Savings Options

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Julian Wells
20th August 2012

Market leading savings rates at the moment pay in excess of three per cent, but the average rate on instant access accounts is 0.21 per cent. There’s no getting around it, that is rubbish and savers have been hammered for the last five years by the recession, so why are people still looking at savings accounts?

Of course there’s not that much wrong with the principle of savings. In years past it was a safe place to put your cash, usually you would have ready access to it and it paid a sufficient level of interest to be worthwhile. Times have changed but many people cannot see past savings as a place to put their spare cash.

Although it is still a safe place to put your money as the Government guarantees £85,000 (which certainly covers most people) you don’t always have easy access to it if you want the best terms (fixed rate deals often come with penalties for withdrawal) and if you do want to get at your money, the interest rates are so poor that very often you’re losing money in real terms as the cost of living rises at a rate above the interest rate on your savings.

There’s also the social cost of savings with a high street bank – you’re funding their lending and supporting their dominance on the high street. After the wholesale funding market ground to a halt following the credit crunch, banks have started a scramble for savings, which they use to… erm… not lend to small businesses and put the brakes on the UK’s recovery.

Crowdfunding offers an opportunity to cut out the middle man and create your own rules. You set a rate and repayment term that suits you and banks don’t get a penny of it. Instead, your money could go towards helping a company refinance and escape a high interest overdraft, employ more staff or launch new products.

It’s a bit of break from the norm, but innovate investments like those offered by crowdfunding can be the first step towards creating a diverse investment portfolio and realising returns far higher than anything offered by your high street savings account.

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