Penniless . . . one in seven in Northern Ireland have zero savings

PENNILESS: One in seven (15 per cent) of Northern Ireland adults have no savings whatsoever, according to BSA research
Gary McDonald Business Editor

AMIDST the worst cost-of-living crisis in living memory, it has emerged that one in seven people in Northern Ireland don't have a single penny in savings.

And of those who do have something set aside for a rainy day, more than a third keep their money in an account which offers paltry returns.

Meanwhile, a third of savers say they never compare interest rates, so are potentially losing hundreds of pounds of extra income every year.

The figures are from research by the Building Societies Association (BSA), released to coincide with UK Savings Week, which aims to help people understand how to better manage their personal finances.

The findings show that people in Northern Ireland save less than any of their UK counterparts, with an average of £151 set aside here compared to £200 nationally.

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The research revealed that 43 per cent of adults here put money aside on an ad-hoc basis whenever they have money, compared to 34 per cent of their UK counterparts.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent of those who save regularly feel confident that they could put away an extra £120 a year on top of what they currently set aside. Two fifths believe they could manage an extra £600, while 24 per cent feel they could realistically save £1,200 more annually.

And money management is particularly poor in the north, with 36 per cent of local savers keeping their cash in an account which offers little or no interest, while 15 per cent say they haven’t reviewed their accounts for a year or more.

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Declan Moore, operations director at Progressive Building Society, which is supporting UK Savings Week, said it was concerning that 15 per cent of Northern Ireland people do not have a savings pot.

“We know households are dealing with a cost-of-living crisis that has stretched budgets like never before,” he said.

“During Savings Week, we want to focus on ways of saving a realistic amount of money for a rainy day, no matter how small that amount is.

“We want to help people understand how to save and how to manage their finances so that they’re in a more comfortable position.”

He added: “Our advice is to set a target savings amount each month, make it a habit and reward yourself so that you stay motivated.”