18 June 2014
People’s ability to set time aside to effectively manage their money is being choked by the “hamster wheel of modern life”, according to a renowned scientist.
Neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis, who commented on research commissioned by Nationwide Building Society on the psychology of saving, believes many people have adopted a laissez faire attitude towards money due to hectic lives, and that they must take time out to “recalibrate their internal balance sheets or risk unnecessarily frittering away their hard-earned cash”.
Time management and planning emerged as a key theme in the research, with more than four in ten (42%) people always or often putting in too many hours at work, going out too much or buying more shopping than they actually need. This grows to 54% and 51% for those aged 18-24 and 25-34 respectively.
The poll, which interviewed more than 2,500 adults across the UK, shows that four in ten adults (42%) do not have a dedicated savings account, while more than a quarter who do have one stating they are simply “saving for a rainy day”, as opposed to anything tangible.
Dr Jack Lewis, author of Sort Your Brain Out, said: “We’re a very busy nation and those who are particularly time poor could really benefit from periodically taking time out to recalibrate their internal balance sheets or risk unnecessarily frittering away their hard-earned cash. It’s a case of telling ourselves that it’s okay to step off the hamster wheel of modern life for long enough to figure out what we really want in the long run. Then set up a savings account dedicated to each specific long term goal.”
In comparison, just over a fifth (21%) save for holidays, while 12% are putting money away for retirement and one in ten (11%) for their present or future home. A similar amount is shoring up money for Christmas (10%), while 8% are saving for DIY projects and children’s education.
Adding to the feeling that people don’t take adequate time to plan their actions, fewer than a third (32%) always make sure they go shopping armed with a list, indicating the majority are susceptible to spending more than intended as they dash across the supermarket aisles snapping up bargains rather than just the essentials. However, women are far more likely to always use a list, with four in ten (38%) claiming they always use one, compared to just a quarter of men (25%).
The survey also shows that over a third (36%) of adults have previously failed to cancel subscriptions to magazines or mobile apps following a trial period, resulting in charges.
Dr Jack Lewis added: “Living a hectic life can come at a cost, with any number of important considerations falling by the wayside in the mad dash. Money problems can quickly and unexpectedly creep up – whether ten pounds a week being spent in the shops on stuff that we don’t really need but seems to be a great deal in the heat of the moment, or that goal of building a house extension remaining a distant dream because of not establishing savings with a purpose”.
Nationwide’s Savings Director, Richard Napier, said: “Savings are an essential part of modern life. Keeping a watching brief over incoming and outgoing money, and learning to put any excess cash away will ensure that people can set goals and realistically achieve them. It also provides a cushion for any unforeseen costs or problems arising at short notice.”
Notes to editors:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,581 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th - 11th March 2014. 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
providers and a top-three provider of
mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of
Nationwide has around 15 million members.
Customers can manage their finances in 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.