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One in three of us still save in a jar

Posted on 18 March 2016

  • 18-24s are twice as likely to save in a jar than over 55s
  • A fifth of over 55s have £100K or more in savings
  • 40% of 18-24 year olds have no savings

Despite the numerous savings and investment options available, almost a third of us still use a jar or tin to save – the fourth most popular method, according to research by SunLife.

The five most popular ways of saving are:

  1. Instant access account
  2. Current account
  3. Fixed rate savings/cash ISAs
  4. A jar/tin
  5. Premium bonds

SunLife also found that contrary to popular belief, it is not little old ladies that are most likely to be stuffing their money in the biscuit tin; younger people are actually much more likely to save in this way, with almost half (43%) of 18-24s saving in a jar compared to less than a quarter (24%) of over 55s.

Those with the smallest amount in savings (£100-£500) are the most likely to save in a jar (43%) or in their current account (47%) with relatively few holding premium bonds (7%), notice savings (1%) or equity ISAs (2%).

However, almost a fifth (18%) of those with £100k or more still use a jar to save, alongside other savings methods, the most popular being fixed term savings (83%) with more than half holding savings in stocks and shares ISAs (58%) and premium bonds (56%).

Of those that do save, £26,785 is the average amount held but this is skewed quite heavily by the over 55s who have almost five times the savings (£49,833) that 18-44s do (£10,436) and almost double the average amount held by 45-54s (£28,651).

Life stage also makes a big difference to savings – on average, young families (children under 11) have £11,470 in savings compared to older families (kids aged 12-18) who have £33,960, while empty nesters have the most - £48,266 on average.

What are we saving for?

The most common reason for saving is ‘my future generally’ which is the case for 62% of savers, while ‘a rainy day’ is the next most popular reason with 44% stating this is why they’re putting the pennies away. A third are saving for their retirement, but this rises to 44% for over 45s, and drops to just 11% for 18-24s.

Saving for
  Age
Total 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-70
My future generally 62% 76% 65% 60% 58% 62%
Rainy day 44% 36% 47% 50% 51% 37%
Retirement 33% 11% 15% 25% 44% 44%
A holiday/ holidays 33% 30% 29% 28% 33% 38%
Home improvements 22% 15% 25% 22% 25% 21%
My children's future e.g. help them get on the property ladder etc.. 15% 12% 14% 15% 13% 17%
Family event e.g. wedding 7% 11% 11% 4% 7% 7%
School/ university fees 6% 11% 6% 9% 8% 2%
Other 7% 10% 11% 10% 4% 6%

No savings

Worryingly, more than a quarter of us have no savings at all. The majority say this is because they don’t have any spare cash, either because they spend all their money each month (59%) or they use any spare to pay off debts (34%) but for almost a fifth (19%), the reason is because ‘they haven’t got round to it’ while 5% say they ‘don’t see the point’.

Younger people are less likely to save than older people with 40% of 18-24s admitting to having no savings at all compared to just 12% of 55-70s.

Ian Cooper, head of savings at SunLife said: “While putting pennies into a jar can be a good way of stopping yourself from spending loose change, jars and tins were never intended as secure homes for hard earned cash.

“Not only is it very tempting to raid rather than leave for a rainy day, but it isn‘t earning a penny in interest and doesn’t stand a chance against inflation.

Ian says while a good rule of thumb is to pay off debt before saving, there is no harm in having both as long as you are keeping up to date with mortgage and credit card payments.

“You generally can’t earn as much on savings as you will be paying on debt, so it is a good idea to pay off debts first and therefore encouraging to see that more than a third of those that don’t have any savings are at least using their spare cash to pay off debts.

“However, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have no savings at all to fall back on so it is a good idea to do both if you can.”

Ian concludes: “Saving doesn’t have to be a huge commitment; just think about putting a little something aside each month because even a small amount of money saved or invested regularly can build into a sizeable sum over the years.”

* Savings are defined as £100 or more

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.