The latest research from over 50s specialist insurer SunLife reveals that online tools and phone apps are becoming more popular amongst people in their 50s, 60s and 70s.
According to SunLife’s annual Cash Happy report - which looks at the day to day finances of 3,000 UK households - the number of over 50s that budget has risen from 35% to 38%, and that rise is down to the increasing popularity of digital tools and apps.
In 2015, one in 25 over 50s who said they budgeted formally did so using an online tool or app, the following year, that had doubles to one in 12 and this year, it has increased again to one in nine.
In contrast, the popularity of budgeting ‘by hand’ using a notebook is down to one in seven from one in six in 2016 and 2015.
Using an excel spreadsheet on a home PC or laptop remains the most popular method, with one in five (20%) over 50s saying they use a spreadsheet to keep on top of their incomings and outgoings, slightly up on last year (17%) but the same as 2015.
The data also shows that one in five over 50s now check their bank accounts daily - up from one in seven last year. Those checking several times a week, weekly, monthly and several times a month have all dropped slightly, suggesting that it is those that have started using apps and other tools more often have started checking their accounts more frequently.
an Atkinson, Marketing Director at SunLife said:“It is great to see people in their 50s, 60s and 70s embracing technology more and choosing to use online tools and phone apps to manage their money. It actually supports our Big 50 research which shows 86% of over 50s use the internet for at least eight hours a week, with more than two thirds of those online 15 hours or more each week.
“The Cash Happy data also shows that eight in ten over 50s now check their accounts at least weekly, with a quarter of those checking every day, suggesting that over 50s are making use of online technology to ensure sure they have the latest info on their financial situation, rather than waiting for monthly statements from bank.”
However, while most over 50s budget either formally or informally, 21% say they either have no idea or only a rough idea about the state of their finances. In contrast, just 17% of under 50s would say the same.
But, when you look at the differing financial situations it could explain why some over 50s are less worried about keeping close tabs on their outgoings as Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife explains:
“The average over 50s household has £44,840 in savings while the average under 50s household has £14,738, this is a huge difference which could really impact that household’s attitude to spending and budgeting. Over 50s households also spend less on their fixed outgoings - for example, 14% of over 50s households’ income is spent on rent, while amongst under 50s, it is much higher - 20% - which could explain why, on average, over 50s are less worried about budgeting.
“But, whether you feel you ‘need’ to budget or not, Cash Happy also shows that budgeting makes us happier and it is amazing how much you can save by keeping a closer eye on the pennies.
“Our budgeting calculator shows you how much you could save in 10 years if you budget better. For example, if you cut back on having a takeaway coffee before work, you’d save just under £50 a month, and over 10 years, that’s £5,668 which you could put towards something that makes you really happy!”