You should make your money work for YOU.

You should make your money work for YOU.

3rd May 2014

The last few years have been difficult for many financially, with a challenging investment landscape that has seen some nest eggs shrink and pension pots dwindle, Jim Coupe, Managing Director, Skipton International says there is still plenty we can do to help ourselves – but most importantly we must consider our own personal circumstances, one size does not fit all.

One of the issues that many people are now suffering from is a bit of a double-edged sword – we're living longer. Great news for us, but it means we need our money to last longer and with pensions going the way they are, many people underestimate just how long they are going to need their cash to last after they've retired.

How far away you are from retirement will determine your appetite for risk. Investment advisers encourage a more bullish approach when you're younger so that you can achieve your goals in the longer term, but coming up to retirement and during it, security and peace of mind become key.

Whilst interest rates have remained at record lows the return on cash investments has been muted. The signs are that with the UK economy now leading Europe's recovery charge and unemployment falling, the Bank of England may consider raising rates next year. Yet even if rates do start to move upwards many economists believe it will be a considered and gentle journey so as not to risk curtailing the recovery process.

So how do you make the most of the rate situation and still get peace of mind? The first thing is to decide on your savings goal and this is where your individual circumstances are critical. If you think you might need to access your money quickly, then an easy access account might be right for you, but it will offer a lower rate. Some people will choose to have several accounts with some money tied up for a little longer, earning them more interest, and a pot of cash available for unexpected emergencies. You also need to keep on top of what is happening to your account. Skipton International believes in being completely transparent and writes to customers when rates change, but some other providers might not be so forthcoming.

You should also consider whether you need an income from your savings that is monthly or annual. We know our customers like both options depending on their current needs. Our range of offshore savings accounts and fixed term bonds are suited to those who are risk adverse, but need peace of mind. The International Investor 180 and 120 notice accounts and the five year Reserve bonds give the option of a monthly or annual interest payment

A traditional savings deposit account is just one approach to investment, the Knight Frank Wealth Report shows that Ultra High Net Worth individuals place around 24% of their wealth in property. That's not just where they live, but in buy-to-let investments. Property can be a great investment both in capital appreciation and in rental income. At Skipton International we listened to our customers who told us they also wanted to take advantage of the UK buy-to-let market, which has far more opportunities than the limited property markets in the Channel Islands, and we came up with a range of mortgage products to do just that.

Buy to Let isn't right for everybody though, you are tying your capital up, potentially for long term, and of course there is no guarantee prices will rise, but if you do your research right and choose an area which has good rental returns and where purchase prices aren't over-inflated, then it could give be a good investment – especially as the economic recovery in the UK gains momentum.

Whatever your choice of investment it's important to get good advice – from more than one source if necessary, and to not assume one-size fits all. Take a long term view on your personal circumstances and make your money work for you.