The average Briton takes ten risks a week, according to new poll


The average Briton believes they take ten ‘risks’ a week, according to a poll.

Leaving the house without a coat, letting the phone battery go lower than 50 per cent charged and going to bed past 11pm on a school night feature in the top 40 list of ‘little risks’.

Other mini risks, which emerged in the poll of 2,000 adults, include going outside with wet hair, ordering something other than the usual at a restaurant or veering from the norm when buying lunch.

While some consider driving the car with little petrol and jumping down the last few steps of the staircase a little chancy.

Others feel they are taking a risk if they dip into their savings, go into their overdraft or fail to pay their bills on time.

Stacey Stothard from Skipton Building Society, which carried out the poll via, said: “A risk is subjective and this research shows some of the everyday decisions Britons make that they consider come with a degree of risk to them.

“From the chance of a poor food choice through to the possibility a decision could leave you without your mobile phone working – this new list reveals the top 40 scenarios Britons consider their most common little risks.

“What is interesting is this research presents a good snapshot of how we recognise and accept risk, together with our own personal boundaries and how far we are prepared to push them.

“People naturally see risk in different things, having different appetites to those risks.

“But the gap between what we consider to be risky together with the potential reward is ultimately what our decision is based on.

“And this will likely differ depending on the wider risk subject and our personal involvement in it.”

The poll found Britons consider pressing snooze on the alarm, reading in the bath, boarding an airplane last and spending without checking the bank balance first to be risky.

Nearly three-quarters of adults have taken a mini-risk without thinking through the consequences, and 50 per cent describe themselves as risk-takers in general.

The study suggests that Britons look to take micro-risks to increase their adrenaline levels, as 66 per cent admit they wish they had more exciting lives.

And the same percentage wish they could be more spontaneous and daring, to make their lives more colourful.

Taking a little risk leaves 24 per cent of Britons feeling free, 28 per cent feeling exhilarated and 40 per cent feeling ‘nervous’, according to the results.

However, 46 per cent of respondents have had a seemingly harmless risk backfiring spectacularly on them.

One Briton tried to sneakily hop on a train without having a ticket – only to be promptly caught by a revenue protection team and forced to pay a fine.

Another was left red-faced after not checking their bank balance and attempting to do a food shop – only to realise too late there was not enough money in their account.

And a third assumed someone in their family would be home later to let them in – only to find themselves locked out for hours later that evening.

Unsurprisingly, the weekend is the time we are most likely to take a little risk – with Friday night the most likely time.

And a quarter think the area of their life they are most likely to take a risk in would be with their social life – with a fifth being most likely to risk their finances.

When it comes to money, failing to get advice from a financial expert is number 21 on the top 40 list of ‘mini risks’ Britons are guilty of taking.

Stacey Stothard added: “A risk can loosely be defined as the potential to gain or lose something of value.

“But it is not just fear of making a wrong decision that can lead to a ‘loss’; not taking any action can also do the same.

“It is a matter of balancing the potential risk versus the potential reward.

“So when you look at someone’s appetite to financial risk, say when considering investing money in addition to a typical savings account, the best way to asses that risk is to take the time to fully explore it.

“People need to understand their own risk appetite, their financial goals, and speak to someone they can trust who has strong knowledge or experience in that specific area.

“Based on what they find out, they can then decide if investing some of their money is something they are comfortable with, and if so, which investments best meet their individual risk appetite.”


1. Leaving the house without an umbrella/coat

2. Going to bed past 11pm on a work night

3. Getting something different for lunch

4. Leaving the house with your phone battery below

5. Ordering something other than ‘your usual’ when eating in a restaurant

6. Eating something past its sell by date

7. Getting an unplanned takeaway

8. Leaving the house without your phone

9. Turning up at a restaurant without booking first

10. Dipping into your savings

11. Jumping the last few steps on the stairs

12. Going out with wet hair

13. Going outside barefoot

14. Pressing snooze on the alarm

15. Crossing the road when the red man is showing

16. Drinking coffee or tea last thing before going to bed

17. Driving with low petrol

18. Not carrying cash in your purse/wallet

19. Going on a big night out on a work night

20. Getting the last tube/train home

21. Not seeking financial advice

22. Leaving your curtains open when you go on holiday

23. Leaving windows open in your house when you are not there

24. Driving with the petrol light on or with little petrol left

25. Spending and not checking your bank balance

26. Going on holiday where you know there will be no phone signal

27. Reading in the bath

28. Driving against the direction arrows around a car park

29. Not comparing your utility bills/savings accounts

30. Going into your overdraft

31. Not opening your post

32. Sitting in a reserved seat on the train

33. Boarding an airplane last

34. Overfilling your hand luggage or using a bag which is too big and hoping it won’t get spotted

35. Leaving a tap running

36. Not paying bills on time

37. Having a cheat meal before weigh in day

38. Turning up at a gig/cinema/event without buying a ticket first

39. Not turning on your house alarm on

40. Not locking your car

South West News Service

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