If you’re looking to boost your savings in 2022, here’s three steps to consider.
The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate your financial goals, and if one of them is to save more money in 2022, we’ve got you covered. Here, we speak to the experts to find out how to kickstart your savings for the year ahead.
Find the right savings account
The first step is to find the right kind of savings account for your needs, which “will depend on a saver’s priorities and any future plans they have for their nest egg,” says Eleanor Williams, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk. She suggests that easy access accounts could be the preferred choice for those who value flexibility, while “those comfortable locking their savings pot away for a set period may find they can receive higher returns from a fixed-rate bond”.
Fixed bonds offer guaranteed returns but may not be an option for those who need to access their savings. However, “as a middle ground, there are also notice accounts to consider,” continues Eleanor. “These require savers to provide notice before being able to withdraw their funds and offer a compromise between maintaining some access to savings while often offering higher variable rates than many easy access accounts.”
Look beyond the high street for banking
Next you’ll need to decide which provider to use and you may want to look beyond the high street. “The high street banks are paying some of the lowest rates on the market, as little as 0.01% AER,” says Anna Bowes, co-founder of SavingsChampion.co.uk. “On a balance of £1,000, that’s interest of 10p a year. Even in this low interest rate environment, there are far better accounts to be found. You could earn as much as 0.75% on an easy access account with a lesser-known provider — in this account your £1,000 would earn £7.50 a year.”
Many savers prefer the familiarity of the high street and are cautious about providers they haven’t heard of. Anna explains: “As long as the provider you choose is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority, so is part of the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), your cash is as protected as it would be with your bank.”
To make the most of your money, it may be time to consider investing. Laura Suter, head of personal finance at investment platform AJ Bell, says stock market returns average at about 5% after inflation, which can add up over the longer term (bear in mind that this is just an average, not a guarantee, and you may end up with less than you put in).
“Assuming this growth and deducting 1% for charges, a £10,000 investment would grow to £17,908 after 10 years,” she says. “In that same period a cash account paying a rate of 0.7% would see the same £10,000 initial investment turned into just £10,722 — more than £7,000 less.” If this seems too daunting, first-timers could test the waters by taking a ‘little and often’ approach. “Many investment platforms will allow you to start from as little as £25 or £50 a month, which you can then build up as you get more confident,” says Laura. “A 30-year-old who puts away £50 a month, and assuming investment returns of 5% after fees, would have a pot of £7,924 on their 40th birthday, or £20,832 at 50. Setting aside a small amount every month and investing it can really pay off.”