Watford has been revealed as the place in the UK where people live life in the middle, with a healthy balance of risk and safety, according to research by Zopa, the FeelGood MoneyTM company.
Zopa worked with behavioural scientist Ivo Vlaev from Warwick Business School to create an original ‘Risk and Safety’ Index, which was used to rate the towns and cities across the UK on a number of different data points that correlate to how much risk their inhabitants are willing to take.
The basis of this research used Google Trends data to measure what people in UK towns and cities search for online, and how these online searches affect their daily behaviours, with regard to taking risk vs. playing it safe.
The research showed Watford residents to be in the sweet middle spot between risk and caution – balancing an interest in extreme sports with a consideration of the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt
While Watford’s residents sit right in the middle of the scale, at one end of the spectrum, the people of Burnham in Buckinghamshire were seeking the thrills – scoring well above average for interest in gambling and horror films, whilst those living in Exeter showed more of a preference for insurance.
Everyday decisions that come with some risk are part of daily life, such as when to cross the road or eating food after it’s best by date.
When it comes to finances, it was found that individuals with a greater risk appetite are more likely to pursue high risk investment opportunities – such as investing in crypto currency – but may also find themselves unable to pay off their credit cards or have issues managing their money each month.
Those living in Watford were found to perfectly balance risk and reward through the specially formulated index that ranked the UK’s towns and cities by correlating their online searches with behaviour in the real world.
By using this unique formula, the riskiness was measured by dividing the risk factor by the safety factor.
While Watford residents showed an interest in riskier behaviours such as gambling, or adrenaline sports, they were balancing this with a willingness to find out about vaccination, safety and insurance.
This research found that individuals living in the top three ‘middle’ risk towns are likely to engage in risky behaviour and chase rewards, yet still be cautious about the size of investments and how much they pursue risk.