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How much have your savings increased in the last 12 months?

By John Hayward
This article is published on: 26th November 2015

How much have your savings increased in the last 12 months?

Which of the following reflects where your money has been?

Savings account         +0.5% to 2% (before tax)*

FTSE100                       -3.17% (before charges and after dividends)*

Cautious fund             +4.3% to 5.5% (after charges)*

With interest rates predicted to stay low for some time to come, many in Spain are finding it difficult to grow their savings, or increase their income, without having to take risks they would not normally do, risking their capital.

So what are the options?

Deposit account
There are Spanish savings accounts offering around 2% although in reality this could be the rate for the first few months which will then reduce to a much lower rate. There are often restrictions on how much you can invest in these accounts. Inflation is running at a higher rate than most savings accounts and so, in real terms, most people are losing money in what they see as a risk free account.

Over the long term, through growth and dividends, it is possible to make significant gains. However, first-hand knowledge, or a lot of luck, is required to make the most of stocks and shares. Most people tend to have neither. In addition, most people are not prepared to take the rollercoaster ride that stocks and shares tend to produce.

Structured Notes
These are, generally, complicated and inflexible products which are really only suitable for experienced investors. The gains can be based on a variety of things but often requiring 5 to 6 years before seeing any return. 

Over time, property has proven itself to be a winner. However, it has also proven that it can suffer massive reductions. It is also probably the most illiquid asset you can hold as well as potentially, the most costly to hold in terms of upfront costs, taxes and maintenance. There can also be emotional risk.

Under the mattress
This is often mooted as a home for money in times of uncertainty but then there is the risk that it could go up in flames or end up in a burglar’s swag bag.

The solution?
As financial planning advisers, we are in a position to offer the best of all worlds; the potential for growth in a low risk environment. By Investing in a Spanish compliant insurance bond, with a company that is one of the strongest in Europe, holding a variety of assets, including shares, bonds, cash and property (but not the mattress), one can achieve steady growth. There is also the facility to take regular income. Your money can grow tax free within the bond until money is withdrawn. Even withdrawals are taxed favourably. Two potential advantages; higher growth and lower taxes. Perfect!

* Source: Financial Express (12 months to 23/11/15)


Article by John Hayward

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