Showing posts with label Savings Interest Rates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savings Interest Rates. Show all posts

Saturday 27 October 2018

NS&I loses some lustre

In recent weeks there appeared to be a glimmer of hope appearing that I might be able to get a little more interest on my cash and cash-like (NS&I Index Linked Savings Certificates) holdings.  This was of interest to me as I currently have in excess of £300,000 in these products in readiness for a home purchase and to help me live off dividends only in my soon to be early retirement.

It started with Goldman Sachs entering the UK savings account market with their Marcus account paying an annualised 1.5%.  Nothing to get excited about given, that after I pay my additional rate tax of 45%, that reduces to 0.83% meaning in inflation adjusted terms I’m still going backwards at a rate of knots with the RPI currently sitting at 3.3%.  Even for those with a basic rate tax of 20% this account still sees you going backwards in real terms, both before or after you've used your £1,000 basic rate tax free personal savings allowance, as you’ll only end up with 1.5% (within the tax free personal savings allowance) or 1.2%  (post the tax free savings allowance) in your pocket.  Still better than a poke in the eye with a pointy stick as it puts an extra £222 into my pocket annually when compared to the savings product I ditched.

Then Charter Savings Bank popped in with a slightly lower annualised 1.4%.  Again, nothing to write home about, but better than what I did have meaning an extra £153 in my pocket annually.

Saturday 7 October 2017

Look after the pennies...

...and the pounds will look after themselves.  A reasonably well known proverb that simply means if you focus on saving many small amounts of money you'll soon amass a large amount.  It’s also a proverb that in the circle of people I associate with both at work and in my personal life seems to not get a lot of attention.  I’m a little different and so it’s a proverb I’ve lived throughout my journey to financial independence and one I continue focusing on even as I sit here typing this post with over £1 million of wealth to my name.  Let me give a couple of examples of it in action over the past few weeks.

The financial services industry is a voracious beast that is continually trying to devour as much of its host as possible without its host noticing (all in my honest opinion of course).  I showed this previously by referencing a Grant Thornton study that concluded that someone entrusting £100,000 for 10 years to a UK financial adviser or investment manager would pay an average 2.56% annually for financial planning services and financial product expenses. 

In contrast to this my work defined contribution scheme extracts 0.6% in annual expenses from me.  Sounds like a great deal in contrast but in relation to what I know is possible I know it’s still expensive.  I choose to be a part of the scheme because it allows me to receive free money in the form of an employers match to my contributions up to a contribution limit.  Additionally by salary sacrificing I save on employees National Insurance and my employer saves on employers National Insurance for which they also pay some of the savings they make into my pension (I actually think it’s derogatory that they don’t pay all of the savings but that’s for another day).  Amazingly some people in my company don’t seem to be contributing to the scheme at all which is just turning down free money but the remainder I’ve spoken to seem to be happy just leaving their pension investments in that scheme which means they are losing 0.6% of their wealth every year.

Saturday 8 August 2015

The Lending Works Experiment

A little over a year ago I cried enough of the derisory instant savings account interest rates that were being offered by the banking sector, which after inflation and taxes, meant the value of my wealth was going backwards.  A quick trip over to Money Saving Expert reveals that the problem still exists.   The market-leading rate if you want instant access to your money is 1.6% meaning a higher rate tax punter, after inflation of 1.0%, is going backwards by 0.04% annually.  Additionally, this rate then reverts to 1.1% after a year meaning you have to do the savings account dance all again.  Even the best 3-year fixed rate account is only offering 2.65% meaning after inflation of 1.0% and higher rate tax our punter would only be getting ahead by 0.59%.  The chart below shows it’s been like this for a long time now and with no sign of an up-turn.

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates
Click to enlarge, Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates

Meanwhile, while this has all been occurring I’ve been quietly shifting/building wealth with peer to peer (P2P) lending (while of course acknowledging that P2P has a different risk profile to bank savings accounts) as an alternative to a bank savings account.  Today I have as much money invested in P2P, £43,000, as I do in savings accounts.  Since starting out in May 2014 I’ve earned interest/bonuses of £1,342 which after taking into account deposits/transfers occurring over time is an annualised 4.3%.

