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51% of Brits don’t have enough emergency savings – including retirees and high earners

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

More than half of Brits don’t have enough emergency savings to protect themselves and their families should something go wrong.

A survey of more than 10,000 people on behalf of Hargreaves Lansdown found 51 per cent don’t have what’s considered a suitable financial safety net. Most experts recommend having three-six months’ of basic living expenses in an easy access account.

The emergency savings gap isn’t just an issue for lower earners. The research found 23 per cent of households bringing in more than £100,000 a year couldn’t cover their essential outgoings for three months.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said this could be down to higher earners spending all the cash they have on larger mortgages, private school fees and holidays.

Retirees also have holes in their savings safety net, according to the survey.

Almost half (46 per cent) of retired people don’t have the recommended one-to-three years’ of expenses stashed away.

Among those without enough emergency savings, two in five households said things have got worse since the start of 2021, and only one in five say they’ve improved.

Millions of those who don’t have enough savings say they worry about it all the time. Almost two in five are worried about it, and one in five worry every day.

Coles said: “While this is concerning, it at least allows them to prioritise savings whenever they can. What’s even more alarming is the huge number of people who don’t have enough savings and aren’t worried about it at all – particularly among retirees.”

One in ten (11 per cent) people don’t have enough set aside in savings to be financially resilient, but are perfectly happy with the level of savings they have. This rises to 21 per cent among those who have retired.

“This may be because they have no idea of how much they should have, so having any savings at all lulls them into a false sense of security,” Coles added.