Property tops poll as wealth status symbol

More than one in three Britons (38%) believe owning a home is the best indication of personal wealth, demonstrating the significance of the home as a symbol of wealth in modern society, finds Birmingham Midshires &#39Saving Britain 2002&#39 campaign.

People now see property as the best way to achieve personal wealth, rather than stockmarket investment or bank savings. Home ownership is key to achieving wealth for the young, as 43% of 16 to 19 year olds and 39% of those in their 20s aspire to the &#39Bridget Jones&#39 lifestyle – owning their own home to achieve wealth and independence.

Only a quarter of people (24%) see the size of their pension fund as an indication of wealth or an item of importance, suggesting many are still ignoring warnings of a pensions crisis. Many people (35%) still believe that a good marriage is key to being wealthy, despite the fact divorce rates in Britain have reached an all time high of 40%. However, friendships are less important with just 17% claiming it to be an indicator.

Birmingham Midshires&#39 &#39Saving Britain 2002&#39 Campaign, aims to raise awareness of financial issues facing people today and boost public awareness of savings and investments to help Britons manage their money better in 2002 and beyond. Birmingham Midshires asked a UK representative sample of 1,000 people what they felt makes a person &#39wealthy&#39.

Tim Hague, head of savings and investment marketing at Birmingham Midshires, says: “With house price rises in recent years, people are increasingly viewing their property as their main investment for the future. However, it is important to strike a balance across the board, a combination of easily accessible savings and tangible assets such as property or stocks and bonds is vital. It is also interesting to see importance being placed on family. The old saying, &#39healthy, wealthy and wise&#39 still stands. Personal wealth is not just down to monetary wealth

“From a financial point of view, it is evident that a substantial shift in attitudes towards pensions and savings today is required to address the financial problems many of us look set to face. Not surprisingly, the research shows that the older you get, the more important the value of investments become. Younger people should remember that the longer you leave it, the less your investment will be worth.”