Cash windfalls are there to be blown – unless they’re £648 or more

Three-quarters of people say they would happily spend a £100 windfall

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The Independent Online

If you were handed an unexpected cash windfall, would you save it or spend it? That depends on the amount, according to a new study published today.

People who receive nominal amounts - such as £100 - tend to spend it on themselves or add it to the kitty to pay for everyday items. But the bigger the amount, the more likely people are to want to save it.

While three-quarters of people say they would happily spend a £100 windfall, only a quarter say they would spend it if the windfall was £5,000.

The windfall tipping point, where more people are likely to save than spend, is £648, according to the study by GE Capital Direct, which also suggested that windfalls aren’t as rare as you may think.

In the UK, a third of people say they have received a windfall, with amounts averaging a potential life-changing £34,247.

The most common source for a windfall is an inheritance, which accounted for almost three-fifths of them. A fifth of people said they got a windfall through a bonus while just over a tenth said it was gift money.

Looking at how each generation spends a windfall from inheritance reveals differing life-stage priorities. Four times as many 25-34 year olds put money from inheritance towards a deposit for a house.

The research also uncovered the dichotomy between how 18-24 year olds think of themselves when it comes to saving and what they actually do. Despite being the most likely age group to identify themselves as savers in reality only one in three put money from a windfall into a savings account or ISA.

Instead they are most likely to use the money to splash out on a holiday or similar big treat.