Whether you’ve saved up to reach the £50k milestone or you’ve recently come into some money, knowing the best way to invest or save it is important in making your money work hard for you. If you’re wondering what to do with £50k (and you know you’re not going to spend it), the answer is simple: you can choose to either save or invest it.
Depending on your financial goals, you’re likely to get a better return from investing £50k rather than depositing it into a savings account. With investing, however, comes risk, and it’s important to both be aware of these risks and understand how much risk you’re comfortable with before you commit to anything. After all, depending on how you choose to invest your money, you could stand to lose some or all of it (more on that below).
In this guide, we take a look at the options you have when it comes to investing £50k.
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What to consider before investing £50k
Before you make any decisions about where to invest your money, it’s a good idea to first review your entire financial situation, looking specifically at how long a time you might want to invest over, what your priorities are, and how much risk you’re willing to take.
1. What’s your timeframe?
When considering what time frame works for you, you’ll first need to know what it is you want to invest your money for. For example, if you want to save for a wedding, this would probably be over a relatively short period, say a couple of years, but if you’re saving to buy a house, you may be looking at five to ten years.
2. What are your financial priorities?
Your financial priorities probably hinge on your current circumstances. One important aspect to consider is any debt you hold, and whether it’s worth paying off that debt before you invest any money. This will both give you a clean slate to work from and mean you’ll avoid future interest payments.
3. What is your appetite for risk?
Finally, you’ll need to consider your capacity for risk. Any form of investment carries at least a slight risk, which is why you need to work out how much risk you can tolerate when it comes to your money.
Once you’ve worked out your time frame, organised your priorities and figured out how much risk you’re comfortable with, you’ll be ready to look into how to invest £50k.
How to invest £50k wisely (and safely)
Investing your entire £50k in one go is probably a risky move and could result in you losing it all. To mitigate your risk, you should first take the below steps to protect yourself against unexpected financial shock.
- Keep around three to six month’s worth of earnings in an accessible account as a buffer
- Pay off your existing debts, especially if they are high interest
- Consider maxing out or at least putting more money into your pension scheme
Where to invest £50k?
How you choose to invest your £50k will depend on your financial circumstances and your priorities, timeframe and appetite for risk. There are, however, some great options available for those looking for the best way to invest £50k in the UK, including the following:
- Stocks & shares ISAs
- Mutual funds
- Peer-to-peer lending
1. Investing £50k in property
While investing in property might be one of the safest and most profitable ways to invest £50k wisely, it isn’t entirely without risk. This is because the housing market, like the stock market, is subject to price corrections and crashes (just think back to the 2008 financial crisis). However, the property market does tend to perform well against FTSE investment options.
If you choose to invest your £50k in property, you’ll need to offset your earnings against any capital gains and income tax. Investing in property may only provide optimum returns when you have next to no mortgage in the buy-to-let sector.
2. Stocks and shares ISAs
While a cash ISA is simply a tax-free savings account, a stocks and shares ISA is a tax-efficient investment account that allows you to invest in a range of different assets. These assets include individual shares, investment funds, investment trusts and bonds. Note that ISAs have an investment limit of £20,000 per financial year, so you won’t be able to invest £50k at once in an ISA.
Most stocks and shares ISA providers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means that up to £85,000 of your money per banking group will be covered in the event that the institution you’ve invested with collapses. This is something you should always check before opening an ISA.
An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is a type of investment where stocks are traded in an exchange market. Although ETFs can invest in any number of industries, they often track a specific index. Stocks in ETFs can typically be bought and sold throughout the day.
ETFs hold assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities or a mixture of all three, and generally operate on a type of mechanism designed to keep trading close to the asset’s net value, which allows stocks to be bought and sold easily.
Stocks are shares of ownership in a company. Companies usually sell shares of stocks to raise capital when they want to develop or grow their business.
When you’re looking for the best way to invest £50k, buying stocks can generate a good return, but it all depends on how well the company you buy stocks in performs, and if they underperform, you could lose some or all of your money.
5. Mutual funds
Mutual funds are amongst the most popular types of investment for both beginners and experienced investors.
