Around one in five (19%) adults have less than £100 in savings, according to a building society.
Indicating a widening gap in the UK’s financial wellbeing, a similar proportion (20%) of people have managed to increase their monthly savings during the coronavirus pandemic.
The research was carried out for Yorkshire Building Society, which has set out an ambition to help more people save.
It found that 21% of people are not currently saving, compared with 12% when similar research was carried out in 2019.
One in seven (13%) people have no savings to fall back on at all and more than a quarter (26%) have less than £500 put away.
More positively, nearly a fifth (17%) of people surveyed have reduced their outstanding debt during the pandemic.
Tina Hughes, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Our new research continues to highlight just how fragile many people’s finances are with the shocking figure that nearly a fifth of all UK adults have less than £100 in savings.
“It also shows the further widening of the financial wellbeing gap in the UK. While we know it can be hard for people to put money away, especially with rising living costs and in a low interest environment, we mustn’t overlook the impact saving has on people’s financial and mental wellbeing.”
The society highlighted the impact financial wellbeing has on people’s mental health, with more than a fifth (22%) of people having sleepless nights due to money worries, two-fifths (40%) feeling stressed about their finances and more than a third (35%) feeling that the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their stress levels.
Ms Hughes continued: “Now more than ever, with current and potential future economic uncertainty, it’s important for people to try and build their financial resilience and for us as a society to help people to save.
“Money worries can make people anxious, so we want them to know they don’t have to suffer in silence and we’re here to help them manage their money during difficult times.”
The society, which has saving and budgeting tips on its website, commissioned a survey of 2,000 people across the UK in May.
The survey is part of its ongoing campaign to improve financial resilience – with a goal of getting an additional 1.8 million non-savers to start putting money away by 2024.