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Once essential needs are met, people on lower incomes are just as likely to be active savers – BSA

Once essential needs are met, people on lower incomes are just as likely to be active savers – BSA

Building Societies Association

3 min read Partner content

A new report by Toynbee Hall, supported by the Building Societies Association has found that once essential needs are met, people on lower incomes are just as likely to be active savers as those who earn higher amounts. 


The myth that people on lower incomes are not active savers has been conclusively disproved by a new report from Toynbee Hall, supported by the Building Societies Association. 

The new report made a number of key findings, which include that a large number of people (67%) surveyed are in a position to start saving – or increase their saving by a very small amount.

The majority of people usually save for two or more reasons and there will be a relationship between these motivations. These will either mutually reinforce or potentially compete for the limited money available for savings.

An individual’s attitudes and behaviours are the most important factors in predicting their savings rather than age and income level. While people on higher incomes who do save tend to have higher absolute sums in savings, once adjusted for income there are no clear patterns of people with higher incomes saving a higher percentage of their income.

The report builds on Saving for the Future, which identified six different types of saver; the Spend Saver, the Reward Treat Saver, the Safety Net Saver, the Life Goal Saver, the Savings Goal Saver and the Passive Saver. Each of these has a different motivation and purpose for their savings, which should be recognised when encouraging people to save.

Building on the research Beyond Age and Income makes a number of recommendations aimed at Government, regulators and financial institutions to encourage people to save. These included encouraging people to begin saving a very small amount of money regularly and automatically.

The report also said that savings product design should factor in that individuals often have multiple motivations to save, and advised that future campaigns for savings advocacy should focus on encouraging savings attitudes and behaviours of individuals from all age and income brands, taking a nuanced, holistic approach.

Savings campaigns need to tackle directly narratives that might lead people to believe that saving is only something you do once you have attained a certain level of income. People with lower incomes should be encouraged to save where possible, and appropriate savings products and services should be made available for them.

Campaigns and products should also be developed that encourage people to save for a safety net, increase saving at the point of spending, and link spend-save tools to a big purchase rather than a short-term reward.

The BSA supported Toynbee Hall in the writing of the report, as building societies specialise in savings (as well as mortgages). Collectively they serve around 25 million consumers across the UK.

The BSA is working with its members on how to help encourage non-savers in the workforce to start saving and build their personal financial resilience.

Read the full report here.

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