By Selina Maycock published
In UK lockdown 25% of people over the age of 40 are managing to save more money as they find themselves spending less.
But with interest rates down, saving isn't always the best way to make money grow fast.
Anyone who has set aside more cash in a savings account during the Coronavirus pandemic - choosing not to splurge in the upcoming John Lewis Black Friday sales, could actually be losing money in real terms, and investment would be better.
According to research carried out by Quilter, a wealth management and advice firm, who obtained figures from the Office of National Statistics, over 40s already hold the vast majority (90%) of the nations savings.
But with average interest rates having plummeted to new lows, savers are failing to grow money faster than the rate of inflation. And one in five want to invest but many don't know how...
Tracy Crookes, financial planner at Quilter explained why people turn to savings first. "When I speak to people about investing, particularly women, there are always a lot of factors that put them off. They don’t know where to start, there isn’t time, it’s too complicated, it’s too risky, the list goes on. Unfortunately this puts them at such a disadvantage because often the best way to make the most of your money is to invest it, particularly if you have no plans for the money for the long term."
As easy as following Martin Lewis Netflix hacks, Mrs Crookes assured investing is much simpler than you think. She continued, "Technology has made it so that anyone can set up a stocks and shares ISA online. And don’t worry about when the best time is to invest. The best time is whenever you have a plan. Don’t try and time the markets just make a plan and stick to it.
She added, "And if you need help there are plenty of resources available. Financial advice can be really beneficial for some, particularly if you are nervous about investing yourself or you have a bigger sum of money.”
READ MORE: How to grow your savings the easy way
Five tips on how to invest:
1. Calculate how much to invest
Investing is for the long term and so you should only invest appropriate amounts, keeping funds for short-term goals or a rainy-day in cash. However, money for medium- and long-term plans can be invested.
Rule of thumb: aim to invest money you will not need for at least five years
2. Shelter the investment from tax
A stocks and shares ISA is a great option for your investments. You have an ISA allowance of £20,000 for this tax year meaning that any growth will be tax free.
Similarly, a pension will give you tax relief, which is money that the government adds to your contribution. Opening a pension will really help in retirement, however you cannot access it until you are 55, rising to 57 in 2028.
There are several apps and platforms that can make it easy and painless to start investing.
Rule of thumb: Try to pick the most tax efficient option that suits the timeframe that you want to invest for
3. Select your investment
There are a lot of different types of investments to choose from, ones that simply mimic a stock market, ones that are actively managed by a professional, funds that have ‘ethical’ investments and many more iterations.
It can be daunting if you’re just getting started, so it’s generally best to look towards what is called a multi-asset fund, whereby your money is pooled with others and invested together in a number of diverse assets.
You can choose your fund based on how much risk you are willing to take, and how much risk you can afford to take. Generally, if you are investing for a longer term and are less reliant on the funds for a certain goal, the more risk you can afford to take.
Rule of thumb: Invest in a multi-asset fund with a risk profile that aligns to your goals with the money.
4. Watch out for the pitfalls
In terms of cost you will generally have a few charges associated with your investment such as the place where you hold it and the individual fund costs which are usually charged as a percentage of your overall investment. Costs can vary greatly, so it is wise to shop around.
Be careful of scams. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. You can verify the company you are placing your money with on the financial services register here.
Rule of thumb: Pick your providers carefully, be sure to shop around and verify they are registered
5. Stick to your plan
Investing can be a test of your resolve at times, it is ingrained that markets can go down as well as up. When we hear news of the markets going down it is easy to panic. It is important not to shift your investment around too much and try to time the market.
Investment is for the long term and that is the best way to make the most of your money. Markets will rise and fall but over an extended period of time you will usually make money, but if you dip in and out of investments, it is likely that you will not make as much.
You should cash out when you know that you are approaching the time that you need your money and stick to your investment plan.
Rule of thumb: Trust and stick with your investment plan. It’s about time in the markets rather than timing the markets.
Anyone who isn't interested in investing or saving can spend to their heart's content by browsing the best Cyber Monday deals instead.
Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.
Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.
Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.
Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.
When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.
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