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Use of budgeting tools and apps amongst over 50s almost triples in two years

Posted on 15 January 2018

  • One in nine over 50s budget using online tools and phone apps, up from one in 25 in 2015
  • Number of over 50s that budget formally up from 35% to 38%
  • Half budget informally, just 5% do no budgeting at all

The latest research from over 50s specialist insurer SunLife reveals that online tools and phone apps are becoming more popular amongst people in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

According to SunLife’s annual Cash Happy report – which looks at the day to day finances of 3,000 UK households – the number of over 50s that budget has risen from 35% to 38%, and that rise is down to the increasing popularity of digital tools and apps.

In 2015, one in 25 over 50s, who said they budgeted formally, did so using an online tool or app. The following year, that had doubled to one in 12 and, this year, it has increased again to one in nine.

In contrast, the popularity of budgeting ‘by hand’ using a notebook is down to one in seven from one in six in 2016 and 2015.

Using an excel spreadsheet on a home PC or laptop remains the most popular method, with one in five (20%) over 50s saying they use a spreadsheet to keep on top of their incomings and outgoings, slightly up on last year (17%) but the same as 2015.

The data also shows that one in five over 50s now check their bank accounts daily – up from one in seven last year. Those checking several times a week, weekly, monthly and several times a month have all dropped slightly, suggesting that it is those that have started using apps and other tools more often have started checking their accounts more frequently.

How often do you check your account?20172016
Daily (365.0) 19% 16%
Several times a week (104.0) 30% 32%
Weekly (52.0) 31% 32%
Several times a month (24.0) 8% 9%
Monthly (12.0) 11% 11%
Rarely (6.0) 1% 1%
Never (0.0) 0% 0%

Ian Atkinson, Marketing Director at SunLife said: “It is great to see people in their 50s, 60s and 70s embracing technology more and choosing to use online tools and phone apps to manage their money. It actually supports our Big 50 research which shows 86% of over 50s use the internet for at least eight hours a week, with more than two thirds of those online 15 hours or more each week.

“The Cash Happy data also shows that eight in ten over 50s now check their accounts at least weekly, with a quarter of those checking every day, suggesting that over 50s are making use of online technology to ensure they have the latest info on their financial situation, rather than waiting for monthly statements from their bank.”

However, while most over 50s budget either formally or informally, 21% say they either have no idea or only a rough idea about the state of their finances. In contrast, just 17% of under 50s would say the same.

But, when you look at the differing financial situations it could explain why some over 50s are less worried about keeping close tabs on their outgoings as Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife explains:

“The average over 50s household has £44,840 in savings while the average under 50s household has £14,738, this is a huge difference which could really impact that household’s attitude to spending and budgeting. Over 50s households also spend less on their fixed outgoings – for example, 14% of over 50s households’ income is spent on rent, while amongst under 50s, it is much higher – 20% – which could explain why, on average, over 50s are less worried about budgeting.

“But, whether you feel you ‘need’ to budget or not, Cash Happy also shows that budgeting makes us happier and it is amazing how much you can save by keeping a closer eye on the pennies.

“Our budgeting calculator shows you how much you could save in 10 years if you budget better. For example, if you cut back on having a takeaway coffee before work, you’d save just under £50 a month, and over 10 years, that’s £5,668 which you could put towards something that makes you really happy!”

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). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

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 is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

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.