Reckless Caution Is Costing Savers

New research from The Openwork Partnership, one of the UK’s largest and longest established financial advice and investment networks, shows more than 11.6 million are keeping all their money in cash despite ongoing low rates.

Its nationwide study found 22% of adults prefer to keep all their money in cash while the same number will not consider stock market investments despite potentially higher returns as they don’t understand it.The Openwork Partnership is warning about the risks to savers of reckless caution – the cost of missing out on higher returns on their money because they stick to cash accounts. Despite the recent Bank of England base rate rise, rates on cash accounts remain below inflation while the FTSE-100 gained 14.3% last year – its best performance for five years.

Excess savings in the UK – the extra amount people have saved because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic – is estimated to be around £163 billion compared with £112 billion a year ago.

Just 15% of those questioned said they had a healthy balance between savings and investments while 14% said they were willing to miss out on higher returns by avoiding stock market investment.

One potential reason for avoiding the stock market highlighted by the research was lack of knowledge – around 11% said they did not know where to go for advice. However, nearly one in 10 (9%) said they had benefited from financial advice in terms of higher returns on their cash.

Claire Limon, Network Director at The Openwork Partnership, said: “It is good news that people have built up savings and the money will be very valuable given the looming rises in the cost of living.

“But there is a real risk of reckless caution costing people substantial amounts from ignoring stock market investment in favour of keeping money in cash when rates remain at very low levels – meaning savers are losing money after inflation is taken into account.

“It is understandable that people are worried about the risks of losing money on the stock market but advice from a professional adviser can help ensure their money works hard for them and any investments are tailored to their appetite for risk.”

The table below shows the picture across the country with people in Wales most worried about investing in the stock market and most likely to want to keep all their money in cash.

Wales 37% 32%
London 30% 21%
South West 29% 21%
Northern Ireland 28% 17%
West Midlands 26% 16%
East of England 26% 18%
Scotland 25% 22%
North West 25% 27%
South East 25% 21%
Yorkshire & The Humber 22% 21%
North East 21% 23%
East Midlands 20% 29%
UK 26% 22%