Bank of Ireland Savings & Investment Index shows second lockdown has improved savings and retirement attitudes
- Savings and Investment Index increases in Q4 as savings component strengthens
- Almost 1 in 2 people see it as a good time to save
- Forward looking attitude to investing is changing
- Optimism about retirement bounces up again
In an environment in which lockdown measures were re-introduced, Bank of Ireland’s Savings and Investment Index, which gauges attitudes to savings and investing, increased slightly in Q4, rising from 96 to 98. The Q4 survey took place from 1st – 14th November and in the midst of the second lockdown there was a resurgence in attitudes to savings and a noticeable lift in consumer optimism about retirement, trends which also featured during the first lockdown.
The main driver behind the increase in the Index was a rise in the amount of savings by consumers in Q3, pushing the Savings Index to 104 in Q4 from 101 in Q3, while the Investment index rose from 90 to 91 in the same period.
Almost half (49%) see it as a good time to save which compares to 42% in November 2019. However this number is lower than it was in May of this year (55%) suggesting that while lockdowns have enforced a reduced level of expenditure, consumer attitudes to saving haven’t been quite as pronounced in the second lockdown, or Christmas spending had started in earnest.
When it comes to investing, more than half of respondents (54%) believe they are investing enough (this includes pension funds), a result which is very similar to November 2019 at 53%. 28% see it as a good time to invest which is up from 25% at the same time last year. Interestingly a higher number of people (34%) predict six months’ time as a good or very good time to invest, perhaps reflecting forward looking positivity as we emerge further from the pandemic. This result suggests two factors are influencing how consumers view their savings and investing habits. It appears that consumers are very gradually giving more consideration to investing, with interest rates looking like they will remain low for many years to come. Secondly, it is likely there has been some influence from the very strong returns in investment markets, especially in November which was a record month for returns in stock markets.
Optimism about retirement
Optimism about retirement has been one of the surprise findings in our survey. During the first lockdown there was a marked increase in optimism about retirement (to 120). In August this dropped to 110. This time, as the second lockdown was in place we have once again seen an increase in Optimism about retirement (to 116).
Kevin Quinn, Chief Investment Strategist at Bank of Ireland Investment Markets commented:
“Facing into a second lockdown we saw a resurgence in attitudes to savings and a noticeable bounce in consumer optimism about retirement, trends which also featured during the first lockdown, albeit slightly less pronounced this time. While the increase in savings is very understandable and may simply reflect the impact of retail being partially closed, the rise in optimism about retirement is a more confusing shift – particularly as we see significant evidence suggesting under-provisioning for retirement remains a problem for many.
“In addition we are seeing a modest shift in attitudes to investing. Our sense of this is that consumers are recognising that an environment of super low interest rates is likely perhaps for many years and attention is turning to optimising their capital in the longer term. Some are turning attention to investing and recent strong equity market performances may be having some bearing on this.”