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Quantitative Easing: The Challenge for Households’ Long-Term Savings and Financial Security

Christian Thimann Groupe AXA ; École d’économie de Paris. Contact :

QE implies heavy consequences for the financial security of households, which strongly demand capital guarantees on their long-term savings so to have financial predictability and be able to plan for retirement income support or large asset purchases. Insurance companies as part of life insurance contracts have typically provided such capital guarantees. The paper makes three points. First, if long-term interest rates are zero, it will be difficult for households to obtain long-term savings guarantees because the insurance sector will not be able to provide them. Second, long-term savers face a catching-up problem, as the savings returns are now below the price increase of the two main long-term savings objectives: healthcare and housing. Third, the rising costs of urban dwelling implies that a rising part of household income is devoted to expenditure on housing, which means that such savings are not available for more productive uses in the economy.

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