. It refers to the fact that savings income is credited only on the anniversary date, which is the same day of the month in which the application was made. If you redeem the resources the day before, you will lose the month’s wages.
Another advantage of saving, the exemption from income tax on profitability is also not limited to the ledger. Applications in LCAs and LCIs (real estate letters of credit) are also not taxed. Even compared to fixed income investments that suffer a lion’s bite, the savings waiver doesn’t always pay off, because rates drop (from 22.5% to 15%) the longer the investment lasts.
For very short application deadlines, keeping resources may make sense. “But given the monthly capitalization, if the investor has alternatives like CDB, that’s even better, even if it’s marginal,” Costa says.
How to diversify a fixed income portfolio being conservative?
The risks of investing in fixed-income securities issued by institutions other than those they are used to may be what drives “savings millionaires” away from other investments. But there are options with equivalent levels of risk – however much more profitable.
“At the current interest rate, once the savings position is carried over to floating-rate bonds from the national treasury, the income gains will already be relevant,” says Patricia of UniCredit. “This move will not increase the investment risk and will also improve the liquidity situation, because in savings the investor may have to give up part of the income to get to the resource quickly, which is not the case with a smart treasury.”
According to Camilla’s simulation, starting with XP, the annual net return will increase from about 8% per year in savings (taking into account the forecast TR of 0.13% per month) to 11% per year in Selic Treasury maturing in 2025.
If the investor can overcome the inertia and is willing to monitor his investment closely, the investor can also look for securities covered by the Credit Guarantee Fund (FGC), the same type of “insurance” that guarantees deposits in the ledger. FGC returns up to R$250,000 per investor (CPF) and per institution in the event of a more serious financial problem – such as central bank intervention.
“In this case, the investor has to start getting to know the issuers, so starting with traditional names might be a good idea, since larger banks generally have higher credit ratings and still offer higher net rates of return than savings,” Patricia suggests. The yield could be better for longer periods, if all the resources were not needed to be accessed immediately.
For Costa, diversification of terms is one of the first things that can be implemented in the fixed income portfolio of someone who invests in savings. “The portfolio can be divided into segments, with different maturities, with longer paybacks increasing profitability,” he said. The idea is, little by little, to create a maturity flow that ensures access to at least a portion of the capital each month,” he suggests.
Camila mentions that there are other ways to diversify into fixed income, besides this. Indexes can be combined, with a portion of fixed rate applications, a portion of a floating rate and a portion associated with inflation. There are also many issuers, many of which have high credit ratings (which measure the possibility of “defaulting”). “It is possible to maintain a conservative and diversified portfolio at the same time,” he says. Investors can focus more on floating-rate securities [menos sujeitos à volatilidade de mercado] And having a little fixed income linked to inflation, with changing terms, for example.”
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