They allow you to pool funds with other investors to invest in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and other assets. Your investment will ultimately hinge on the performance of the fund, and you need to be aware that you don’t have the same voting rights as with investments in normal shares.
Bonds represent a company or government debt. When a company or government issues a bond, they are issuing debt and agreeing to pay interest on the money you’re ‘lending’ them. Bonds typically pay out annual interest, repaying their debt at the same time. Because of this, bonds are often considered one of the safer types of investment, especially if you want to invest over a short term.
The different types of bonds are best described as a spectrum from most to least risky, starting at ‘gilts’, or government bonds, at the safer end, through to high-yield bonds from companies with low credit ratings at the much riskier end.
An annuity will provide you with a guaranteed income stream for a certain amount of time without needing to worry about investing it or managing it yourself. It will, however, mean you give up your right to access your cash.
8. Peer-to-peer lending
Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) is an alternative way to invest or diversify your existing investment portfolio. This type of investment facilitates direct loans without involving banks. What this means is that you lend an individual, or ‘peer’, money and earn interest while they gradually pay it back. All parties collaborate via online platforms which keep the operational costs down and make for better rates of interest.
While this sounds risky, P2P companies mitigate this risk by splitting your money across several different borrowers, rather than lending it all to just one. The downside is that P2P lending is not currently covered by the FSCS, meaning there is more risk of losing your money should the borrower fail.
The upside is that interest rates can be very competitive, and the first £1,000 of interest earned from P2P lending is tax-free for basic rate taxpayers. Some P2P savings can also be held in some ISAs.
Should I save or invest my £50k?
There are pros and cons of saving vs. investing £50,000. If you’re trying to decide between the two, the most important thing to consider is how much financial risk you can tolerate. This is because savings accounts are typically safer places to invest your money. While the rewards might be greater, investing comes with a lot more risk and you stand to lose some or all of your money if your investments fail.
Even though interest rates are currently low, there are some types of savings accounts that offer competitive rates of interest, especially if you have a lump sum you can lock away for a few years.
Fixed rate bonds, for example, typically offer the most competitive rates of all types of savings accounts, and provide the peace of mind that the rate won’t change throughout your term, making them perfect for safe, long-term saving goals.
How do I earn the most interest on my savings?
- Do your research – there are a lot of savings options out there for investing £50,000, so look into the different types of savings accounts and which ones will earn you the most interest
- Consider switching accounts – you may find a good three-year savings account, but put a plan in place for what to do with your money at the end of these three years and try to find a better rate
- Always make sure that your savings account provider is covered by the FSCS so your deposits are protected
Should I pay a financial advisor for investing £50k?
If you’re new to investing, taking the DIY approach carries a lot of risk. By opting to speak to a financial advisor before you make any decisions, you’ll have a better, more well-rounded understanding – it could be well worth paying a financial advisor if they can help you reap greater returns on your investment.
A financial advisor will be able to:
- Consider your position impartially and select the best product for you
- Provide expert, insider knowledge into investing trends and what works
- Take away the stress and time of trying to do it all yourself
The best ways to invest £50k
1. Do your research
Get to grips with investment jargon and how all the different types of investment accounts work. You can find out more in our comprehensive investments guide.
2. Expect fluctuations
Keeping your investments during turbulent times is often the best strategy – even if you lose money in the short term. Investing is a long term game and often requires patience for prices to bounce back.
3. Be vigilant
Spotting good opportunities for acquiring promising assets at bargain prices is all part of successful investing. Market volatility can allow you to buy into suffering funds that are well-placed for a strong recovery. However, if you’re new to investing this may not be a route you want to take, as it comes with great risk and no guarantees.
4. Drip-feed for security
The best way to invest £50k safely is to drip-feed your funds into smaller investments rather than taking a big dive into the unknown using the full amount.
5. If it’s income you’re after, choose investments with dividends
Dividend payers are usually robust, established companies that generate profits from a range of products and services. These are a good option if you’re looking to stay on the safer side while earning an income, and you can still expect a payout even when markets are volatile.
6. It’s best to reinvest
If you’re able to leave your income from investments untouched, you can take advantage of compound interest and let your money snowball.
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