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The ’friend effect’ threatening young Brits’ financial health reveals NS&I’s quarterly savings survey.


Nearly half (44%) of young Britons aged 16 to 24 say their friends put pressure on them to keep spending even when they have run out of money, according to the latest Quarterly Savings Survey (QSS) published today by National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

* Half (44%) of 16 to 24 year-olds say friends influence excessive spending, finds NS&I Quarterly Savings Survey
* A quarter (24%) of young Brits think friends should influence spending behaviour
* Amount put aside by each regular saver per month has fallen since summer 2006

Overspending by this generation has damaging implications both for consumer debt and future savings habits and threatens their long term financial health, warns National Savings and Investments ( ).

The influence of friends on overspending among young people is in stark contrast to other age groups who appear more resistant to their peers’ persuasion. More than one in 10 (15%) of those surveyed across all age groups said they felt under pressure from friends to keep spending when they had no money. It is a learning curve with age, however, as nearly a quarter (23%) of 25 to 34 year-olds still felt under some compulsion to do this.

The cost of over-spending:
Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist for NS&I said: “Friends influence all of us in what we like to do, but it is a grave concern if young people are being persuaded by their peers to spend money they simply don’t have. If they build up debt from overspending when they are young they will have nothing left to put away in savings for their future. At this young age, when they are just beginning to earn a salary, manage finances and pay off student debts, it is vital to start good savings habits, rather than going into the red just to be part of the in-crowd.”

The power of the ‘friend effect’:
Nearly a quarter (24%) of impressionable 16 to 24 year-olds think friends should have an influence on whether people spend, compared to just 16% of all those surveyed.

But when it comes to savings habits, just one in 10 (11%) of 16 to 24 year-olds say they are influenced by their friends as to whether they have a savings account.

Who should influence savings?
The NS&I Quarterly Savings Survey also shows the biggest influencers on savings behaviour should be:
- Parents; according to over half (56%) of those surveyed, although under-25s are more resistant with 48% of 16-24s agreeing, while 60% of over 65s believe parents should be the primary influence.
- The media and advertising; according to 14% (just over one in 10) of those surveyed. This rises to a fifth (20%) among 16 to 24 year-olds, showing the potential influence of the media on young people.

Despite the threat peer pressure poses to the young and their financial habits, the survey does hold a note of encouragement. Even though they are under pressure from friends to overspend, a quarter (25%) of 16 to 24 year-olds said they save even if their friends don’t, compared to just over one in 10 (13%) of all those surveyed.


Notes to Editors:
For a PDF of NS&I’s Quarterly Savings Survey visit or for a hard copy or further information on the statistics supplied in this release please contact media team.

The survey of peoples’ savings habits and likelihood to save in the future was carried out by TNS Phonebus among 3,042 GB adults aged 16+ between 1 September and 5 November 2006.

Dax Harkins is available for interview and high-resolution photographs can be supplied. Contact the media team to arrange an interview or request photographs by e-mail.

For more information:

Journalists requiring more information, interviews and digital images should contact the NS&I media team at

ISDN for interviews - 020 7602 4522
Out of hours - All numbers above diverted to staffed mobile phones


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