Home Communication The power of one: single parents emerge as Britain’s savviest shoppers

The power of one: single parents emerge as Britain’s savviest shoppers

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At a time when the number of single parent families has tripled in the last 40 years*, research undertaken on behalf of AXA Self Investor reveals that single parents demonstrated greater confidence in making a range of lifestyle purchases than any of the other family groups surveyed**. This is in spite of the possible pressures of living from a single income and potentially not having a partner to consult on financial decisions.

These figures come from the latest ‘Buying Britain’ research commissioned by AXA Self Investor, part of AXA Wealth, a study which explores consumer confidence and shopping strategies across a range of lifestyle purchases.

As the traditional 2.4 family evolves, the study compared responses across a range of family units – single parents, civil partnerships, multi-generation homes, couples with no children and larger families with three or more children. The research explored how these groups spend and save their money and what their financial plans and concerns are for the future.

Perhaps out of necessity, the research suggests that single parents are the most self-reliant when it comes to trusting their own judgement in many of the significant purchasing decisions they make. This assurance starts with the weekly food shop and plays out in all other major purchasing decisions.

The research also suggests that this self-reliance could result from single parents having the most concerns about their financial future. Overall, single parents were most likely to worry about having some sort of financial burden 10 years from now (73 per cent). They were the group most likely to worry about repaying their mortgage (15 per cent) and university costs (18 per cent) – and they were also those most likely to fear they would never be able to retire (14 per cent).

Gordon Hull, director, AXA Self Investor, commented: “This research dispels notions that a good financial planner has a specific profile. Single parents emerge as extremely shrewd and self-reliant in the purchasing decisions they make – despite not always having a ‘significant other’ to consult, they are not falling behind when it comes to making investment choices. They broadly match the national average in confidence when buying investments and more than half of them would choose to invest their own time researching what decisions to make.

“Unlike single parents, many British adults that are confident buying lifestyle items, lose this assurance when it comes to financial planning. Single parents are a role model for others on how to apply the budgeting savviness they have with everyday purchases, such as the weekly food shop, into the world of investment. I believe that the financial industry needs to simplify things to help more people become self-assured investors.”