Is Britain walking tall once again?

The latest findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Wealth and Assets Survey indicate that households in Britain are confident and happy about their finances and their financial futures. Less are now concerned about debt and unsecured loan repayments. George Osbourne will no doubt be overjoyed as he claimed in the March budget that Britain was “walking tall again” and “paying its way”. Contrary really too many that believe Britain is in a state of squeezed incomes and falling living standards.

The survey, which is on-going, tracks the financial wellbeing of 40,000 households, and this latest data focuses on keeping up with household bills and retirement.

So, despite major concerns that we are not saving enough for our retirement, the ONS found that the majority of people are at least fairly confident, and indeed some very confident, that their retirement income would provide a good standard of living. Indeed there was an 11% increase from 41% in June 2014 to 52% in June 2015 of those who are confident.

It seems however that a lot of this confidence is based around property. When asked which method of saving was likely to make the most money, 44% said it was property, whereas 25% relied on a workplace pension.

Furthermore there has been a decrease in those reporting debts issues. During the period from July 2014-June 2015 63% reported that they were keeping up with all household bills and credit commitments, including unsecured loan repayments. Now only 25% describe their debts as at least a burden, which is down from 34% last time. Those that said their debt is “not at all a problem” rose from 66% to 75%. And those that sought debt help has been steadily declining for years, and now stands at 3%, compared with 5% In July 2012.

The idea of using property as part of retirement income is not a new phenomenon. A recent survey by investment group Fidelity confirmed that 1 in 4 people would use income in retirement from property and indeed 11% confirmed further, that this would be their sole source of income once they retired.

Associate investment director at the firm Maike Currie, said: “Savers considering property as a means to generate income in retirement should seek proper financial advice to understand whether they will get the return they anticipate. Buy-to-let does not mean a guaranteed income, and it’s certainly not a diversified strategy.”