1 in 5 have no "nest egg"

The Momentum UK Team 10 March 2014

Over nine million have no savings at all, according to a new report into saving habits.

Just 67% of adults are savers according to a new report by Scottish Widows, with the total number of those putting something away dropping from 14.8 million to 14.4 million by 2013.

However, for those who are managing to save, the average amount in savings has gone up by £175 in comparison to the previous year, from £10,033 to £10,208. The gap between those without any savings and those with savings is growing wider than ever.

The report, which surveyed the saving habits of 5,000 people, found that family pressures are continuing to have a big impact on people’s ability to save for the future, with 41% stating that they had loaned a “substantial amount” to family members. The family members with the most borrowed were children with an average of £14,789 loaned to cover living expenses (35%), for a housing deposit (34%) or to pay off debt (28%).

The report also revealed that lending to family members had a “serious effect” on the ability of parents and grandparents to save money: 23% of parents and grandparents said they were saving less, and 17% said they had to cut back on day-to-day living costs because of lending to family members.

The middle age bracket (35-54) were the least likely to be saving anything at all, potentially as a result of financial pressure from the generations above and below. One in four 35-44 year olds have no savings at all, the highest of all the age brackets.

Debt was found to be a significant reason why this age group may be finding it hard to save: a third of 35-54 year olds said they would be encouraged to save more if they were less in debt. The average debt those aged 35-44 carried over each month was £5,395.

David Lascelles, savings expert at Scottish Widows commented:

“The widening gap in fortunes between savers and non-savers highlights the impact that getting on the path to saving can have, even if it is just by putting aside a small amount every month.

“Our research shows that many people are still only thinking in the short term, for instance, almost half of people said they prefer to spend their money rather than save, and almost two-thirds said they know they are not saving sufficiently for their long term needs [...] We need to tackle this culture of short-termism and encourage people to adjust their priorities so they are thinking about protecting themselves for the future, and not just for the here and now.”