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Monday, July 05, 2004

(Small businesses) The difference in stock investment between the "salarymen" and self-employed

Korean Development Institute (KDI) has surveyed, that there's a remarkable difference in the scale of investment in stocks between the white-collar middle class ("salarymen") and the self-employed (In Chosun Ilbo). To be precise, they are "wage earners" (imgûm sodûkcha) that invest almost twice as often (13.7% of them) in stock than the self-employed (chayôngôpcha), of whom 7.9% have stocks. Nevertheless, the average amount of stocks was higher among the self-employed than among the wage workers, 21 000 000 [14 000 €] vs. 19 820 000 W [13 000 €]

One reason given for the overall low participation rate in stock investments, 7.3%, is that the percentage of wage-employment in Korea is relatively low, 65% of the work force (USA 92%, UK 86%, Netherland 88%). The participation rate in stock market in these countries is 19.2%, 21.6% and 14.4%.
"Preference of real estate, low profitability of stocks, and the high proportion of self-employed" tells Im Kyông-wôn, researcher at KDI about the reasons of the low participation. "Income of the self-employed fluctuates greatly, so risky investments like stocks are avoided."

One shopkeeper among my neighborhood acquaintances, who has appeared also on these pages but who shall now remain unidentified, once revealed that he had lost a huge amount of money in shares, 130 million won [almost 90 000 €] (which his wife knew about but not how much). This tells that his business, which he did only together with his wife, had been highly profitable. As is more typical for people like him, and for Koreans in general as mentioned in the article above, he had also purchased land in the Seoul vicinity. But among the "neighborhood-level" shopkeepers, he was an exception, as very few would have made such money as to invest in stocks. (And those whom I knew had bigger investments, they were in real estate. One or two business mall (sangga) buildings, and there's one's livelihood for the old age.)

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