Ireland is increasingly becoming a nation of savers, according to an index by Bank of Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Institute.
The bank and the institute have launched their monthly Savings & Investment Index, which picks up with October’s data from the old Nationwide UK savings index, with which the ESRI was involved.
Almost half of Irish households are now regular savers, up from 44 per cent a year ago, it says. However, about one-third of households still do not save at all. Half of savers surveyed said they would like to save more, but cannot.
The index’s subsidiary measure of the “saving environment” rose 7 points in October’s index, with 40 per cent of people responding that now is a “good time to save”, despite desperately low interest rates across most institutions.
The subsidiary measure of saver’s attitudes to putting away cash dipped slightly in October, but the perceived improvements in the savings environment boosted the overall savings index.
“Consumers appear to be taking a precautionary approach to their savings in order to manage their upcoming Christmas spending,” said Bank of Ireland.
The monthly report also contains a separate investment index, which shows 32 per cent of people regularly invest. In the vast majority of cases, it is a pension scheme, although 3 per cent invest directly in shares and funds.
The survey found that investment activity was more prevalent among people aged under 50.
“The initial data on investing clearly show that we are more a nation of savers than investors. This may suggest a preference for capital security on savings compared to potentially higher returns from investments,” said Tom McCabe, a global investment strategist at the bank.