Having an effective savings plan should be a core part of money management, but it seems not everyone is able to get into that habit. Perhaps even more worrying is the significant difference between genders – there's a growing gender divide with men saving a lot more than women, while a lot of the UK population aren't able to save anything whatsoever.
According to research from Santander, the average Brit has £20,380 held in savings accounts. It sounds like a princely sum, but break the figure down and you'll see the divergence – the figure falls to a mere £13,070 for women while men have stashed away an average of £28,079, meaning women's savings are less than half that of men's to result in a gender savings gap of £15,009.
Closer analysis reveals that the gap is getting bigger – in 2011 the figure was just £7,552, with men saving an average of £24,272 while women held materially more than they do today, averaging £16,720.
This gender gap is fuelled by a distinct disparity between how much men and women are able to put aside on a monthly basis. The average Brit will save an average of £110 per month, broken down into £87 for women and £134 for men, and again 2011 figures showed a smaller gap – women deposited an average of £98 per month while men saved £132, showing how quickly the gender gap is increasing.
However, what's even more concerning is the amount of people with no savings whatsoever. Some 19% of respondents have no savings at all – or 21% of women and 17% of men – and with an additional 34% stating that they're not able to save anything into an account at present, it paints a worrying picture for the future of the nation's savings.
While men seem to be a bit savvier when it comes to saving it's vital that women get on board too, and it's even more important for those 19% that aren't able to save anything at all. Luckily it's never too late to start plugging that gap.
Saving little and often can soon add up, and while it could take a while to get to the heady heights of £20K saved up, it'll still be worth it. Opting for an instant access ISA that allows regular deposits would be a great place to start – you won't be restricted to making a lump sum investment and you'll still be able to get your hands on the cash if necessary, and best of all, any interest you earn will be entirely tax-free.
Getting into the habit of putting any spare cash into a savings account will never go amiss, and a bit of savvy saving means your pot will soon build up. Happily, some people seem to be increasingly aware of the importance of building up a nest egg – even though a third aren't saving anything at present around a quarter (24%) are actually planning to save more in the next three to six months, so why not join them?
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