Nearly two thirds (65%) of UK adults believe that maintaining a certain amount in savings for an emergency fund is the most worthwhile financial behaviour, according to new research from Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
The research, carried out among over 8,000 UK adults, is part of the 2021 worth and value survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs – an annual snapshot of which financial, personal, and professional practices UK adults feel are worthwhile. It shows that the UK is still a nation of savers, with over two-fifths (41%) transferring a set amount of money to a savings account as soon as they’re paid.
Yet we’re increasingly seeing the value of alternatives to saving. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed plan to start investing or invest more in the next 12 months, increasing from just 15% the previous year. One reason for this might be that in a low interest, high inflation environment, we are beginning to see value in taking more risk in response to higher living costs.
Traditional and unconventional alternatives to saving
Some are even turning to new, unconventional assets to help them make the most of their money. More than one in ten existing investors (14%) claim to have invested in cryptocurrencies, and 11% plan to do so in the future.
Yet it seems that we are placing greater worth on traditional assets when choosing where to invest our money. In the last 12 months, 15% of investors had engaged in the new trend of investing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), one-of-a-kind digital assets which sometimes take the form of memes. However, a higher proportion (22%) invested in art in the same period, suggesting that we still value Monets more highly than memes.
Precious metals such as gold and silver, a centuries-old method of investment, remain a popular choice. 14% of investors claim to have invested in precious metals, and 8% plan to do so in the future.
Worthwhile ways to manage money
The 2021 worth and value survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs also reveals how our financial intentions aren’t always reflected in reality. While we consider some financial behaviours worthwhile, we don’t always actually do them. One in three (33%) say maximising the return on their savings is a worthwhile endeavour, for example, but only one in five (21%) actually do this. Similarly, while 35% believe sticking to a monthly spending budget is a worthwhile financial behaviour, just 26% actually do so.
“For the second year, our research has shown just how highly we value the practices of building an emergency fund, and regularly contributing to a savings pot, even in a low interest and high inflation environment” said Amanda Le Brocq, Head of Strategy for Marcus by Goldman Sachs in the UK.
“Yet we’re increasingly engaging with alternatives to saving. More people are investing their money in the stock market, probably in response to higher living costs and because some people have accumulated extra cash during recent lockdowns. It seems that more of us are seeing the benefits of balancing saving with investing, and the value of taking a risk for potential reward.”