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Closing the young savers gap that’s stifling dreams

December 2023

Jim Islam, Chief Executive Officer

As the new CEO of the financial mutual OneFamily, I see my role as an opportunity to lift people up and inspire their potential, to empower them and to enable social mobility.

The mutual sector and its social purpose is especially relevant right now, with the rise in the cost of living meaning that young adults are struggling to save for their futures at the same time as covering their increasing bills and paying their rent.

This isn’t just conjecture, in a survey we conducted earlier this year, 62% pointed to increased food costs as a reason why they were struggling to save and 54% said that it was due to inflation causing all their costs to be higher¹.

And the frustration they felt was apparent; an incredible 78% said that they would like to start saving or to save more than they currently were².

There’s quite clearly a young savers gap that’s stifling people’s hopes and dreams.

"62% of the people we spoke to said increased food costs were one reason they were struggling to save"

Meanwhile, in a more recent survey, 38% of 18-40 year-olds³ said that they might have to move because they can’t afford the rise in the costs where they’re currently living.

Those in Glasgow were the most worried about the property market with 64% concerned about the cost of housing, closely followed by people living in London and Manchester (both 58%).

So how can young people move out of the rental market and into their own home? What can be done to support them in building their savings and getting their first foot on the housing ladder?

There’s some help to be found in the lifetime ISA (LISA).

This is a tax-free savings account that was set up by the UK government to help people buy their first home, or save for retirement. Up to £4,000 can be saved in a LISA each year but the big benefit is that it’s topped up with a government bonus of 25%. So, up to £1,000 extra a year.

"It’s important that we enable as many people as possible to benefit from lifetime ISAs and we’ve been looking for the most effective way to do this"

It’s not the full answer to all the problems that young adults face, but the bonus has to be a great help.

It’s important that we enable as many people as possible to benefit from this product and we’ve been looking for the most effective way to do this.

So, I’m very proud that we are working with the much-loved stationery giant WHSmith, to introduce our LISA and our junior ISA (JISA) to their customers through 300 branches on High Streets nationwide.

It’s a partnership that will open up greater opportunities for social mobility, allowing us to reach more people who need our help as we work hard to close the young savers gap.

And we’re looking for further fresh, innovative ways to support even more people. So, this is just the beginning…

1 & 2 Research conducted by Opinium, on behalf of OneFamily 17 February – 21 February 2023 among a sample of 2,000 UK adults aged between 18-40

3 Research conducted by Opinium, on behalf of OneFamily, 25th September – 9th October 2023, among a sample of 2,000 UK adults aged between 18-40.

Jim Islam

Jim places great value on the importance of education, citing it as the foundation stone upon which social mobility can be built. As OneFamily’s CEO, he wants to hold out his hand of support to those who don’t know where to turn and to use his platform to lift people up and inspire them to fulfil their potential.

He encourages thinking big, having great aspirations and setting audacious goals to free potential. With education, encouragement and empowerment he thinks that any child can achieve their biggest and most colourful of dreams.

Jim was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of financial mutual, OneFamily, in December 2023.

OneFamily is the UK’s third largest mutual with over 2m customers.

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