The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Psychology of saving

Someone offers you £100 today, or £200 in the future. What?s the longest you?d wait for the extra money to compensate for the delay in getting the cash?

A typical answer, says Paul Webley, professor of economic psychology at Exeter university, is four months. Webley was speaking at a lunch in London hosted by the Communication Workers Friendly Society, which provides savings and insurance plans for those on low incomes.

?We have a savings crisis,? Webley says. ?Since the 1960s, it has been established as a simple psychological fact that people set out to save a certain amount and save less.?

That most people will take money now rather than wait for twice as much shows savers put present needs above future security. Also, saving depends on predicting the future, and above all on self-control.

A possible solution, says Webley, would be mandatory savings schemes like workplace pension plans, with an opt-out for people who don?t want to take part. ?People follow the path of least resistance,? he said. ?There is striking evidence from the US that if you make saving the standard option, people will save.?

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree