Financial impacts of coronavirus affect 6 in 10 savers

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  • Just over 3 in 10 (31%) savers have increased saving since the coronavirus crisis started while almost 3 out of 10 (28%) have decreased or stopped saving
  • Amongst those who have increased savings, the average increase is £197 per month while amongst those who have decreased or stopped saving, the average cut is £159 per month
  • For some, lockdown has meant expenditure has decreased and they are able to save more with 43% of those employed and not furloughed having increased savings, as have 45% of 18-34 year olds across all employment types
  • Greatest reductions in savings are amongst the self-employed where over half (53%) have decreased saving and furloughed workers where over 4 in 10 (42%) have decreased savings

The coronavirus has affected the majority of people’s savings habits according to new research* from Aegon amongst 2000 people. 6 in 10 savers (59%) have made changes to their monthly savings since the start of the pandemic. Employment status in particular is driving significant differences in savers’ actions.

The average increase among those who are saving more is £197, but is even higher among those in full time employment. More than 4 in 10 (43%) of those in full time employment and not furloughed have been able to increase their savings with the average additional contribution being £216. This increase is significant and equivalent to around 10% of average monthly earnings**. Young people aged between 18-34 have been disproportionately likely to increase their savings, with an average increase of £218.

In contrast, 3 out of 10 (28%) savers have decreased or stopped saving with an average cut of £159 per month. The greatest reductions in savings are amongst the self-employed where over half (53%) have decreased saving by an average of £239 and furloughed workers where over 4 in 10 (42%) have decreased savings by an average of £176.

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Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:

“While the coronavirus is first and foremost a health crisis, it is also having a big impact on the nation’s wealth. Our consumer research shows 6 in 10 of the population have changed their savings levels since the start of the crisis with a stark divide between those who have been able to save more because their expenditure in lockdown has reduced and those who have had to cut back or stop regular savings. If this divide in savings patterns continues for any length of time, it will have a big impact on the future financial security of different groups.

“For those fortunate enough to have continued in employment, there’s been a positive impact on saving. With less money being spent on the daily commute, leisure activities and eating out, our research finds many have taken the opportunity to increase their monthly savings by an average of £197.

“But in sharp contrast, the self employed and those employees who have been furloughed are the groups most likely to have reduced or stopped savings. Hopefully, the cuts in income these groups are suffering will be relatively short lived and they will be soon be able to resume saving for their futures.

“In these uncertain times, many have no option but to focus on today’s challenges. But where possible, putting more aside into savings can help people build up greater financial security for their futures. Before making any major changes to savings, it often pays to seek financial advice.”

 

Further information

*Opinium surveyed 2,000 adults between 15-19th May 2020

** ONS report median weekly earnings as £585 or £2,342 per month - https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours

 

Notes to Editors

  • In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to over three million customers. Aegon employs around 2000 people in the UK and together with a further 800 people employed by Atos, we serve the needs of our customers. More information: aegon.co.uk
  • As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management group based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ approximately 26,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe. Further information: aegon.com

Figures correct as of November 2019