Research has revealed that almost two-thirds of adults in the UK have no idea how much money is in their bank account.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. If you’ve ever given your balance a wide berth the morning after the night before, you’ll know that what I don’t know can’t hurt me is a startlingly pervasive attitude in the realm of personal finance (despite the fact that most of us are hyper-aware of the consequences of ignoring what’s going on in our bank account).
In short: we all know that keeping our fiscal dirty laundry at arm’s length is A Bad Thing – so why are some of us so good at it? More than a few of us are masters of evasion as far as our balance is concerned, spending those pre-payday weeks counting down the days with uneasy anticipation.
At times it feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy; a cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck, in constant fear of exposure to our own financial position. In an expensive world, saving can be tough – and for some, impossible – and all things considered, it’s little wonder that wilful ignorance can feel like the most comforting option. Unfortunately it’s often at the expense of the clarity and insight that can actually help us slowly build that rainy day fund for the future (which is something we’re told that a lot of you would like).
From speaking to our customers and learning about the financial challenges you’re facing, it’s clear that a lot of you would like to start or grow your rainy day fund – but with recent research suggesting that among 25-34 year olds, 19% have no savings, with a further 30% having less than £1,000 saved, it’s clear that there are still some obstacles to overcome. At Starling, we believe that small steps can make big changes, so we’ve built features that we think will help you develop healthy saving habits and enjoy more control over your own financial destiny. Here’s how we’re putting the simple into saving…
You say… Saving is boring – and it’s so hard to keep focused!
We say… You’re not alone. It’s not always easy to save, but as is the case in almost every area of life – it’s hard to stay focused without some kind of goal. In short: if you don’t know where you’re going, how can you figure out what it’ll take to get there?
Having something to work towards is key – which is why we built our newest feature Goals. Name your Goal – it can be as simple as ‘Rainy Day Fund’ – then set a target for how much you’d like to save and start building up your digital change jar as slowly or quickly as you like. You can add or take out money with a single tap, or arrange for an automatic payment each month.
Better yet – it’s also totally ring-fenced from the main part of your account, so you won’t be able to eat into it with those daily flat whites – and you can even add your own motivational image to keep your eye on that rainy day-er.
You say… I really hate looking at my balance after weeks of spending – mainly because I’ve always spent way more than I thought.
We say… With real-time payment notifications and the Pulse, avoiding exactly what you’re spending on a day to day basis isn’t really an option when you’re using the Starling Bank app. The Pulse reveals exactly what you’ve spent that day in striking visual form, so you’re never in the dark – and real time notifications keep you in the loop as your day progresses, ensuring there are no nasty surprises in the future.
Sure – seeing your balance in high relief might sting a little at first, but you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to keep your finances in check when everything you need is clearly displayed and arranged. It’s the first and most important step towards really understanding your money and how (and where) it moves.
You say… I just don’t know where my money goes each month! There never seems to be any left over to save.
We say… Understanding your spending habits can be the most powerful tool in your rainy-day arsenal. Featuring both an overview and breakdown of your everyday spending habits, Spending Insights gives you the opportunity to view your payments by either category or merchant.
Seeing your spending in black and white may well help you to make better financial decisions and identify where you could cut back and make savings. It works for us; seeing the full monthly cost of your daily coconut latte can be sobering, certainly – but it can also be the push you need to make that coffee at home and save the £2.50 (which over time might just transform into something far more big and beautiful than even the most irresistible of artisanal coffees).
You say… Starling sounds great – but I think I might need a bit more help.
We say… Firstly – great work! Recognising your weak spots and embracing services that might be able to address them is the first step. Both our in-app Marketplace and connected apps will give you access to other financial products and services that will encourage and help you to focus on the bigger picture and save without even really having to think about it.
We already have the cashback services of Tail or Moneybox’s loose change investments, and the technology will create an ecosystem of ways to make your money work harder – which you can connect easily to within a single app.