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Saving for a rainy day

R3’s latest Personal Debt Snapshot (our regular survey of 2,000 British adults) revealed that payday struggles and debt worries are at a record low. With personal finances in the best shape of recent years, it’s interesting to look at the behaviour of the British public when it comes to planning their finances and saving.

Overall, the results suggest that the British public are on top of their financial planning.
Half of Britons (47%) claim they are making a budget for their household finances at least monthly, and two-thirds (66%) say they go through their recent spending at least monthly.
However, when it comes to saving the results are more mixed.
According to the research, 64% of Britons never put spare money aside for retirement, which is something of a concern. It’s not often noted, but the over-65 age group is the only age group where the insolvency rate rose from 2009 to 2014  Even among those working full-time, only a quarter (25%) are putting away money for retirement on a monthly basis. 
Unsurprisingly, research from the ONS suggests that the absence of saving for retirement may not be down to lack of planning but an inability to afford to put money aside for it. Half of British adults aren’t contributing to a pension because of low incomes, not working or still being in education. Indeed, recent suggestions in the FT that young people should save £800 a month towards their pension didn’t go down too well online.
The introduction of the government’s auto-enrolment scheme should ensure that we see a marked increase in the number of people systematically putting money aside for their future.
While the younger generations may not be putting money away for retirement, the majority are willing to set money aside for a specific luxury item, such as a holiday or car. 73% of those aged 18-24 have done so in the last year, compared to 53% of those aged 55-64.
At the same time, younger people are still showing a propensity to try and save; 41% of 18-24 year olds are putting money aside for a rainy day.
Throughout age groups, there is still a considerable reliance on credit, with one-in-five (19%) adults reaching the borrowing limit on one of their credit cards in the last year.
With many struggling to access traditional sources of finances borrowing from a friend is fairly common. Those aged 25-34 were the most likely (37%) to do so, which is considerably high than older generations; 8% of 55-64 year olds and 4% of 65+.
Overall, one-in-five (19%) British adults turned to a friend for money in the last twelve months – the wisdom of that however is a matter for debate!
ComRes interviewed 2,013 British adults online between 8th and 10th of January 2016. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

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