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Savings alert as Britons missing out on five percent returns by failing to act on cash

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Saving money can not only provide security, but also a return on the cash a person puts away with their bank or building society. This is the ultimate aim for many people who could have certain financial goals they are hoping to meet. Instant access cash savings accounts remain popular, as many people want access to their cash as and when they so choose. However, in the current time, many of these types of accounts are not offering favourable rates. More people, however, have excess cash and savings, research has shown, due to the coronavirus crisis which has unfolded over the last year and a half.

Behavioural finance experts Oxford Risk have said nearly four out of 10 people they asked claim to have more cash in their current and savings accounts than they would normally have.

This is due to the fact many individuals have found they actually spent less during the COVID-19 crisis. With stay-at-home orders and business closures, there have been less opportunities for people to make use of the money they have in their account.

Some 15 percent of those asked said they have at least 10 percent more in cash, with seven percent of people saying they have over 20 percent more. 

But while a financial buffer can be an important and sensible action for Britons to take, leaving money in savings accounts could also be equally dangerous in terms of future potential. 

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Some 34 percent of survey respondents said they were less willing to take investment risk now than they were before the COVID-19 crisis started in the first place. 

Investment always comes with a certain level of risk. People should consider this before embarking on this endeavour as while the chance for a better return is higher, they could end up with less than they put in.

Indeed, investment is also considered a long-term endeavour. Individuals will need to ride out the peaks and troughs of the market if they are hopeful for solid and decent returns. 

Britons are always told to have some three to six months worth of savings held in a cash account for emergencies. However, after this point, they will need to consider which options are best for them.

This could involve enlisting the services of a financial adviser, someone who will be able to offer tailored advice to suit a person’s circumstances at the given time. 

Greg B Davies PhD, Head of Behavioural Finance at Oxford Risk, commented on the matter, and said: “The coronavirus crisis has seen people spending less and saving more, and our research shows that for many individuals too little of this excess cash is likely to find its way into stock market related investment products.

“Many are delaying when to invest and a key factor behind this is emotional concerns about short-term market volatility and about when is the best time to invest.

“Sadly, many of the investment decisions retail investors make are for emotional comfort, and we estimate that on an average year this typically costs them three percent in returns. 

“Having too much in cash and not investing can cost them around four to five percent a year over the long-term in foregone returns from this cash.”

The research follows a study recently undertaken by Hargreaves Lansdown which illustrated another way Britons could be missing out on significant sums of money by failing to act.

According to the study, savers are missing out on £1.6billion each year as they fail to switch savings accounts. Many have money languishing in accounts which currently pay no interest at all.

Many people are reluctant to search for better deals, which could see them lose out in the long run. Some feel rates are too low to bother switching, while others expressed loyalty towards bigger high street providers.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Our loyalty to our bank, and to savings accounts paying miserable rates of interest, is costing us billions of pounds.

“Even if we just switched the money collecting dust in accounts paying no interest at all we could make £1.6billion in interest, and if we switched those paying rock bottom rates in high street accounts, we could save billions more.”



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