Spend or save – weighing up investments

A decade ago, in ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ actress Isla Fisher played a young woman obsessed with hitting the high street and returning home armed with bags of expensive treats.

When it comes to shopping, the image we usually conjure up is the stereotype of women doing the spending, whether they can comfortably afford it or not.

Well, here is a confession for you…

men are more likely to overspend on impulse purchases than women.

Our survey of 2,000 adults found women are considered more financially responsible than men and, what’s more, are better at keeping track of their spending.

While 15% of Brits have no idea what their bank balance is, the study showed that women are far more likely to know exactly how much is in their savings and current accounts.

Spending habits of men and women aside, the survey also highlighted a lack of ‘wealth generation’ in the UK. This means we are, as a nation, reluctant to invest or place our money outside of a high street bank or building society to build up a bigger pot to cover those impulse purchases.

Despite having considered putting their money to better use, more than a quarter of Brits feel they don’t have enough to start investing in stocks.

On top of that, 45% said they wouldn’t invest their money because they are put off by the risks associated with it. Just one in 10 said they would be willing to risk a substantial sum for the chance of a big pay out.

However, 44% said they would put a small amount on the line – and when investing in the stock market, investing little and often is just as good as going all in.

Markets are volatile at the best of times, but throw Brexit, Donald Trump, China and a potential global slowdown into the mix and it is no wonder some would prefer to sit on the fence.

Analysis of global stock markets confirms that, over the long term, the returns they produce are far superior to what is on offer on the high street and by drip-feeding small amounts in, investors can enter at different stages of the cycle.

This approach to investing, rather than chasing the markets up and down with large, lump sums in and out, should average out the highs and the lows of the stock market throughout a year.

According to the survey, 41% of UK adults regularly set budgets to stick to – why not include a regular investment amount in this budget and put your money to work?

How good are you with money? Would friends and family describe you as financially savvy, or are you more spend-happy? Take our quiz and find out where you sit when it comes to saving and investing.

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