Despite being thought of as a nation of borrowers, Britons are saving but failing to make the most of investment opportunities, says the latest survey by Halifax Financial Services.
The research carried out by NOP shows that 67 per cent had money in a bank or savings account, with 72 per cent of men more likely to save compared with 62 per cent of women.
People living in the West Country and Meridian TV regions are more likely to be savers at 77 per cent compared with the Scots who are least likely at 56 per cent The likelihood of having a savings account rises with age.
Of those who did have a savings account, 16 per cent currently save nothing. Thirty-nine per cent of people say they save 10 per cent or less of annual income.
Halifax Financial Services managing director Ray Milne says that while savings accounts are going strong, many people are missing out on the increased growth offered by the stockmarket.
When asked about retirement and pensions, a third of respondents had no idea what proportion of their monthly income they should put away and 11 per cent save nothing. Yet two-thirds of people who are not retired want to stop work early.
Milne says the average pensioner needs at least £200 a week to have a decent retirement but the Government's minimum income guarantee in 2002 was only £98.15 a week or £149.80 for couples.
Milne says: “We are urging consumers to take a good look at their long-term saving plans and make adjustments while it is not too late.
“A sum of £5,000 placed in the average 90-day notice account in August 1988 would now be worth around £16,000 but the same amount invested in the FTSE 100 would be worth around £27,000.”