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Poll reveals continuing boom in retail investing


A new poll reveals three quarters of UK investors (76 per cent) will continue their lockdown investing habits, despite the loosening of restrictions, with the average UK investor planning to invest 19 per cent more each month post-lockdown, rising to 36 per cent for younger, Gen-Z investors.

Half of British investors plan to cut back on spending to continue investing, with only 6 per cent planning to cut back on investing as lockdown ends.

The new research from Barclays Smart Investor reveals that the recent boom in retail investing is here to stay – with UK investors planning to increase their monthly investments by 19 per cent, despite this week’s easing of restrictions. The recent poll of over 2,000 UK investors revealed that three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents are planning to continue their lockdown investing habits, with only 4 per cent of first-time pandemic investors giving up once the world re-opens. 

Even with the long-awaited arrival of “Freedom Day”, appetite to continue investing is unlikely to dip in the months ahead, with half of UK investors (50 per cent) planning to cut back on other spending, so that they can continue to invest the same amount or more than in lockdown. This has increased from 43 per cent when the same question was asked in March 2021. Only 6 per cent of UK investors plan to reduce their monthly investments, citing holidays, weekends away, days out and eating out at restaurants as the top reasons. 

Clare Francis, Director of Barclays Smart Investor, comments: “Today’s findings show just how much the pandemic has changed our approach to saving and investing. As new investors flocked to the stock market last year, it was easy to assume that it was just a lockdown hobby, and that many would go back to their old spending habits when the world re-opened. 

“Whilst we’ll undoubtedly see a boost in spending across the UK, as people make the most of their new-found freedom, it’s great to see so many investors looking to keep a healthy balance between spending for today and investing for the future. 

“The prediction that many will continue or increase the amount they invest going forward is likely driven by a rise in lockdown savings, with the ONS reporting that UK household savings are nearing an all-time high. If you’ve been lucky enough to boost your savings under lockdown, it’s worth considering whether investing is right for you – over the longer term, stock markets tend to perform better than cash and, while you won’t lose money by leaving everything in a savings account, with interest rates where they are, your spending power could fall because of the impact of rising inflation.” 

Francis also shares her golden rules to investing, for those who are considering investing some, or more, of their lockdown savings: 

Make sure you have a good cash savings buffer – It can be tempting to invest all of your cash into the market, but it’s really important that you have a healthy savings balance on the side, to cover any short term needs or unexpected costs. There’s no hard and fast rule, as it depends on your individual circumstances, but it’s good to have at least three months’ salary in a savings account.

Invest with the long-term in mind – Just as markets rise, so can they fall and by investing money that you may need for the short-term, you increase the chance that you’ll be forced to sell at a less favourable point in the market and end up with a loss – potentially putting you off investing. This is why you should try and commit for at least five years – to give yourself the best chance of riding out any dips in the market. 

Reduce your risk through diversification – Try to spread your money across various companies, regions and industries, as this will help reduce the risk. This is crucial to making sure you’re not relying too heavily on one opportunity – with the hope that, if one investment drops in value, another may rise and even out any potential losses.

Try not to over-trade or check your portfolio too often – When you first start out, and when markets are turbulent, it can be tempting to check your portfolio on a very regular basis. Experts will usually recommend the opposite – if you sit back and take a “buy and hold” approach, you won’t get too emotionally invested and make any panicked decisions, giving yourself the best chance of riding out any market bumps.

Try and invest little and often, through regular payments – Getting into good money habits can go a really long way, while the need to make repeated decisions can cause a wobble and make it harder to stay on track. This is where technology can help you – rather than manually making a monthly transfer into your investment account, try and set up a direct debit or a regular investment (ideally just after pay-day).

Make the most of your tax allowances – Each April investors are given a new ISA allowance, which allows you to invest up to GBP20,000 without paying any tax. Getting your money invested early could help you to maximise any returns, as you’ll benefit from having extra time for your money to grow.

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