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5 findings on people's financial mindsets

by Amanda Martin , 06.05.2016

Internationally, people with a ‘save now’ mindset just outnumber people with a ‘have fun now’ mindset – but the numbers are very close.

We asked over 27,000 people across 22 countries to indicate how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement “I want to enjoy life today and will worry about savings and investments later”.

By analyzing the results at different levels (international, by country, by gender, by age group), we can share a snap-shot of the financial mindsets prevailing in different countries and demographics. For example - does a specific country have a population that favors living for today – and therefore are likely to respond to offers of instant-access accounts or cash-back incentives? Or does the population favor thinking about savings and investments today – and therefore be more interested in long-term fixed interest accounts and pension products etc.  And what is the breakdown across age groups and genders?

Five findings on nations' financial mindsets

1. 16 of the 22 countries are fairly evenly divided between fun-lovers and savers

Only eight of the 22 countries in the survey showed a big gap (ten percentage points difference or more) between those who agree with putting off worrying about savings, and those who favor thinking about savings and investments today. And, in all of these, the larger group is on the side of favoring saving today.

Of those eight countries, six fall between a 10-13 percentage point difference and only two stand out as having a really major skew. The Czech Republic shows a 32 percentage point difference on the side of saving today and Hong Kong shows 28 percentage point difference the same way.

2. Only four countries have more fun-lovers than savers

Of the 22 countries studied, only China, the Netherlands, Sweden and Turkey have greater numbers of their online population who agree with enjoying life today and worrying about savings and investments later, compared to the number disagreeing.

3. Hong Kong is only market where over half of the population favor saving today

Hong Kong stands out as the only market where more than half of the online population show a ‘save now’ mindset. In this market, 54 percent disagree with the idea of enjoying life today and worrying about savings and investments later. The Czech Republic runs second with 49 percent disagreeing, followed by Brazil with 45 percent.

4. Women more inclined to be savings-minded; men are evenly divided

Although a third (33 percent) of women internationally agree with enjoying life now and worrying about financial security later, a greater number (40 percent) disagree. Men, however, are more evenly divided with 36 percent agreeing and 35 percent disagreeing.

5. Twenty-somethings beat teenagers on percentage of fun-lovers

Online consumers aged 20-29 years old have the highest percentage of fun-lovers of any age group, with 41 percent agreeing with having fun now and worrying about saving later. Teenagers (15-19 years old) and those aged 30-39 years old come next – standing almost equal at 37 percent and 36 percent respectively. And a quarter (26 percent) of people aged 50-59 years old and 60+ years old also agree with living for today.

On the other end of the scale, the numbers showing a more ‘save now’ mindset increases fairly steadily with each age group. This starts at a third (34 percent) of both teenagers and 20-29 year olds and peaks at 43 percent of 50-59 year olds and 42 percent of those aged 60 and over.

Download the complete findings for each of the 22 markets, with breakdown by gender and age group.

Please contact me at amanda.martin@gfk.com to share your thoughts.

About the study

GfK conducted an online survey with over 27,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 22 countries. Fieldwork was completed in June 2015 and data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population age 15+ in each market. The markets included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, U.K and U.S.