Eight in ten parents saving for children but a third worry about what they’ll spend it on

22 October 2018


  • Parents expect to have saved around £7,000 by the time their child turns 18
  • Money intended to help children get a home, buy a car or fund university
  • But over a third of parents have had to dip into their children’s savings in an emergency
  • A quarter have never spoken to their children about money and saving

British parents expect to have saved an average of £7,000 by the time their children turn 18 but one in three mums and dads fret over what they will spend their nest eggs on, new research shows.

The Nationwide Building Society poll, which was commissioned as the Society launches its new Future Saver account for children, reveals eight in ten parents put money into their children’s savings accounts, piggybanks or pockets each month, with the average amount being £33.72.

While £7,000 is the average amount parents expect to save, one in 20 (5%) aim to give their children £10,000 or more and one in six parents (14%) expect to have saved £1,000 or less. Interestingly, saving is taking place across the salary range, with more than three quarters (77%) of parents earning £15,000 a year or less putting money away for their offspring.

Money worries:
Well over a third of parents (38%) worry that their children will fritter their money away – with many saving with the intention that the money is used for a defined purpose later. While half (50%) say they are trying to create a nest egg for their child’s future, more than two in five (45%) are saving to help their child through university, a third (35%) are saving to help with a deposit for their first house and three in ten (30%) are putting money away to help buy their first car.

Parental advice:
But despite the positive move, one in four parents (25%) have never discussed the benefits of saving with their children, which is perhaps a contributing factor to parents’ concerns about how their children may spend their money once they reach 18 years old. The older parents are, the more willing they are to explain the importance of saving for the future, with only one in 20 (5%) of those aged 55 saying they hadn’t spoken about the subject, compared to just under half (46%) of those aged 16-24.

Bank of son and daughter:
While most parents save, around a third (32%) confess to having dipped into their children’s savings in an emergency. This rises to 53 per cent – more than half – of Londoners. However, it isn’t just those on lower incomes dipping into their children’s savings. While more than four in ten (45%) of those earning less than £15,000 a year have withdrawn money in an emergency, around a quarter (24%) of those earning £75,000 or more have done so. Some 41 per cent say they are put off saving for their children as they are worried they may urgently need the money in the future.

Regional differences:
There is significant regional variation, with Londoners putting away more than twice as much as those living in Wales – at £56.43 compared to £23.49. Parents living in the North East expect to have £9,082 put aside for their child when they reach 18, despite saving one of the lowest amounts each month (£28.84).

The table below show the average amount parent save per month in each region and the amount they expect to have saved when their child reaches age 18:


Region Average amount saved per month Amount parents expect to have saved for their child at age 18
London £56.43 £8,855
East Midlands £37.39 £7,174
Scotland £35.76 £6,601
Northern Ireland £33.59 £6,038
South East £32.62 £7,412
West Midlands £30.89 £5,617
East of England £30.21 £7,007
Yorkshire & Humber £29.98 £6,939
North East £28.84 £9,082
North West £28.72 £6,916
South West £27.03 £5,969
Wales £23.49 £4,481

Tom Riley, Nationwide’s Director of Savings, said: “Parents always want the best for their children, so many will put money away on a regular basis. Parents have told us they want to have control over their child’s savings while they’re building a nest egg and often they’ll have a view on what it should be used for, whether a car, university or towards a home of their own.

“Raising a family is an expensive business, so it’s not always easy for families to put money aside. As a third of parents have confessed, they sometimes need to dip into their children’s savings in an emergency, so it’s important to have the reassurance of access on their account.

“We have been helping children and parents save for over 160 years and many who started saving with us as children continue to stay with us today.”

Notes to Editor:

About Future Saver
Future Saver is a savings account which allows a parent to save on behalf of a child. The money in the account belongs to the child and is held by the parent as a “bare trustee”. This means that the parent has a duty to act in the best interests of the child, including where money is needed in an emergency. When the child reaches 18 (16 in Scotland), the child can require their parent to pay the money to them. Under the terms of Future Saver, this will not happen automatically as Nationwide only accept instructions from the parent, as account holder.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers 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 customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 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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