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.