Given my successes so far with P2P my interest was piqued this week when I was contacted by Lending Works enquiring whether there was any opportunity for us to work together.  At the time I wasn't using Lending Works as a P2P platform but I was aware of them as I know weenie over at Quietly Saving has money in their platform.  A few emails later we had agreed that rather than something like a boring advertisement that would add little value to readers I would instead run a published experiment with real money lent into the market.

Sunday 25 January 2015

The RateSetter Experiment (6 month update)

My low charge investment portfolio today holds 7.4% of my total wealth in cash.  I currently use 2 main repositories for this.

Retirement Investing Today Diversified Investment Portfolio
Click to enlarge

The first of these is a Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) Savings Account which 6 months ago was earning an interest rate of 1.25% AER.  Looking today they seem to have stealthily reduced that to 1.24% AER for which I have received no notification.  YBS, if you’re reading this, I hope you make good use of that extra 0.01%!  As a higher rate tax payer and with inflation now running at 2.1% this savings account is allowing my savings to be eroded at the rate of 1.36% per year.  So every day that goes by a pound held in this account has less purchasing power than it did the day before.  I’m going backwards.  If you happen to be a basic rate taxpayer then you’re also going backwards, albeit at a more leisurely 1.11%.

Little to no movement here is of course no surprise given the latest average savings account data from the Bank of England shown in the chart below.  It shows instant access savings rates up a mere 0.03% in the last 6 months.

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates
Click to enlarge

What alternative do I have?  Well tells me the Santander 123 current account which pays interest of 3% AER on balances between £3,000 and £20,000 is still hanging around.  It of course also comes with a monthly fee and minimum deposit requirements but it also offers cashback opportunities although I already get that with my American Express Platinum cashback credit card.  Personally, I prefer clean simple accounts and today that looks to be Coventry Building Society with a 1.4% interest rate but these accounts can’t be run online.  I mean honestly an account that cannot be accessed and managed online.  Do the Directors have shares in Royal Mail or something or are they just trying to grab headlines...  For now I’ll just leave what I have in YBS and continue to deposit new savings into my second newer different risk profile repository, Peer to Peer lending (P2P).

Saturday 19 July 2014

Best UK Savings Account Interest Rates & The RateSetter Experiment

I have been using Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) as my Savings Account provider for a few years now.  While once at the top of the best buy league they haven’t been there for some time now.  They have however always been pretty close from an interest rate perspective and have been no nonsense from a T&C’s perspective.  I was receiving 1.5% AER meaning as Higher Rate Tax payer and with inflation running at 2.6% I was receiving a Real interest rate of -1.7%.  In other words every pound sitting in YBS was being devalued monthly.

Recently, they have sent me a letter which starts out with “As your building society, you'll know that we have a tradition of looking after all our customers with good value products and great service...” Great start but of course the small print advised that they were further reducing my savings account interest rate to 1.25% AER.

Of course I’m not surprised given the latest average savings account data from the Bank of England shown in the chart below which show instant access savings rates down 0.27% in the last year.

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates
Click to enlarge

Going to the market for the latest best buy savings accounts reveals very little. recommends the Santander 123 current account which has sliding scale interest rates (between 0% and 3% AER), a monthly fee and minimum deposit requirements.  The best clean rate looks to be Britannia or Coventry BS with a 1.4% interest rate but these accounts can’t be run online.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

UK Savings Account Interest Rates – March 2013 Update

Head over to Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert and you’ll find that today the best easy access savings account comes from West Bromwich Building Society.  It pays interest of 2.05% AER but forget to switch after 31 May 2014 to the next bank or building society offering the highest interest rate at that time and you’ll lose 0.55% of that.  There are other limitations also which includes only 4 free withdrawals per year and a minimum initial deposit of £10,000 so be sure to read the small print if it looks interesting.  If you want something a bit cleaner then you’re looking at Skipton Building Society with 2% AER which includes a bonus 1% which you’ll lose after a year.

It therefore looks as though since we last looked at Savings Rates in February the best buy market has reached a plateau with 2% AER from Derbyshire being the best available at that time.

I must note that I continue to ignore the Santander 123 account for reasons explained in February.  If you’re using it and would recommend it over other options it would be great to hear from you.

