Can you believe it’s been over a year since Boris Johnson put the UK in full national lockdown? An unprecedented move, which has now been repeated twice more, with the periods in between being peppered with tiers, track-and-trace and travel bans.
Indeed, it might sometimes feel as though our lives have been in limbo over the last 13 months, but we’ve certainly had plenty of opportunity to reassess our life goals – and according to new research by St. James’s Place, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing!
Brits are taking their goals more seriously than before the pandemic, with 22% saying they feel more focused, having used the last 12 months to reassess what’s important to them – whether that be a new car, house, job, or even a baby. A quarter (25%) report feeling anxious or worried about losing a year of time working towards their long-term goals – however, this again shows our heightened focus on the future, and what we want from it.
As a result, only one in five UK adults had to put their personal goals or ambitions on hold as a result of COVID-19. Instead, we’ve adapted and changed our goals with the world around us (40%) or indeed have remained determined to follow our career, family or property dreams (31%).
What’s more, a quarter of Brits now claim that having a financial goal is important to them, as a result of the pandemic.
Looking to the future
It comes as no surprise that the majority of adults valued family and relationships as the most important life focus pre-pandemic (74%), and this remains the same now (78%). However, 59% of Brits now hold personal health as ‘very important’ – an increase of 13% from before the pandemic.
Instead of dwelling on the hardships, we’re mindful of the positives that have come out of the last year, such as being able to cook more (31%) and having more free time to exercise (25%).
Alexandra Loydon, Director of Partner Engagement and Consultancy at St. James’s Place, commented:
“It is really positive to see that although the pandemic has brought hardship and uncertainty to many, there have also been some real positives, especially as people place their general well-being as a greater priority than before.”
At Wellesley, we always promote the idea of looking long-term – focusing on long-term stability rather than short-term turbulence. It’s therefore brilliant to see how flexible people have been in the face of adversity over the last year. After all, we haven’t just had the pandemic to contend with – but issues such as Brexit, the US Presidential election and reeling markets across the globe.
With our options for socialising, travel and shopping being, let’s say, a little limited of late, it’s had the silver lining of allowing us to save more. One in three adults (37%) has been able to do so, on average pocketing £1,660 (although there’s a big gap between men and women at £2,040 to £1,300). Those aged 25-34 have been the biggest beneficiaries of the reduced social life – saving £2,330, with the 45-54s only saving £840.
Melloney Underhill, Marketing Insights Manager at St. James’s Place, says:
“The pandemic has taught us a really valuable lesson as to what (admittedly, enforced) financial discipline can do for your future. It’s so nice to see a silver lining for those who haven’t lost their jobs or had their incomes reduced. Their 12-month spending diet could set them up for a brighter financial future, but they need to be careful not to blow all those savings once restrictions are lifted.
“Seeking financial advice about how you could achieve your long-term goals is key to making the most of what you’ve accumulated.”
If you’re a member of that fortunate group who saved more during the pandemic, now’s the time to take action.
Seizing the opportunity
This stronger motivation for making – and committing to – future plans is perhaps a rare positive effect of the pandemic, but it’s important to start taking steps towards that end goal. You might want to return to the New Tax Year article at the start of the newsletter!
Wherever you are on your financial journey, Wellesley is there to help. Just ask.
The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.
The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief generally depends on individual circumstances.
All statistics taken from research carried out by Research Without Barriers on behalf of St. James’s Place, sample size 1,026 UK adults, March 2021.