Almost one-third of the UK adult population are not currently saving for their future, suggesting a 'bleak future' for their ability to cope with future financial shocks, Scottish Widows said today.
The life insurer's annual Savings and investment report found that 31% of adults were not currently saving, while 17% had no savings at all to their name. While 63% of those included in its research were managing to save, 32% of people had a total savings pot of below £1,000, which is less than the average monthly combined cost of mortgage and council tax payments.
Scottish Widows also found that 30% of people had been forced to cut back on their savings as a result of the rising cost of living, while a further 27% were saving less than two years ago - largely due to reduced levels of disposable income. Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents said having no money available was a major barrier to saving.
Iain McGowan, head of savings and investments at Scottish Widows, said: 'People clearly recognise the importance of saving something towards their future financial well-being, which is encouraging. The importance of building a safety net for themselves and their families is a priority, with 63% of people reporting that they managed to save some money in the last 12 months.
'However, just a quarter of those people believed they were saving enough to meet their long-term needs; with a further 37% saying they would definitely not be achieving this goal.'
He added: 'When we are faced with immediate financial commitments, such as mortgage payments and day to day living expenses, then it is absolutely necessary to give these pressing needs priority. However, taking a wholly short-term view of our finances will mean we are unprepared for the financial needs and challenges that lie ahead in the future.'
Scottish Widows found that a quarter of respondents with families had loaned a 'substantial amount' to their children, often to help them meet daily living expenses, but also to fund higher education and property purchases.
Just under a quarter (24%) of parents said supporting their children had meant they'd had to cut back on their savings, with 8% stopping saving altogether.