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Saving and investing: the differences

What's the difference between saving and investing?

If you are holding cash in a bank account you could consider investing your money rather than leaving it in the bank.  Savings have the advantage of being dependable and predictable, but in the medium to long term investing your money in assets such as shares and bonds has the potential to offer a better return and protect your spending power.

If you know you'll need a set amount of money in the next 12 months, for example, then regularly depositing in a savings account may be the best solution.  But for more ambitious, longer-term savings goals, investing provides the potential for better returns.

1. What drives how much you have?

Investing: 

  • Amount you put in
  • Changes in price of the shares, bonds or other assets held
  • Charges from investment manager
  • Dividends from shares
  • Income from bonds

Saving:

  • Amount you put in
  • Bank charges
  • Interest from bank

2. How does the value change?

Investing:

  • Can be unpredictable
  • Can go up and down

Saving:

  • Predictable
  • Usually rises steadily if you keep paying in and getting interest

3. What are the effects of inflation?

Investing: 

  • Could substantially outperform inflation

Saving:

  • Currently delivers below-inflation returns

4. Long term or short term?

Investing:
  • Most suitable for medium to long term goals (5+ years)

Saving:

  • Most suitable for short to medium term goals

5. Can I get my money whenever I want it?

Investing:

  • With Royal Bank Invest funds you can to take your money out at any time with no withdrawal charge however it is recommended to keep your money invested for 5+ years

Saving:

  • It depends, our instant access accounts allow you to take your money out at any time with no charge, whereas our fixed term accounts may be subject to an early withdrawal charge

6. Is there a minimum I have to put in?

Investing:

  • It depends, with Royal Bank Invest funds you could get started with as little as £50, or with regular deposits of £50 per month

Saving:

  • It depends, with our instant access savings accounts you can start saving from £1 and with our fixed term accounts start saving from £500

Learn more about Royal Bank Invest

We've created Royal Bank Invest to make investing easy.

Already a Royal Bank Invest customer?

If you've already invested online through Royal Bank Invest, you can track the progress of your investment as and when you want with your online investment account. 

Anything else we can help you with?