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A recent survey performed by BlackRock identified that the British hold a majority of their wealth in cash accounts. Yet the survey also identified a group of British people who have found the right balance of financial planning and feel more in control of their financial futures – the SMART investors.

SMART investors come from all age groups and income brackets, and behave in certain ways. They take financial planning seriously and are the top savers and investors in their age group.

Investment habits

SMART investors take their name from their five key habits. More specifically, they:

Save and invest more;
Make retirement a priority;
Actively invest for income and growth;
Recognise the need to spread their investments; and
Take planning and financial advice seriously

Compared with the UK average of 56%, 82% of SMART investors are saving for retirement.

Income is important

While half of the people interviewed by BlackRock say it is important to them to generate an income from their investments, most do not hold any income-generating products. These include bonds, shares and property, which generate income or produce a ‘yield’ in the form of coupons, dividends or rent.

Among SMART investors, the majority prefer to reinvest any income rather than spend it. They are also serious about planning and getting professional advice. SMART investors are more likely to maintain their adviser relationship, thereby benefiting from professional advice on an ongoing basis.

The wisdom of elders

On the principle that we can all learn from the experience of others, the survey concludes with a section called ‘The Wisdom of Elders’. It asked everybody in the survey – from 25-year-olds beginning their careers to 74-year-olds with a lifetime’s experience – what advice they would give to their younger selves. This is what they said:

  • Start saving for retirement from a younger age (47%)
  • Save more generally (43%)
  • Spend less (33%)
  • Pay off debts sooner (32%)
  • Think longer-term with savings and investments

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