No matter what our goals are, sometimes just getting started can be the most difficult part of building our savings up. When it comes to investing, many of us are wary of parting with our money to generate more financial security in the future. But what if you can build significant savings without even noticing?
That’s the aim of the micro-investing apps that have come to dominate online stores across Android and iOS. Today, more fintech startups are working on delivering refined solutions that encourage minuscule investments at a more frequent rate.
Micro-Investing apps will look to make saving more accessible to young people – many of whom in the UK have little-to-no money tucked away for a rainy day.
However, the prevalence of money-saving technology and the disruptive chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have prompted a widespread increase in households saving more of their disposable income:
With micro-investing platforms playing a role in bringing UK household savings back up to five-year highs, is it fair to say that little-by-little investing is here to stay? Let’s take a look at how micro-investment platforms could revolutionise how we manage our finances:
What is Micro-Investing
Micro-investing, or sparse change investing, is a relatively new development in fintech. It effectively enables users to put away small amounts of money towards their long, or short, term goals. The idea behind the approach is to allow such small investments to be made so that the user doesn’t have to change their lifestyle to accumulate some form of wealth or develop specific saving habits.
Micro-investing apps come in two forms. One form is apps that allow small investments under £5 to round-off a purchase to the nearest full £1 amount to contribute to a savings account.
An example of this would be Moneybox, an app that links to users’ bank cards so that if they spend, say, £3.50 on a coffee in the morning, the app will automatically deduct £4 – £3.50 for the purchase and 50p to be invested as a rounding up mechanism. Each week the deductions rollover and the total cost is deducted from the bank account.
Another form of micro-investing supported by apps is regular small payments to be arranged on a weekly or monthly basis. Whether it’s £2 or £20, the money can be taken out of the user’s bank account in a piecemeal fashion to build a nest egg for the future.
As well as micro-investments, most apps offer access to low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and some even support fractional ETF purchases. The maintenance fee is typically lower than conventional investment management accounts, with some apps only requiring £1 per month.
Significantly, these micro-investing apps can be an excellent introduction into the world of investing for individuals who don’t have access to a significant amount of windfall to set up a more traditional account.
Establishing New Wealth
While micro-investing has the potential to be highly effective for all age ranges, it typically benefits younger investors the most, particularly millennials.
With a recent survey suggesting that as much as 40% of millennials opt against investing in the stock market because they believe they don’t have sufficient money to get started, micro-investing offers an opportunity for users to gain a foothold in a wider world of investment opportunities.
An estimated 56% of UK households struggle to pay their bills, making the prospect of investing large sums impossible, but building an ISA or a financial portfolio a few pennies at a time could yield significant savings over time.
Managing Your Way to Stability
The most important thing when it comes to micro-investing is to know your goals. Ask yourself what you’re investing for: are you saving for a rainy day? Are you looking to get into the world of investing? Or are you looking to generate enough savings to pay off long-standing debts? Your goals will help you to understand what platform to choose, as different apps offer different levels of user control – from the ready-made setups of Moneybox, Nutmeg and Wealthsimple, to the more hands-on DIY setups used by Stake and Trading 212, there are plenty of different options out there.
It’s also important to look into how much you can afford to spare on a regular basis. Although micro-investing is a piece-by-piece process, it can add up if you have high outgoings. Can you live without £5 of your regular income each week? Would £15 extra in outgoings make a big difference? The great thing about micro-investing apps is that you can continually adjust the levels of investment you put in each month – if you’re having a difficult month, you can freeze your payments or if you come into some wealth, you can make a one-off deposit for safekeeping.
Micro-investing apps are built with sustainability in mind. In a world that’s been turned upside down by COVID-19, your small savings today could well come in handy ahead of the next rainy day.
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