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What are the average savings by age in the UK?

We delve into the average savings by age, looking at the ideal situation and stark reality for various age groups in the UK, how much to save for retirement, and good ways to save money.

Summary

  • Approximately 30% of people in Britain have no savings.

  • It’s vital to save money for emergencies and for retirement.

  • There are various ways to start saving and to improve how you save.

  • Seek advice from a qualified financial adviser who can offer guidance and advice on saving successfully.

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How important is it to save money?

There’s no escaping the fact that saving money is important. Many people in the UK will have heard the expression “saving for a rainy day.” Obviously, this has nothing to do with the weather. 

Instead, the rainy days we should be saving for include events and situations such as medical emergencies, a sudden job loss or loss of income, tuition fees, and weddings. 

Saving for your golden years is also important. 

What are the average savings by age?

In 2023, Finder research found that the average British adult had £17,773 in savings. 

However, on closer inspection, you’ll find that the average amount of savings varies considerably by age.

The differences in the average savings by age are due to a variety of factors. Typically younger people have less savings due to higher expenses and lower salaries. 

Millennials, who were born in the 1980s and mid-90s, are more likely to use technology to help them save for long-term goals, while Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980) are more likely to save for short-term goals.

Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and the silent generation (who were born from mid-1920s to mid-1940s) are more likely to have higher incomes, own homes, and save for retirement – and, tend to have significantly more savings than younger generations do. 

The table below shows the average income and the average savings by age for different age groups in the UK:

Age

Average income (annual salary)

Average savings

Under 25

£30,316

£2,533

25–34 

£37,544

£4,775

35–44 

£40,040

£6,751

45–54 

£37,804

£14,591

Above 55

£33,852

£35,607

What factors affect average savings?

The story around average savings in the UK isn’t simply a matter of people living in the moment and refusing to save money. Instead, a variety of factors affect average savings by age.

Income is one of the most important of these factors. When it comes to average savings by income, there’s a direct correlation between savings and income.

People with higher incomes can save more than people with lower incomes due to having more disposable income.

Other important factors include peoples’ attitudes toward saving and their saving habits. 

How much money should I save each month?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

The answer for you depends on various factors, although there is a helpful rule of thumb that you can use to guide your monthly budgeting, given how important it is to save money. 

Known as the 50/30/20 rule, this is a percentage-based budget method.

The idea is to spend 50% of your after-tax income on essential needs, 30% of your income on things you want, and to save 20% of your income.

Of course, you can aim to save 30% of your income and spend 20% of it on your wants. If saving 20% isn’t realistic, aim for a slightly lower amount, such as 10% or even 5%.

How much savings should you have at 30?

According to Moneyfarm, the average savings you should have by the age of 30 should be £51,434 or the equivalent of your annual income.

A few factors that can influence how much people in their 20s save include:

  • Couples forming at a later age.

  • Remaining longer in full-time education.

  • Focusing on starting a career.

  • Aiming to become more financially stable.

  • Working to set up a home.

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How much savings should you have at 40?

The average savings by age 40 should be £124,911 or the equivalent of three times the amount of your pre-retirement income.

For decades, earnings across the age ranges have followed a similar pattern: People under 30 have earned the least, people between 30 and 50 have earned the most, and people older than 50 have typically seen their earnings decrease steadily as they approach retirement.

Some factors that influence how much people save during their 30s include:

  • Having or delaying having children.

  • Short-term goals, such as holidays abroad.

  • Student loans.

  • Mortgages.

How much savings should you have at 50 and 60?

In the UK, the average savings by age 50 should be £198,390 or the equivalent of six times your pre-retirement income.

By age 60, the average savings should be £270,100 or the equivalent of eight times your pre-retirement income.

Some of the factors that influence how people save in their 40s, 50s, and 60s include:

  • Paying a mortgage.

  • Caring for children.

  • Looking after older parents or other relatives.

  • Becoming grandparents for the first time.

  • Working reduced hours or part-time.

How much money should you have saved for retirement?

Like the amount of money that you should save each month, the amount of money you should have saved for retirement is subjective.

Many people in the UK think that an annual income of £10,200–£41,900 is sufficient to afford a comfortable retirement

Let’s say that you’re looking at a retirement period of 20 years, you’ll need to have between £204,000 and £838,000 saved for retirement.

Achieving this goal can become easier through working with a financial adviser, investing wisely, and taking advantage of work benefits such as matching contributions from your employer.

Some considerations when thinking about how much to save for retirement include:

  • Accommodation.

  • Transportation.

  • Monthly expenses such as groceries and utility bills.

  • Entertainment.

  • Medical expenses.

Calculate how to boost your pension using our free pension calculator.

How do I save money?

If the average savings by age in the UK have got you relooking at how you save, you may find the following tips from financial advisers helpful:

  1. Budget thoroughly: Assess three months’ worth of bank statements and your bills to get a good sense of your monthly expenses. Next, factor in any annual expenses. See where you can cut back and save, and then create a weekly or monthly budget. Be sure to include savings in your budget.

  2. Use money management tools: Various money management tools are available online. In addition to setting up notifications for spending and receiving money, some of these tools allow you to automate regular payments, set spending limits, and automatically save money regularly.

  3. Make your savings as secure and inaccessible as possible: Falling short of money in a month and making impulsive purchases can tempt you to dip into your savings. Get around this by choosing savings options that do not offer easy access to your money, such as an account that requires you to give your bank or financial services provider 32 or 95 days’ notice to withdraw funds.

  4. Save before spending: Get into the habit of saving before spending. Put money into your savings immediately after payday, use what’s left to cover your monthly expenses, and then treat yourself to a few things you want.

  5. Review your debts: Review debts such as your credit card, mortgage, or personal loan and see if you can find ways to reduce your monthly payments. For example, see if you can transfer your credit card balance from one provider to another that offers an interest-free period during which you can significantly lower, if not clear, your debt.

Seek expert financial advice

Even if you are nowhere near the average savings for your age group, it’s never too late to start saving. 

Let Unbiased match you with a reputable financial adviser who can offer expert financial advice and help you improve your savings strategy for a brighter financial future.

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About the author
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.