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Half of British adults struggle to save

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While ongoing economic uncertainty has given British people the will to put more aside in their savings accounts, almost half are lacking the means.

According to the 2012 HSBC Savings Map of Britain, 71% of Britons managed to save some money in 2011. Just 4% of people said that the current low interest rates are a disincentive to save and only 3% say they would rather spend than save any extra money.

People still value the security of an account with a bank or building society, with 65% of people holding savings in a deposit based account. By value, the average savings portfolio is 46% deposit based, 17% alternative asset classes, 17% bonds, 16% equities and 4% in offset savings.

The largest group of those who do save were able to invest more than they withdrew in 2011 and this was higher than in 2010 (35% vs 32%).

However, 23% of adults say they struggle to save money, and another 23% have static savings, representing the ‘squeezed middle’ of society whose finances are strained thanks to high inflation, frozen salaries and rising unemployment.

29% of adults do not save at all. 

HSBC’s research revealed that the worst hit are people with children of school age. 35 to 44 year olds were the only group more likely to say that they withdrew more than they invested than vice versa in 2011.

Aware of the uncertain financial climate, 21% of people now say that saving for a rainy day is their priority. In contrast, long term goals are losing out, with one in ten (12%) planning to save more over the next 12 months to contribute to their long term goals, compared to one in five in 2010.

Bruno Genovese, Head of savings at HSBC, said:

“2011 was a tough year for savers given the harsh financial climate, but it is positive to see the substantial effort made to save in spite of this. Unfortunately, the high cost of living forced many families in the squeezed middle to dip into their savings pots, leaving them with less than they started with.

“While this year is also likely to prove a challenge for the majority of British savers, intentions to save remain high, with people aware of the need to build up a savings cushion in case of a rainy day or to achieve their long and short term goals. The Savings Map findings all point to Brits saving where they can afford to in 2012.”

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