Almost one-third (32%) of Irish households indicate they invest on a regular basis according to the latest Bank of Ireland/ESRI Savings and Investments Index which measures the overall sentiment of Irish households towards savings and investments. The monthly Savings Index increased to 100 points in October from 98 in September. The monthly Savings Index comprises two aspects - a Savings Attitude Index and a Savings Environment Index.
The Savings Environment Index, which explores households’ views on the environment for savings, increased by 7 points to 100 in October 2017. The underlying upward trend in the Index was maintained last month with 40% of respondents feeling it was a good time to save. This compares to 38% last month and 32% per cent a year ago. An improving environment for savings has been a key factor behind the gradual improvement in the overall Savings Index in recent years. Consumers appear to be taking a precautionary approach to their savings in order to manage their upcoming Christmas spending.
On the investment front, almost one-third (32%) of Irish households indicate they invest on a regular basis, which is lower than the proportion of households saving regularly at 49%. The most common investment made by households was in pension schemes at 29% with investment in shares and funds at 3%.
Investment activity was more prevalent amongst the younger demographic (those aged under 50) and amongst those in managerial/professional occupations. Despite the lower incidence of regular investment, more Irish people still felt it was a good time (32%) than a bad time (20%) to invest.
Speaking this week, Tom McCabe, Global Investment Strategist, Bank of Ireland Investment Markets said, "A key feature of October’s Savings and Investment Index was the rise in sentiment toward saving among Irish households. This was a direct result of more Irish people thinking that now is a good time to save, a trend that has become more visible over the last number of years. The initial data on investing clearly show that we are more a nation of savers than investors."
He added, "This may suggest a preference for capital security on savings compared to potentially higher returns from investments. The low interest rate environment remains a big challenge for Irish savers. Against this backdrop, it will be interesting to see if sentiment towards investing improves over the medium term. The data from the Savings and Investment Index should help us tackle questions like this."