The UK's attitude to investing

Do you feel you don’t really understand investing and things like that? Well, if you do, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

By Alistair McQueen

Every year Aviva surveys people around the world 1, and one third (33%) of us in the UK share your uncertainty. The middle third (31%) are unsure if they are unsure. Only the final third (36%) believe they really understand the topic. So, take some comfort that it’s not just you that finds this all a bit tricky.

Despite this uncertainty, however, there is encouraging news. The majority of people in the UK understand the need to think about their future. When asked if we would rather live for today or prepare for tomorrow, more than three quarters (76%) of us prioritise preparing for tomorrow. This mindset is a great place for us to begin.

We’re web-savvy

The next good thing is that people in the UK are confident using online technology to manage our money. A significant 6-in-10 (63%) carry this confidence. With more and more services moving online, allowing us to manage our money where and when we want – including at - this greater confidence means we are well placed to take advantage of the latest online technology and tools.

A nation of happy savers

And our research tells us that those of us who take control of our money will reap rewards later in life 2. Retirees who began planning their finances a long time before retirement were found to be nearly twice as happy with their finances in later life than those who left it to the last minute. So, taking control today may bring greater “happiness” as well as greater financial reward. It’s a win-win!

The year 2019 marks the 20th birthday of the individual savings account (ISA), and there are now more than 22 million adult ISA holders in the UK 3 with more than £330billion 4 being invested into a stocks and shares ISA. Here are some fun facts about ISAs 5.

  1. 244 Wembley Stadiums: There are more than 22 million adult ISA holders in the UK - enough people to fill Wembley Stadium 244 times over.
  2. More women than men: Contrary to common perception, there are more women with adult ISAs than men – 11.3 million and 10.8 million, respectively. Holding hands, these women and men could stretch around the world (nearly).
  3. Millions of millennials: Investing is not just for older people. More than 4 million under-35s  have an adult ISA – which is more than the population of Greater Manchester and Liverpool combined.
  4. Enough money to buy 3,000 football superstars: There is reported to be more than £600billion saved and invested in adult ISAs. Approximately 55% of this value is in stocks and shares ISAs. Neymar is reported to be the world’s most expensive footballer, at £200million 6. So, our £600billion in ISAs is enough to buy 3,000 footballing superstars!

So, if you are investing in an ISA, you’re among many, many friends. If not, why not give it a try? You won’t be alone, and you might just enjoy it! As with all investments the value could go down as well as up and you could get back less than you started.

Read more: 5 ISA questions answered.

Meet Alistair McQueen

Alistair is our Head of Savings and Retirement. As an economist, Alistair has 20 years’ experience in the financial services arena and is Aviva’s lead spokesperson on all issues related to personal finances, savings and retirement. He is a regular commentator in the media and a regular tweeter @hellomcqueen.