19 July 2017

One in five (21%) Scots have no savings to fall back on, while a third (33%) admit that they’re not saving enough for the long term, according to the latest ‘How Scotland Lives’ research from Bank of Scotland.

The study, now in its third year, found that a fifth (21%) of Scots have not put any money away for a rainy day – up from 18% a year earlier.

Two fifths (38%) of Scots have savings of less than £2,500. That’s just over a month’s wages for the average Scot1, and a long way off the three to six month’s wages that is the minimum level of savings recommended by experts.

The Bank of Scotland research polled more than 2,000 people across Scotland to get under the skin of the issues that really matter to people living in Scotland, from housing to happiness and schools to financial security.
Of those who don’t have any savings for the long-term, almost half (48%) say they can’t afford to save, while more than one in ten (12%) say there's always something else to spend the money on and a similar proportion (11%) say their priorities are short-term.

Of those who are saving, more than one in ten (14%) are just saving towards a short-term goal, such as a holiday, while the same proportion (14%) are saving only for the long-term, for example a secure retirement. Over a third (34%) say they are saving for both.

A fifth (21%) say they are definitely not saving enough to meet their long-term needs, though almost a third (30%) say they are saving enough or more than they need to.

The most popular reasons for long-term saving are to provide for a more secure future (55%), to help ensure a more comfortable retirement (47%) and for emergencies (47%).

The research also found that people in Glasgow are saving the least, with over a quarter (27%) saying that they do not have any savings to their name.

What’s more, almost one in ten (9%) aged between 18 and 34 feel they do not have anything to save for in the long-term.

Mike Moran, Director Bank of Scotland, said: “Our research suggests that many Scots have literally nothing to fall back on if they were to get into financial difficulties.

“It’s recommended that everyone has three to six month’s wages in savings, just as a backup in case something unexpected happens. Opening a savings account and setting up a direct debit can be a good first step towards achieving your savings goals and it’s surprising how quickly savings can grow.”