Save, make, understand money


Study finds poor understanding behind Britain’s reluctance to invest

Lucinda Beeman
Written By:
Lucinda Beeman

A study analysing Britons’ relationship with money has found that low confidence and poor understanding is at the core of people’s reluctance to invest.

TD Direct Investing’s Britain’s Money Management Barometer, created in partnership with Leeds Business School, and launched exclusively on, found that while 70 per cent of respondents believed that investing for the long term was important, almost a third ranked their understanding of the process as poor.

In addition, willingness to seek advice was limited. Very few people had sought guidance from the media and friends despite almost half classifying the need to understand investing as ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’.

According to Stuart Welch, TD Direct Investing’s chief executive, the findings shine a light on the unique financial culture of the UK.

He said: “The lack of exposure to investing – and awareness of its role in effective financial planning – has spawned a lack of confidence that requires urgent attention. This is particularly recognisable when we compare ourselves to other nations around the globe, such as our Canadian counterparts.”

Money psychologist Dr Kim Stephenson added: “The results highlight a clear divide between perception and actual behaviour, which creates enormous financial insecurity in individuals trying to provide for both short and long term goals.”

For example, while 61 per cent of those surveyed categorise saving for long-term goals as ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’, a quarter only save ‘sometimes’ while a further 23 per cent put money away ‘infrequently’ or ‘never’.

Stevenson concluded: “The solution is for people to take the time to truly understand their individual motives and objectives for the financial goals being set.”

You can test your relationship with money using TD’s Money Management Barometer, which uses a series of questions to uncover how you spend, save and seek information. Access the online tool here