Lockdown UK: How you can make the most of extra cash saved during Coronavirus pandemic

Some people might be saving more money in lockdown but they could save even more by doing this...

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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...

READ MORE: Bounce back loan top up guide - what you need to know about the government's scheme extension

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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

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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.

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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.