How to make thousands putting your money to Good use

Written by Rebecca Jones on 29th May 2019

We’re all guilty of it: no, not the late night Nutella (though that too), but leaving that little bit of cash we have spare sitting in a completely useless account, leaving it to while away, being eaten away at by ever rising inflation.

There are lots of reasons for this: we may not feel comfortable moving money – you never know when you might need it, after all. Or we may simply not have the time to find the best home for it – a quick visit to a price comparison site revealing a terrifying array of choices.

We all know this is a mistake, but just how big a mistake, few of us realise. According to new research from money app Yolt, Brits are losing out on a combined £100 million a year – simply by not putting their savings into a poorly-paying cash account!

One in four of us leave our savings untouched in our current accounts

The study of over 2,000 UK adults found that one in four of us (24 per cent) leave our savings untouched in our current accounts while one in seven of us (14 per cent) do nothing with our savings at all (stuffed under the mattress, we assume).

On a nationwide scale Yolt estimates means almost 7.4 million Brits are overlooking their savings. And if these 7.4 million adults were to put just £84 a month (or £1,000 a year) in a fixed rate ISA paying 1.43 per cent, then their potential combined earnings could be over £100 million a year.


Cash is trash, invest FTW

This, though, is not even the half of it. As keen money hounds will have spotted, 1.43 per cent a year is not even the current rate of inflation of 1.9 per cent – meaning even those in a sensibly paying cash ISA are losing money in real terms.

Those that are investing that spare cash though – well, they’re seeing some real returns. Research just out from investment house Willis Owen shows those investing in companies listed on the FTSE 100 have made a positive return 98 per cent of the time in every rolling ten year period since 1986 – yielding an average total return of nearly 140 per cent over a decade.

After ten years investing you’d have £16,388, vs. £10,917 from a cash account

To put that into perspective, had you invested the same £84 per month that a quarter of us are not even putting in a cash account into the main market, after ten years you’d be sitting on £16,388. That is an annual return of 9.15 per cent.

And that is a DAMN-SITE better than 1.4 per cent – and that, as we know, is THE BEST cash rate out there. On that rate of return, you’d have £10,917 after ten years – or nearly £6,000 less than if you’d invested.


RICH folk invest for Good

As regular readers will know, though, the absolute last thing we think anyone should do is invest in the main market – full of tobacco, fossil fuels, arms, big banks and pharma etc. as it is. Instead, we think you should be investing in Good investment funds that do right by the planet, as well as our pockets.

The Good news, is that by doing so – not only will you be helping to create a cleaner, more sustainable world for future generations – but you could stand to make a lot of cash.

As we consistently show in our Good Investment Reviews, funds at the top of the sustainable game consistently beat their mainstream rivals.

Funds at topping the sustainable game consistently beat mainstream rivals

Our Spring 2019 review shows that almost all of our rated funds outperformed the average fund in their mainstream sectors over the five years to February 2019, with an average EXTRA RETURN of of 5 per cent for UK funds, 7.5 per cent for global funds and 2.1 per cent for bond funds.

To show you what that could mean for your pocket over ten years, we took a look at the top performers with at least a decade of trading from our latest ‘Top 10 performing sustainable investment funds’ piece, produced monthly in collaboration with 3d Investing.

We found that, in the ten years to May 2019, these seven funds have returned an average of 250 per cent – EACH.

Had you saved £84 a month into a top performing sustainable fund since May 2009, you’d have an average of £20,574

That is 13.4 per cent a year – or 4 per cent more a year than investing in main markets. Had you put £84 per month into one of these babies since May 2009, you’d be sitting pretty on an average of £20,574.

The highest return was from the 3i Infrastructure trust, which has delivered an astonishing 338 per cent return since 28 May 2009, while the lowest was from BMO Responsible Global Equity, which returned 216.5 per cent over the same period (pfft…).

Sustainable fund name

10yr total return (%)

Avg. annual return (%)

Total £ return saving £84 per month

3i Infrastructure Trust 337.7 15.9 £23,567
Pacific Assets Trust 273.6 14.1 £21,355
Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity 242.8 13.1 £20,255
Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth 232.5 12.8 £19,887
Liontrust Sustainable Future Absolute Growth 232.1 12.8 £19,866
Impax Environmental Markets 218.4 12.3 £19,369
BMO Responsible Global Equity 216.5 12.2 £19,286

All data is to 28 May 2019, is before fees and charges, and is sourced from FE Analytics


Stop thinking, start doing

As the above demonstrates, the power of investing is – well – powerful. Allowing money to sit in accounts doing nothing is not only harming your wallet, but not doing the Good in the world it could be by being stashed in a sustainable fund.

According to Yolt, and just about every financial survey out there, people feel hamstrung by a lack of knowledge. More than half of the adults surveyed by the money app (53 per cent) reported that they ‘feel uncomfortable making financial investments’, with this figure even higher – a shocking 64 per cent – among women.

More than half of Brits say they ‘feel uncomfortable making investments’

Encouragingly, though, one in five (20 per cent) of these said they would be more likely to invest if they had more information on the options available to them, with demand particularly high for 18 to 35 year olds (35 per cent).

There is, then, hope. People like us just need to keep banging our drum about the benefits of engaging with money , especially for Good – signposting how to do it, and where to go. And bang that drum we will. Rest assured.


Risk warning

Investing is for the long term, which is three years or more. Values can go down as well as up and you may not get all of your money back – especially if you pull it out all out in a panic. Also remember to diversify: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, no matter how Good those eggs are.

To get started, consider setting up a small regular monthly investment with a low cost platform into two or three funds in different sectors (infrastructure, global equites and emerging markets, for example), and see how you go. Finally, remember fees and charges make a difference, so look for funds with low Ongoing Charges Figures (OCFs) to start – ideally 1 per cent per year or less. 

Don't miss the good stuff!

Sign up for the newest and best green money deals in your inbox every week