How do you define wealth? While some may define it by the car they drive, the number of houses they own (or owning a home at all!) or how many holidays they go on each year, far more people across the country define their personal wealth by their salary.
But more so than that, people are increasingly likely to define their wealth based on how much money they have left-over to spend on themselves each month after they have paid off all their regular bills. After all, who is wealthier? The man who brings home £5,000 each month after tax, but spends £4,990 of that on regular outgoings, or the woman who brings home £2,000 but only spends £1,000?
As one of the most fundamental indicators of personal wealth, we at Scottish Friendly wanted to find out exactly how the people of Britain are faring with their disposable income and, as such, have today launched the first of what will be a regular report that identifies the levels of ‘pocket money’ the average Briton has each month.
This report, aptly named the ‘Disposable Income Index’, has already harvested some intriguing results. For instance, it discovered that the average Briton is left with only £148 spending money each month after essential bills and expenses have been paid.
Too low I hear you cry? Too high?
Well, when you consider that the average monthly take home salary for someone in the UK at the moment is £2,171, this means that less than a tenth of it remains for people to enjoy themselves on.
Now ask yourself, how do you compare against this average? Do you have more or less than 10 per cent of your salary to do what you want with?
While the figures may seem rather disheartening so far, the report did in fact display a silver lining across an otherwise grey cloud.
According to the report, paying down debt and building a savings pot is a priority for many, with over half of people still managing to put some money into a saving or investment each month. On average, people are putting aside £72, although nearly half of those who do save, manage to put aside £100 or more.
All this points to a rather dramatic change in the mindset of people when it comes to managing finances. In the past, household budgets were very much driven by borrowing. However, the emphasis now seems to have gone full circle and we have returned to a more traditional emphasis on saving and paying down debt, despite many having to deal with a very tight budget.
As the report indicates debt is on the decrease and savings are going up, the outlook for the country could be a promising one. The challenge is to ensure that this trend continues and that people are made aware of the options as to how to their savings could work hardest for them.
Over the next year we will be watching to see how the Disposable Income Index changes and what other trends might start to emerge. We will of course keep you updated all the way, but in the meantime, why not check out this infographic that we think nicely sums up the findings from our first report.
NB The Disposable Income Index used research conducted by independent researchers OnePoll. 2000 adults in the UK were surveyed between the 3rd and 5th March, 2014.