Franz Herrmann, head of the German Association of Savers (BDS), has spent half a century trying to be a good investor. As a child, he filled piggy banks and, as an adolescent, he put money away in his savings account. Later came a building loan contract, in addition to 12 life insurance policies. "Money attracts money," his father liked to tell him, quoting a German saying. "I was hardwired for saving money," Hermann explains.
At 52, he says he figured out "what's going on." He'd earned money through his business selling beer steins and jewelry in Munich's city center. But he became convinced that he'd actually lost money through his savings efforts and cancelled his insurance policies, while the small interest earnings from his remaining savings accounts were "eaten up by inflation," he says. To fight back, Herrmann formed the BDS. Now he makes appearances around the country, warning of "money-destroying instruments." He's certain that saving is "state-sanctioned robbery."