Is Britain a nation of risk-takers

risk taking

The average Brit seems more than willing to take a risk now and again.

Everything from freefall parachuting to critical financial decisions, many of us appear content to undergo the risks to reap the rewards.

A study conducted by Portafina found that around half of U.K. adults are willing to take calculated risks, while only 15% of us tend to have a cautious trait. As for the gender split of risk-taking, men appear to be more accepting of risk (28%) than women (22%).

What Do We Take Risks On?

The five most common things people tend to take risks are as follows:

  • Making significant decisions based on gut feeling (44%).
  • Quitting a job before securing a new one (41%).
  • Speaking one’s mind, regardless of hurting someone’s feelings (38%).
  • Continuing to drive on a near-empty fuel tank (36%).
  • Spending without checking their bank balance beforehand (36%).

Other, more obscure, things that people have taken risks include car-surfing at speeds of over 50mph, traveling to the U.S.A. to stay with someone they knew only from an Internet forum, going to live with a new partner they’d just met online having never met before. Around one-in-six people admit to having gone skinny-dipping, and over one-quarter of people (26%) have risked going on a blind date.

Why Do We Take So Many Risks?

The main reasons why Brits take so many risks are these:

  • For excitement (53%).
  • For exhilaration (39%).
  • To achieve success (36%).

The things that tend to discourage us from taking risks are:

  • Uncertainty and fear of the outcome (47%).
  • Preference for a straightforward life (46%).

Research into Brits’ risk-taking habits indicates that age is an essential factor in a person’s acceptance of risk. Around 22% of people aged forty-five and over identified as being non-risk-takers. This figure compares to 13% of 35-44 year-olds and 7% of the 25-34 age group.

The main reasons given for taking fewer risks were:

  • Awareness of the consequences (39%).
  • Increased responsibilities (20%).

Ironically, while our general willingness to take risks decreases with age, 15% of over-35s believe that age provides greater wisdom, experience, and confidence – things that make one more adept at handling risks.