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32% of Brits don't have emergency savings accounts

14 April 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
If disaster struck, almost a third of Brits would have no funds in an emergency savings account to fall back on, research from National Savings & Investments has found.

A third of people have no money set aside to cope with any unforeseen circumstances, and the same number believe life is too short to worry about if they have enough money in their savings accounts to cope financially in a crisis.

If they were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the middle of an emergency, the average Briton believes they would need £5,368.70 to cope, which amounts to approximately four months of the average person's take home income, the study found, but the majority have admitted that they would not have any emergency savings available to them.

While a fifth of respondents to NS&I's survey said that they do put money away in case of unexpected events, they do not keep it separate from their main account, which means that they are tempted to use it for day-to-day expenses instead, which some of them do.

Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS&I, thinks that everyone should be financially prepared for an emergency, because "we all face the possibility of situations that we simply have no control over." Therefore, he said, "it's essential that we are all prepared for any emergency that will require immediate access to money, and ensure we are saving enough to cover us in a crisis."

The NS&I winter quarterly savings tracker last month revealed that Brits would only have enough savings to support themselves for one month if they were faced with an emergency, despite the recommendation that they keep about three to six months' living expenses set aside.

"Confusion seems to reign for Britain's savers as to what counts as a financial crisis, how to save for such an event, and how to manage safety funds," Mr Harkins added. "Given the current climate, it is even more important to think about this and to start saving money in a separate and easily accessible fund, just in case the unexpected should occur."

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