Savings on the decline despite year-on-year rise in disposable income

Has the amount left in your wallet, pocket or purse at the end of the month gone up over the last three months? If so, what you’ve seen mirrors what is happening around the country. That’s because, according to the latest findings from Scottish Friendly’s ‘Disposable Income Index,’¹ disposable incomes have risen by 0.2 per cent over the last quarter, and by a year-on-year rise of 1.7 per cent.

Despite this, 16 per cent less people have put money aside each month into savings and investments in the last three months – a reduction from 30.5 million people to 25.6 million.

Our quarterly report that looks at the saving and spending habits across the UK has revealed that, after bills and essentials have been paid for, people are left with around 9.9 per cent of their salary in spending money, an average of £236 per person.

It remains to be seen if this quarter’s slow growth in disposable income marks a trend for the rest of the year. However this together with uncertainty over the General Election result and possibly spending on one-off items like holidays has had an adverse effect on the level of savings and investments in the UK.

Regionally the last quarter presented a mixed bag, with the North East seeing the largest rise in disposable income, climbing by 1.6 per cent. This was followed by the West Midlands and London which rose by 1.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

In comparison, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland fell by 1.2 per cent, and people in the East Midlands experienced a decline of 1.0 per cent.

Despite the overall rise in national disposable income, not all areas of the country are thriving. If this continues, we could start to see a wider divergence in the UK between the haves and the have nots.
The survey shows Scots currently have the highest levels of disposable income, with residents taking home on average 11.1 per cent of their salary left each month. This is closely followed by Londoners who have 10.0 per cent of their income left over each month.

¹ Research conducted by One Poll in February, 2014 and by Reddot research in February, 2015. On both occasions a representative cross section of over 2,000 adults in the UK were surveyed.

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. 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 Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.