Tuesday 20 March 2018

Just one-third of adults now save on a regular basis

Saving fell last month
Saving fell last month
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Saving among both the under-50s and over-50s fell last month as people continue to worry about the future.

The ESRI and Nationwide Savings Index showed a clear decrease in June in the amount being saved by all age groups. Just 32pc of people are now saving regularly, down from 36pc a year ago. And 46pc say they are not saving at all, compared from 43pc a year ago.

But the under-50s demographic is clearly the most unhappy with their savings. Just over two-thirds of this age group say they are putting away less than they think they should, compared to 57pc among over-50s, traditionally the largest savers.

A distinct divide in the savings concerns of these different age groups has emerged, echoing this year's ESRI research that found those aged under 45 have been affected "dramatically" more by recession than older people.

Whereas under-50s are unhappy with how much they are saving – just 12pc were satisfied with the amounts they were putting aside – over-50s are less concerned with how much they save, and more worried about their ability to make money from these savings.

"The younger consumer is clearly not satisfied with their ability to save, presumably due to their on-going day-to-day expenses and reduced disposable income," said Nationwide UK (Ireland) managing director Brendan Synnott.

"In contrast, the over-50s age group, the traditional saver in the economy, still has the ability to save. This group is more concerned with getting a return on their savings, which has been reduced as DIRT tax has increased and savings rates for the most part have dropped.

"Under-50s run the risk of becoming the lost generation in terms of saving," he added. "But, ultimately, government doesn't want us to save. They want consumers to spend."

Of the people who do save regularly, a quarter are now saving up to €50 a month; 29pc are saving between €51 and €100 a month; one-fifth are saving between €101 and €200 and further 25pc save more than €200.

The main reason cited for saving had a precautionary motive, with 42pc of respondents indicating they were saving for unexpected expenses. One-fifth said they are saving for education/training while one-tenth said they are saving for a holiday and 7pc are saving for a large consumer purchase.

The Savings Index also shows a slight increase in people's willingness to spend, despite the fact that savings are down.

The amount of people who would use the surplus to pay down debts, including their mortgage, fell by 5pc – though this was still the most popular choice for the lion's share of respondents (46pc).

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