The findings are the result of research commissioned by the Open University Business School’s dedicated research centre the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance.
It revealed that the 52 million UK adults aged 16-plus have over £9 billion worth of spare cash available to them each month. That totals £108 billion per year – an average of £175 per person, per month.
However, it is what we do with this spare cash that determines how anti or pro-austerity we are at home, the survey says:
Saveocrats: 35% are saving regularly into a bank account, but earning little
Investocrats: 8% put their spare cash to work, actively investing for the future
Spendocrats: 20% spend all their spare money, with over a third of these borrowing more and living for the moment, they are very much anti-austerity
Austerocrats: 11% spend less so they can pay off their debts, they are in the pro-austerity camp
Non-voters: 26% do nothing at all
The research reveals that 43% of adults are regularly saving or investing anything at all. As a result of not exploring more productive investment options, the average UK saver could be missing out on almost £1,500 a year – a total of £24 billion every year across the UK.
These findings are announced as True Potential PUFin launches an interactive six-week free online course to help consumers through the investing maze.
The Managing My Investments course follows the hugely successful Managing My Money course, launched in 2014.
OUBS True Potential PUFin director Martin Upton, said: “It is a real concern that so many people who are able to invest are not doing so because they have preconceptions about investments; be it how much you need monthly to be able to invest or how complicated it is to do so.
“This simply means there is a huge percentage of the population whose money is not working to its full potential.”
The new PUFin Managing My Investments course is a response to UK’s limited understanding of investment choices, risks and returns.
Mr Upton said: “It will help give consumers the tools to plan properly, make investment choices fit with risk appetites and will also cover the current reforms to UK pensions.”
True Potential LLP managing partner David Harrison added: “This research confirms that the financial services sector has become even less accessible for savers and the results are clear. Many people may wish to invest and see their money work harder but savings and investments are now so complicated and tied up in disclaimers that most are simply put off or are fearful of the potential for loss.
“Savers are into their seventh year of rock-bottom interest rates so sensible investments have never been more important.
At True Potential we believe in giving people the knowledge and technology to make informed investment decisions so that they can reach their financial goals.”
The new Managing My Investments course begins on May 11 and is available for free via the online social-learning platform, FutureLearn. The course features audio-visual clips, interactive discussions and quizzes offered on a weekly basis.