Brits aren’t ‘good with money’ until 31, study reveals

Written by Lori Campbell on 9th Oct 2019

Brits are the most carefree with cash at the age of 22 and finally become ‘good with money’ at 31, a new study has found.

Men typically feel in control of their money earlier than women – by age 29, compared with 33. Around two-thirds of those polled say that regularly paying into a savings account and having a pension plan are the top indicators of being in financial control.

More than half believe that having a pension is a good sign of maturity, while 53 per cent point to always shopping around for the best deals. Nearly half think staying out of your overdraft is a sign of being responsible, and around a third said it’s the smaller things that make a difference such as taking a packed lunch to work. A further 13 per cent suggest that avoiding ’rounds’ in the pub when out drinking is a sign of being smart with cash.

The survey of 1,500 people by money lending business Zopa found that we feel most financially frivolous at the age of 22. Many people said they had splashed out more on unnecessary items, spent too much on nights out and bought too many clothes.

Social media pressures and buying holidays and clothes could be a factor in overspending, the research found, but some people said they had naturally started spending less on social activities after reaching their mid-30s. Among those surveyed over the age of 35, more than half said they would be more inclined to spend an evening at home than when they were in their 20s.

The same proportion said they now spend less money when they go out and a further 19 per cent said they started saving more in their mid to late 30s.  However, a separate study by homelessness charity Shelter found millennial couples are putting off having children because they aren’t stable enough and many still rely on the bank of mum and dad.



Are you good with money?

Here’s the top ten signs that people believe make you ‘good with money’:

• Having a savings account that you regularly pay into

• Having a pension plan

• Always shopping around for the best deals

• Never being in your overdraft

• Paying off your credit card bills monthly

• Using loyalty cards

• Having a ‘rainy day’ fund

• Knowing your bank balance at all times

• Not lending cash to friends

• Preparing a packed lunch to take to work


To find out how to change your pension for Good download our Good Guide to Pensions


How to feel good about money

Zopa offers five top tips for people to feel good about their money at any age:

1. Prioritise: if there is a debt that makes you feel uncomfortable, then prioritise paying that off before you think about saving towards a new goal

2. Budget monthly: many outgoings such as bills, rent or mortgage payments are monthly. Check how this compares to your earnings and therefore what you can afford to spend on the more ‘fun’ purchases. Create a rough monthly budget

3. Borrow: there is a stigma around loans and credit cards but if well managed, they will enable people to achieve personal goals, plus also help build a history of borrowing money which can increase your eligibility for other lending products such as mortgages

4. Consolidate: managing debt can be overwhelming. Consolidating debts means reducing the number of payments each month and can mean getting a better deal overall. Not-for-profit organisations such as Stepchange and Payplan can offer free debt advice too

5. Ignore social media: in an age where people share a lot of their lives on social media, it can be easy to be tempted to ‘keep up with the social joneses’. Remember your own circumstances and live accordingly, regardless of social media

Don't miss the good stuff!

Sign up for the newest and best green money deals in your inbox every week