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Why half of Brits class themselves as savvy risk takers

Just how many Brits are happy to step outside their comfort zone and take a risk? Here, we find out.
By Editorial on Apr 17th, 2018   @freelotteriesuk

From giving base jumping a go, to trusting gut over logic - just how many Brits are happy to step outside their comfort zone and take a risk?

New research by Portafina reveals that half of the nation (50 per cent) take calculated risks, whilst one in seven (15 per cent) always err on the side of caution. Moreover, more men (28 per cent) than women (22 per cent) would identify themselves as an out and out risk-taker.

The top five things Brits have taken a risk on:

  • Making a big decision based on gut feeling rather than research or logic (44 per cent)
  • Quitting their job before finding themselves a new one (41 per cent)
  • Telling someone exactly how they feel, whatever the consequences (38 per cent)
  • Driving with an almost empty tank (36 per cent)
  • Spending money without looking at their bank balance first (36 per cent)

Some of the more obscure risks Brits admitted to taking throughout their lifetime included surfing on a car doing over 50mph, flying to America to stay with people they only knew via interest forums, and moving away to be with someone they encountered online even though they had never met them before. One in six (16 per cent) of us admit to having been skinny dipping, while over one in four of us (26 per cent) have braved a blind date.

But why do so many Brits decide to take risks?

The top three reasons given are:

  • 1. To feel excited (53 per cent)
  • 2. To feel alive (39 per cent)
  • 3. To become more successful (36 per cent)

Fearing the outcome (47 per cent) and preferring to live a simple and easy life (46 per cent) were the two main reasons why the nation chooses not to take risks.

Commenting on the psychology behind risk taking, specialist Diana Parkinson says, 'To risk or not is influenced by upbringing and peers. Risk-takers are more likely to be extrovert, intelligent and positive people. Moderate risk-taking increases brain power and benefits mental health by boosting dopamine which produces a natural high.

'High risk-takers are high energy individuals and may well have addictive personalities. They dream big and make their dreams a reality. Put simply, we cannot live life without taking a single risk, humans are endlessly curious and inventive, constantly exploring.'

The research also unveils that age plays a significant role in Brits’ desire or willingness to take risks. From the age of 45 people are much more likely to identify as a non-risk taker (22 per cent) compared with 35 to 44 year olds (13 per cent) and 25 to 34 year olds (7 per cent). The top two reasons for taking less risk are an awareness of the consequences (39 per cent) and greater responsibilities (20 per cent). Interestingly, given our propensity to take less risk as we get older, one in seven over 35s (15 per cent) believe that greater age and wisdom gives them more confidence to take a risk.

How much risk are you prepared to take?

Speaking about the research, Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina says, 'When it comes to how we talk about risk I think the question needs reframing. It’s about how much risk are we prepared to take, rather than are we willing to take a risk at all.

'We are constantly making risk assessments, from the tiny to the possibly life-changing. And the key to being a savvy risk taker is understanding the potential consequences of a decision and how much you are prepared to put at stake. For most of us taking a calculated risk is part of the spice of life!'

For more information, or to take our latest quiz to find out what type of risk-taker you are, please visit: www.portafina.co.uk/blog/what-kind-of-risk-taker-are-you.