The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be read in the context of the date it was published. Views in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Scottish Friendly.
The economic climate for savers in the UK has been fairly unpredictable of late. Looking back over this year so far, we have already had the Greek crisis, deflation, the prospect of an early interest rate rise and the Conservative budget following the election to deal with – to name a few!
So, it would be fair to say that for those looking to navigate their finances, it has been a particularly confusing affair.
However, encouragingly, research we conducted as part of our Disposable Income Index has found that despite the recent bumpy ride, the number of people in the UK putting aside money into savings and investments has risen by 1.7 million in the last quarter to a total of 27.3 million people a month.
Surprisingly, this increase in savings has actually occurred at the same time as disposable incomes (the amount of money people have left over each month after bills and essentials have been paid for) have fallen by 0.2 of a percentage point.
While impossible to predict the future, with the UK economy continuing to grow and unemployment falling again, it seems that we may be headed towards more certain times – which could improve people’s saving potential further as disposable incomes increase.
While this is great news, and a reason to be (cautiously) optimistic, people should still be aware that any interest rate rise could drastically impact disposable incomes and as the recent minutes from the MPC have shown, this could now not be far off.
What is important is that those who have been able to put away money continue to do so and do not forget that the only real way they can prepare for their future financially is to save as and when they are able.
What would be beneficial for savers would be to seriously consider what any interest rate rise will mean for their daily finances and what impact this could have on their ability to put money away.
Whether you’re saving for a holiday, for your child’s future or just for a rainy day, take a few moments to find out what you can realistically afford to put aside each month and what you can reduce your spending on. This will only help in the days to come.
No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.