New study reveals the state of financial literacy in the UK

by | Jun 9, 2023

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The cost of living crisis has made it even more important to understand the ins and outs of our personal finances. However, with the world of finance being fraught with confusing jargon, it’s no surprise that many of us regularly feel overwhelmed.

To find out how much Brits really know about their finances, Shepherds Friendly has quizzed 2,000 consumers across the UK on the topic of ISAs, investing and general personal finance. 

Just 27% of Brits passed the money literacy test, meaning almost three-quarters struggle with financial literacy

 
 

Quizzing the UK on questions relating to ISAs, investing and general personal finance, Shepherds Friendly has found that almost three-quarters of people struggle with basic financial literacy with just 27% of respondents getting half or more of the quiz questions correct. 

Breaking this down by theme, it might come as a surprise that respondents revealed they know the most about investing (40%), followed by ISAs (34%) and general personal finance (28%). With investing becoming an increasingly popular and accessible method for building wealth, this could explain why Brits have the best knowledge in this area.

The quiz also revealed that men in the UK are more financially literate than women, with 31% getting half or more of the questions correct compared to just 24% of women. Meanwhile, those aged 55+ scored the best on the quiz (scoring 35%) whilst those aged 18-24 scored the lowest (scoring 17%).

 
 

Residents in Southampton are the most financially literate in the UK

Those in Southampton proved to be the most financially literate Brits with 38% answering the quiz questions correctly. Southampton is followed by Cardiff in second place and Liverpool in third. 

Meanwhile, Glasgow came out as the least financially literate city with just 16% of respondents getting our quiz questions correct. This city is followed by Sheffield and Belfast

 
 

The top five financially literate cities:

RankCity% that answered half or more of the questions correctly% that answered  half or more of the questions incorrectly
1Southampton38.1%61.9%
2Cardiff35.9%64.1%
3Liverpool35.3%64.7%
4Norwich32.4%67.6%
5Newcastle32.3%67.7%

The top five cities that struggle with financial literacy:

RankCity% that answered half or more of the questions correctly% that answered half or more of the questions incorrectly
1Glasgow16.1%84.0%
2Sheffield20.0%80.0%
3Belfast21.4%78.6%
4London23.3%76.7%
5Bristol24.7%75.3%

Just one in three Brits are putting their savings into an ISA account with more than a quarter keeping their savings in a current account

 
 

With ISAs being one of Brits’ weakest knowledge areas, the study found that just one in three are putting their savings into an ISA, with those aged 18-24 the least likely to do so (24%). Meanwhile, over two-fifths (43%) are putting their savings into other types of savings accounts.

Shockingly, more than a quarter (26%) admit to keeping their savings in a current account where their savings fail to make interest.

Gen-Zs are mostly sourcing information on personal finance topics from TikTok with a quarter turning to the app for guidance 

 
 

Whilst the survey also reveals that Brits are mostly sourcing information on personal finance from their banks (29%), it might not come as a surprise that Gen-Zs are mostly getting information about personal finance topics from TikTok (26%).

Meanwhile, TV shows (such as The Martin Lewis Money Show) are the second most popular way for Brits to gather information on personal finance topics (25%), and the most common way those aged 55 and over (36%) are sourcing their information on money related topics.

Derence Lee, Chief Finance Officer at Shepherds Friendly, says: “It’s never been more important to take time to understand our personal finances and make sure we’re utilising methods to help grow and protect our savings. 

 
 

“Our study shows that there are areas of personal finance that many people struggle with. In particular, we found individuals lack confidence in their knowledge of ISAs. Whether you’ve never attempted to save before or are struggling to manage a realistic savings goal, there are simple steps you can take to help grow your personal finances without feeling overwhelmed. At Shepherds Friendly, we’re here to help you better understand and grow your personal savings with a range of ISAsavailable depending on your saving goals.”

For more information, see the full results here: https://www.shepherdsfriendly.co.uk/resources/money-literacy-test/ 

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