Life admin revealed - things UK adults love to put off

20 July 2016

  • It’s official - DIY, gardening and household cleaning are the tasks we love to put off
  • Checking pensions is 4th on the list of things we put on the backburner
  • UK adults prioritise day-to-day money admin, while longer term planning for pensions, loans and mortgages plays second fiddle
  • Over a quarter (27%) of people with a pension admit to never ever checking it

A survey, carried out by Standard Life Savings, to investigate behaviours when it comes to some basic life admin, shines a light on the things we love to put off doing. It reveals that DIY, gardening and household cleaning come top of the list, closely followed by checking out our pensions. We spend more time organising our garden sheds (67mins) than we do thinking about our pensions (54mins) - although when it comes to actually getting out and doing a bit of gardening, we don’t quite live up to our reputation as a nation of garden lovers - 82% of us admit we put it off until ‘later’.

The study also highlights how we are prioritising our day-to-day money tasks such as reviewing bank accounts (47%), over longer term financial planning such as checking pensions (64%), loans (62%) and reviewing mortgage deals (59%). It shows that more than a quarter of people (27%) never ever check their pension. The main reason people give for putting off checking their pension is that they find it too boring. Similarly, 27% of people who reach potential retirement age (55+) admit to not knowing the basic details of their pension pots like who they are with, policy numbers or where they are invested.

Life Admin - most likely to be on the “I’ll do it later” list

  1. DIY - 86%
  2. Gardening - 82%
  3. Household cleaning - 77%
  4. Checking my pension - 64%
  5. Checking any loans (incl. student loan) - 62%
  6. Reviewing my mortgage deal - 59%
  7. Checking my investments / savings - 55%
  8. Cooking - 50%
  9. Grocery shopping - 49%
  10. Organising my day-to-day budget - 49%
  11. Reviewing my household bills - 48%
  12. Reviewing my bank accounts - 47%

Differences in attitudes between the generations are also clear, with younger people (18-34 year olds) leading the way in keeping a closer eye on their day-to-day finances, as they spend up to a fifth longer reviewing the contents of their current accounts each month compared to those between the ages of 35 – 54. Conversely, with longer term financial planning, almost three quarters (74%) of those aged 35-54 admit to putting off reviewing their pension. But people’s behaviour changes dramatically beyond this age as more than half (53%) of people aged 55 or more are clear that they never put off checking how their pension is doing.

Jamie Jenkins, pension expert at Standard Life comments, “It’s great to see that many people are not putting off budgeting or managing their day to day money, but financial planning for the longer term seems to be something many people delay. Getting into that long-term savings mind set is important as the earlier you start to save or invest, the more opportunity you will have for your money to grow. Thinking about future savings may seem like an effort, but just like the weeds in your garden or that shelf you’ve been meaning to fix-the earlier you get it sorted the better your savings will look. Also, now that more people than ever have access to a pension through their workplace, and technology is making it easier for people to regularly review their savings online, there’s no better time than to get organised and plan ahead.”

Crowdsourced from consumers around the UK, ‘The Little Guide to Financial Admin’ has been created to help people make the most of their money and get their finances in order, providing tips and calculators to help plan your financial future. You can view this at

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Notes to editors

About the research

Opinium Research conducted nationally representative in April 2016 across 2,007 UK adults aged 18 and over. Results were weighted to reflect a more nationally representative sample.

About Standard Life

  • Standard Life is an investment company with over 190 years’ experience of helping people invest and manage their money.
  • Standard Life employs around 6,500 people internationally – through businesses in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
  • In the UK, Standard Life offers a range of individual and group pensions, SIPPs, ISAs, annuities, life assurance, offshore bonds, investment management, wealth management, tax and estate planning services.
  • Standard Life is a leading provider of income drawdown and workplace pensions in the UK, and is well placed to support all its customers through ongoing pension reform.
  • By understanding its customers, investing in technology and offering innovative solutions to meet everyone’s needs, Standard Life is making it easier for people to plan their finances and feel more confident about the future.
  • To help customers find out more about saving, Standard Life provides information and tools on its website along with comment, tips and savings news on the MoneyPlus blog.
  • Standard Life has also built MyPortfolio mobile apps to help people keep in touch with their investments.
  • Around 4.5 million customers and clients across 46 countries trust Standard Life with their financial future and Standard Life is responsible for the administration of over £300 billion of their assets. Standard Life also supports over 25 million customers through Indian and Chinese associate and joint venture businesses.
  • Standard Life Investments actively manages over £253 billion worldwide, offering global asset management expertise with strong investment capabilities and performance.
  • Standard Life plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with around 1.2 million individual shareholders and is one of the top 500 companies worldwide, by revenue, as listed in the 2015 Fortune Global 500.
  • Wherever Standard Life operates in the world, it is motivated by a sense of responsibility. That is what has helped it be a sustainable business over the long term. Standard Life is proud to be listed as a leader for corporate sustainability in its industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI World and DJSI Europe).
  • You can follow Standard Life in the UK on twitter @sl_moneyplus and Facebook

All figures in notes to editors are at 31 December 2015 unless stated otherwise