47% fail to put money aside, says survey

Mon, Dec 3, 2012, 00:00

Irish people are saving at the lowest level in recent years and nearly 50 per cent of people say they cannot afford to put any money aside each month, according to new research.

The savings rate is the lowest since the Nationwide UK (Ireland)/ESRI Saving Index started in 2010.

The survey shows the proportion of people not saving at all is 47 per cent, the highest level recorded since the index began. The figure is up from 33 per cent this time last year.

Just 28 per cent of those polled said they were saving regularly, down from 41 per cent in November 2011.

While fewer people are saving, the numbers who think it would be a good time to put money aside is increasing. The survey shows that 30 per cent of consumers think that now is a good time to save compared with 27 per cent last month.

Consumers were also asked what they would do if they had any spare cash. Some 50 per cent said they would use it to pay off debt, 39 per cent would save it while just 9 per cent would spend it.

On the negative front, 57 per cent believe Government policy discourages saving, a five percentage point increase on November 2011.

“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 managing director of Nationwide UK (Ireland) Brendan Synnott.

However, he pointed out that 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.”