In Focus: Advice for Women  

Mums take the lead in saving for children

Mums take the lead in saving for children
Photo: Pixabay via Pexels

Mothers are more likely to take the lead when it comes to savings and investments for children.

In a survey of more than 4,100 UK adults carried out by Boring Money, of those parents actively contributing to a child's savings and investments, 60 per cent of respondents were women.

Holly Mackay, chief executive of Boring Money, said: “This research confirms a broader truism – life events trigger action when it comes to savings and investments. The responsibility of having a baby is a huge catalyst for sorting out our affairs.

"Women are less likely to see investing as an interesting hobby and more likely to see it as a necessary evil to achieve required outcomes – every survey we have ever done shows more women connecting investing to outcomes for their family, above and beyond outcomes for themselves."

But she warned women "do not fit their own financial oxygen masks first before helping others".

Mackay added: "Society is still likely to hand women the ‘To Do’ list when babies are born and children grow up, and the motivating forces and protagonists behind Junior Isas become very different to adult Isas.

"This compounds to form a real problem of unsuitability for longer-term savings sitting in cash, particularly as inflation rises and interest rates stagnate."

The research also found that more than 60 per cent of new parents started saving and investing for their new-borns.

However, a significant number fell out of the savings habit when the child started to go to school.

The survey found that, by the time children get to secondary school age, only 54 per cent of parents were continuing to save on behalf of their children.

In contrast, although only around one-fifth of grandparents were putting money into accounts on behalf of grandchildren, the proportion increased slightly for grandchildren of school age (see graph below).

Mackay added: "It’s interesting that grandparents are increasingly likely to save or invest for the grandkids as they get older, not displaying the same immediacy evidenced my new parents.”

Moreover, despite parents acknowledging the long-term benefits of saving for their children, only 3 per cent of all accounts held for a child are in a stocks-and-shares Junior Isa. 

The vast majority of financial products held for children are cash products, including cash Jisas and premium bonds.

Some 14 per cent of existing child savings accounts are child trust funds, of which most are invested.

According to Boring Money, this double whammy of falling out of the savings habit and sticking in cash can prove financially problematic. 

For example, based on a £1,000 annual investment and assuming a 5 per cent growth rate, Boring Money calculated that investing for a child from birth but stopping after age three could leave them with a pot worth £6,668 by the time they reach 18.

However, maintaining the regular investing habit throughout their childhood could leave a pot of £28,247 for the child when they reach 18 years old: a difference of more than £21,500.