Nearly 50% of adults are not saving any money, with fewer than 30% saving regularly, according to a study.
The latest edition of the monthly savings index — jointly conducted by financial services firm Nationwide UK Ireland and the ESRI, the economic think tank — shows that 47% of people are not saving. This is up from the 42% measured in October and marks an increase from 33% this time last year.
The November reading marks the highest level of non-savers in the two-year history of the index.
It also shows that within the bracket that are saving, only 28% of people are doing so regularly. This is a record low for the index and is down from a reading of 41% from November of last year.
Despite the notable declines, the latest survey shows that there remains an appetite to save more money.
The percentage of people who now feel it is a good time to save has gone from 27% to 30% in the past 12 months, according to the findings.
“Over the course of 2012 there has been a consistent increase in the number of people who are not saving and a steady decline in those that save on a regular basis,” said Nationwide UKIreland managing director Brendan Synott.
“At the same time, however, people continue to believe that they should save. There is positivity towards the idea of saving, given the economic environment, and the preference to pay down debt or save as opposed to spend also remains. This diverging attitude and behaviour has been apparent throughout 2012 and the budget is likely to further re-enforce this trend.”
Although the latest index also revealed that 44% of consumers think now is a bad time to save money, this figure is down from 48% in October and 45% in November of last year.
Some 57% of people, meanwhile, think that the Government is discouraging the habit of saving — 5% more than thought so this time last year.
When asked what they would do with spare cash, 50% of respondents said they would use it to pay off debt, 39% said they would save, and 9% said they would spend it.
“Consumers appear to be no closer to achieving a spend-and-save balance than they were in 2011,” said Mr Synott.
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