Simon Read: Can't save or won't save? We just can't afford to put it off


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The Independent Online

I know many of us can't afford to save, but there are apparently millions who could but don't. Why?

There are around 11.5 million people who see saving as something to do if their budget allows it, according to a survey by the consumer group Which?, published yesterday.

Meanwhile 2.5 million could afford to save, but don't – either because they prefer to spend money on things they want now, or because they don't think saving is worth while.

Both groups could benefit from some basic budgeting lessons. Lesson one is that saving should be a regular habit.

Experience teaches us that we will face several crisis moments in life, and having a nest-egg to call on could help make problems easier to deal with.

Losing a job, for instance, can quickly lead to financial difficulties unless you have, say, three months' income tucked away to tide you through a difficult patch.

Or feeling able to escape from a relationship can be much easier if you have a deposit and first month's rent to put down on a new home for yourself.

In short, saving shouldn't be put off but started as soon as you can afford it, and kept up as a regular habit to help give you choices in the future.

Which? has demanded that the Government step in and develop a national strategy to help get the UK saving. And while people should never be forced to put money away – the we should have the choice of doing whatever we want with our hard-earned – it's clear that millions of us would do well to learn the value of saving regularly.

Twitter: @simonnread

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