I get approached by a lot of companies asking me to write about their products or services. A lot of them go along these lines:
“I’m a parent, just like you, and have given up my job to concentrate all of my attention of a new app I have developed to help toddlers with potty training. It’s really like nothing else available, and I’d love for you to try to out…”
Cue the loud bang as I fall asleep and my head hits the desk. I am, fortunately, well past the stage of having to worry about toilet accidents other than my own and can’t help but wish, for their sakes, that these people had stayed in their stable, well paid jobs.
This week though I was approached by a new online investment company called Nutmeg and actually got quite excited, not least because there was a quiz AND charts. I love both of these things. I’ve had an online stocks and shares account through my bank for years, but have never used it as I’ve been put off by the transaction fees and have always been under the illusion that you need to invest thousands and thousands of pounds to make it worthwhile. I’m very aware though of the value of this sort of investment – one of the first things I did after going on maternity leave with Belle was to set up a stakeholder pension in a high risk portfolio. I couldn’t afford to pay much in, but every little helps and all that.
Nutmeg’s idea though is to make investments more accessible for people exactly like me, people who understand that simply putting money into a savings account isn’t worth the effort of setting up a standing order, and yet aren’t at the stage of wanting to manage their own investment portfolio. I suspect that the fact that the phrase ‘managing an investment portfolio’ makes me think of an actual folder of paper that needs sorting into colour order confirms that I should not be put in charge of it. You wouldn’t guess I had a first class economics degree.
So, how does it work? Well, the idea is that it’s meant to make investing as simple as possible, so you have a choice of investing in a basic saving account, and ISA or a pension. The minimum investment levels are low too – a £1,000 lump sum, plus a minimum monthly contribution of £50 per month if you pot is smaller than £5,000. Although this sort of investing works best when it’s long term, you are free to withdraw as much of your money as you like at any time – you’re not locked in at all and unless you need your cash super quick, there are no charges for withdrawals.*
Before you start, you get the chance to create a sample portfolio, based on how much you’d like to invest and your attitude to risk. At this stage you are just experimenting, but it’s interesting to see the potential.
Once you’ve had a little play, you then get the option to sign up and go into more detail. This doesn’t commit you to anything, but it does mean you get to do things like take the attitude to risk test. This helps you decide which of Nutmeg’s ten investment portfolios would suit you best. I tend to have a fairly positive attitude to risk and until I’m a few years from retirement I’d always want to maximise potential for growth, even if that might mean some ups and downs along the way. This was confirmed by my test results:
For others, predictability and stability might be more important. There is a fund to suit everyone and you can review each fund’s performance since inception. The high risk fund does look pretty impressive:
Fees are kept as low as possible and always transparent; you will pay between 1% and 0.3%, depending on the value of your investment. This compares well to other investment providers and although the difference in fees may seem small, it can add up to massive amount over the life of the investment:
Now, obviously I can’t vouch for the performance of my own Nutmeg investments as I haven’t invested anything yet, but I can certainly say that the site looks fantastically simple to use and that I am seriously considering Nutmeg as an investment option.
Do you have any investments? Would something simple like Nutmeg encourage you to be more adventurous with your savings?
*You can’t take money out of a pension obviously until you are 55, this applies to general savings and ISAs.
Sponsored post – all views my own.