So best buys are flat but what’s happening on average.  Well it’s probably no surprise that interest bearing site deposits are also pretty flat since I last posted at 1.08%. They are also flat since the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) was announced.  The interest on fixed maturity savings accounts is however a very different story.  Time deposits with a maturity of less than or equal to 1 year have now fallen 0.72% since FLS was announced ending up at 1.57%.  1 to 2 year maturities fall 0.94% to 2.45%.  Greater than 2 year maturities have fallen 0.84% since FLS to 2.72% but interestingly are up 0.2% on the month.  Could this be the start of a trend?  This is all shown in the chart below.

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates
Click to enlarge

This all looks bad for somebody who is trying to save hard  but if you’re a worker paying 40% tax then its worse after HMRC has finished with you.  After tax you end up with 0.65, 0.94, 1.47 and 1.63% per annum respectively (0.86, 1.26, 1.96 and 2.18% for 20% taxpayers).  But wait it gets even worse because inflation is also devaluing your savings at the rate of 3.2% per year.  So after inflation and HMRC you’re actually losing savings to the tune of -2.56, -2.27, -1.74 and -1.58% per annum respectively for a 40% taxpayer (-2.35, -1.95, -1.25, -1.03% for 20% taxpayers).

Saturday 9 February 2013

UK Savings Account Interest Rates – February 2013 Update

The UK Treasury and Bank of England’s £80 billion (or £1,277 for every man, woman and child in the UK) Funding for Lending Scheme continues to hurt savers.  The banks currently have no need to borrow money from us savers when they can go directly to the Bank of England for a nice low rate of 0.25% per annum providing they meet a few T&C’s.

Money Saving Expert now tells us that if you are in the market for an easy access savings account you can get an interest rate of 2% AER with Derbyshire.  Forget to switch after 31 March 2014 to the next bank or building society offering the highest interest rate at that time and that becomes 0.5%.  Last month you could get 2.35% on accounts offering a bonus for a fixed period of time and back in June 2012 you could get 3.2% AER variable with Santander reducing to 0.5% after 12 months.  So in less than 12 months the best rates being paid have fallen by more than a third.

Choose to go for a no nonsense easy access savings account (always my preferred option) that available interest rate is also 2% today from Virgin.  Last month the best buy was 2.3% AER with West Bromwich Building Society.  Back in June 2012 the best rate was 2.75% AER variable with Aldermore.

I must note that I’ve left the Santander 123 current account out of the analysis even though it’s currently paying 3% AER.  I have no time for this sort of account.  To me it’s made deliberately complicated and I don’t believe the average punter would have a hope of calculating whether this account is the best for them.  It pays the 3% only on balances between £3,000 and £20,000, requires a minimum deposit of £500 per  month, takes a £2 per month fee (remember you’ll pay tax on the 3% but won’t be able to claim against the £2) plus in the circles I move I hear of the poor customer service that Santander offers.  I can’t help but feel somewhere in the small print I’m bound to lose out against a simple no nonsense account.  If somebody is having success with this account please do comment below as I’m sure many readers (I know I certainly would) would like to know if you are seeing success.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

UK Savings Account Interest Rates – January 2013 Update

Since 2009 UK savers have seen big falls in the interest rates being paid by the top savings accounts.  For a short time there was a little light at the end of the tunnel however this looks to have likely been removed with the Government / Bank of England’s introduction of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).

Money Saving Expert tells us that if you are in the market for an easy access savings account you can get a savings interest rate of 2.35% AER.  Forget to switch at the end of 12 months to the bank offering the highest interest rate at that time and that becomes 1.35%.  Back in June 2012 you could get 3.2% AER variable with Santander reducing to 0.5% after 12 months.  That’s a fall of 0.85% in only 6 months.

If you choose to go for a no nonsense easy access savings account (always my preferred option), again using Money Saving Expert, that interest rate today is 2.3% AER with West Bromwich Building Society (as long you have a balance over £1,000 and only make 1 withdrawal a year).  Back in June 2012 the best rate was 2.75% AER variable with Aldermore (again, as long you had a balance over £1,000).  That’s a fall of 0.45% in 6 months.

Why do I think the Funding for lending Scheme has caused at least some, if not all of this?  Banks can now get cheap loans directly from the Bank of England to fund Business and Mortgage loans.  The more they borrow from the Bank of England they cheaper those loans become.  Why then borrow from the average punter.  They don’t need us anymore.  Well at least for the next 18 months. 

What’s worse is that the easy access savings accounts detailed above are the best accounts out there.  My chart today shows what is happening to the average account. 

Average UK Savings Account Interest Rates
Click to enlarge