One in six UK adults have no savings

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Nine million people across the UK have no savings and another five million have less than £100, according to new research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). 

  • Overall, a quarter of UK adults have less than £100 put away. 
  • Almost half of people who use credit are anxious about how much they owe. 
  • A third are anxious about the number of credit products they have. 
  • Free help is available, but four in five people still struggle to talk about money.

Nine million people across the UK have no savings and another five million have less than £100, according to new research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS). 

The survey of 3,000 adults, carried out for Talk Money Week (November 7-11), shows that one in six (17%) have nothing put away and another one in ten (9%) have £100 or less. 

This leaves around a quarter of adults living without a financial safety net to cope with the rising cost of living or unexpected bills, meaning some may have to use credit. 

MaPS says although credit is an important tool when used and managed well, it’s crucial that people understand what they can afford and have a plan to pay it off. 

However, the figures also reveal that many people are already finding this difficult. Among the 79% of UK residents who use credit, two in five (43%) are now anxious about how much they owe. Over a third (35%) are worried about the number of different products they have. 

As cost of living pressures start to hit home, MaPS says it’s more important than ever to talk about money before problems set in. However, the survey also reveals that 81% of people still avoid discussing their finances. 

Asked why, the most common responses were ‘not wanting to be judged’ (21%), ‘fear of burdening others’ (19%) and ‘shame or embarrassment’ (17%). 

During Talk Money Week, MaPS is encouraging everyone to open up about money, plan for their financial future and take free debt advice as soon as they need it. 

The organisation says its MoneyHelper service can be people’s first port of call, offering free guidance on topics like everyday money, savings and where to find free debt advice. 

It also provides a range of information on dealing with money issues, including step-by-step guides on how to talk to your creditorsOpens in a new window or discuss money with family and friendsOpens in a new window

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service, said:

"Millions of people find it a challenge to save and this leaves them vulnerable when sudden expenditure items arise. When you add in the anxiety that they feel with their credit commitments, the weight of that worry can quickly become overwhelming.  

"This Talk Money Week, we want everyone to start the conversation with family or friends and share the burden of any money worries. By dealing with the problem head on, people can discover just how helpful free debt advice can be and see the importance of talking to their creditors early. They can also begin to find a way forward, no matter how difficult their situation might feel. 

"Free help and guidance on how to do all of this is available via our MoneyHelper service and I’d urge everyone who needs it to get in touch today."

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Notes to editors

  • This survey was conducted among 3,000 people in the UK aged 18+ in September 2022. It is nationally representative. 
  • Asked how much money they had in savings, 17% said they had no savings, 5% said less than £50 and 4% said £50-100. 
  • Asked for the reasons they avoided talking about money, 19% said they never avoided talking about it. 
  • According to the ONS, there are approximately 52.9 million people aged 18 or over in the UK. 

Media enquiries

For media enquiries please contact MaPS Press Office:

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