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The accumulation (and ‘decumulation’) of wealth is a process that has come increasingly under the spotlight in recent years. There is growing policy and societal interest in understanding when, how and why households are building up (and spending down) wealth, how this differs between different types of households, and how this process has changed over time and might continue to change in future.  

Despite this interest, existing evidence for the UK is relatively limited – largely because until recently there has been a lack of good data on wealth holdings of individual households. In this report, the authors aim to improve understanding of these issues considerably using new data from the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS). This is a panel survey, which interviews the same households every two years, and collects detailed data on households’ wealth (in particular, the level of wealth held in many different types of assets). The first WAS interviews were conducted between 2006 and 2008, and to date there are three ‘waves’ of data available (interviews conducted in 2006–08, 2008–10 and 2010–12).