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The gap between savers and non-savers is widening

Our 2014 Savings report reveals that the number of people in the UK with no savings at all has risen year-on-year from eight million to over nine million – or 1 in 5 of the UK adult population. This brings the proportion of people who have savings (67%) down to a level not seen since 2011.

The story has improved for those who are managing to save, with the average savings amount rising by £175 from £10,000 in 2012 to £10,200 in 2013. However, the total number of people who are saving at all has dropped from 14.8 million to 14.4 million (31% and 30% of the adult population respectively), and more than half (54%) of those surveyed said they were saving less than they did two years ago.

Our eighth annual Savings Report found that family pressures are impacting on people’s ability to save for the future. 41% of the population said they had loaned ‘a substantial amount’ of money to family members. A quarter of people had lent money to their children, most commonly to cover living expenses (35%), to put towards a house deposit (34%), or to pay off debt (28%).

The study found that lending to family members had a serious effect on parents’ and grandparents’ finances: a quarter of all parents and grandparents said they were saving less as a result of lending money to family members, and a fifth said they had to cut back on day-to-day living costs due to family lending.

As a possible result of family pressures from generations above and below, those in the “Sandwich Generation” were found to be least likely to be saving anything at all. 1 in 4 35-44 year olds have no savings whatsoever, the highest of any age bracket, and those aged 35-44 years old and 45-54 years old were the least likely to be saving at the moment (34% and 35% respectively).

The report revealed that the major factor in this group’s inability to put money away for the future was debt. A third of 35-44 and 45-54 year olds (33% and 30% respectively) said they would be encouraged to save more were it not for the debt they currently owe. The average amount of debt that those aged 35-44 carried over each month in the last three months is £5,935. For those aged 45-54 it was £5,719.

Our savings expert David Lascelles said: “It is promising to see that among those who are saving, the amount they have put aside has risen year-on-year. However, it is concerning that despite economic improvements, the number of people who are able to set something aside for a rainy day is actually falling. 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. This problem is exacerbated by family pressures that eat further into people’s savings, particularly for those in the middle age groups.

“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. Having a plan for the future can make the present feel less stressful as it provides you with the knowledge that you have a helpful buffer for any unexpected events that may come your way.”


  • The eighth annual Scottish Widows Savings and Investments report takes an in-depth look at the habits and attitudes of the UK adult population in order to identify the implications for this emerging generation of non-savers.
  • The survey was carried out online by YouGov who interviewed a total of 5,221 adults between the 30th October and 8th November 2013. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
  • The statistics used in the two paragraphs of this news release; eight million, nine million, 14.8 million and 14.4 million, are based on the 2011 Office of National Statistics (ONS) Census results whereby the UK adult population is stated to be 48.084 million.


Our 2014 Savings report reveals that the number of people in the UK with no savings at all has risen to over nine million people. What are you doing to save for your future? Read case study

Press release