Youngsters more likely to adopt the savings habit

People aged 35-44 most likely to have never started saving

19 November 2013

With much financial pressure being put upon the bank of mum and dad, young people are increasingly taking control of their own finances and the need to save. New research1 from Nationwide Building Society shows that while 43 per cent of all UK adults first started to save money regularly before they reached their 18th birthday, the figure rises to more than three in five (63 per cent) for those currently aged between 18 and 24.

With university costs rising, it is probably no coincidence that more than two in five (44 per cent) full time students began saving in their teens (between 11 and 17 years old), presumably in preparation for dealing with their own forthcoming financial pressures, such as university tuition fees.

Of the sexes, women appear to have been bitten by the savings bug earlier than men with nearly half (48 per cent) of women saying they began saving before they reached adulthood compared to less than two in five (38 per cent) men.

Wales and the East Midlands contain some of the UK's keenest savers with more than half (58 per cent in Wales and 51 per cent in the East Midlands) admitting that they had already begun saving before their 18th birthday.

Older non-savers

While the youth of today appear to have got into the savings habit early, the UK's older generation are either likely to have started saving regularly later in life or, more worryingly, not started saving at all.

According to the Nationwide Building Society research, more than one in five (21 per cent) of those aged between 35 and 44 have never saved a single penny. While those aged 55 and over were more likely to have already begun saving, they are more likely to have started later in life – more than two fifths (46 per cent) only began saving after their 18th birthday.

The study also reveals that people with two children in the household are least likely to save with nearly one quarter (23 per cent) admitting they had never started saving.

Those living in the South East and East of England are least likely to have started saving. In fact, nearly one in five (19 per cent in the South East, 18 per cent in the East of England) have not yet saved any money at all.

Educational encouragement

From September 2014, lessons on personal finance will be included in the national curriculum in state-funded schools for the first time. According to separate research2 from Nationwide Building Society, 55 per cent of those surveyed believe this will encourage more people to save. Those aged 18 to 24 seem most likely to believe these lessons will have a positive impact on a savings culture with two thirds (66 per cent) believing it will encourage more people to save. Those aged 55 and over are seemingly more sceptical, however, with fewer than half (48 per cent) of respondents believing it will encourage more people to save.

Richard Napier, Nationwide's divisional director for savings and mortgages, comments: "Despite the startling evidence that many parents and older people have never started saving themselves, it is encouraging to see that young people are developing a savings habit off their own back. With so many financial demands lying ahead, if a savings habit is started early, it is more likely to last a lifetime and return benefits in later life.

"Personal finance enters the national curriculum from next year and it's really positive to see people believe this will help encourage a savings culture. Teaching children about the basics of money will have a big impact on the lifestyle choices they will make when they leave school. Understanding concepts such as saving, managing money and the impact of debt means they will be confident about their finances as they get older and we hope less likely to have money worries."

Note to editors:

1 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,057 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th - 14th October 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

2 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,074 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th and 14th October 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings provider and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million members.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 15,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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