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Doing it for the kids: Junior ISAs lead as ISAs take a back seat

Reading time: 5 minutes
Scottish FriendlyFebruary 13, 2024

Scottish Friendly’s latest Investor Index has shown that planning for future generations has been the greater priority for parents and guardians

Our study of customers’ investment trends, revealed that between October to December last year, the number of Junior ISAs opened had increased by 101% since 2019 when the index was first launched. The shift of members prioritising saving for their children over themselves was backed up by a drop in ISA investments in the same period.

Leading the way with new JISA savings was Mums. Since the start of 2019, the number of new Junior ISAs opened was up 115%, compared to Dads, which was up 87%. 

The boost in Junior ISA investments was reflected in younger parents, aged 18-34, with the number of Junior ISAs being opened increasing 35 times over since 2019. The amount of money they put into Junior ISAs after the summer last year was also up, by 107%, despite ongoing living cost pressures and the impending Christmas period.

Location did not impact members opening Junior ISAs, with every region across the UK seeing an increase in new sales since the start of 2019. Scotland topped this with an increase of 191%, closely followed by East Midlands (147%).  

Scottish Friendly’s savings specialist, Kevin Brown, commented on the data: 'While the cost of living increases we have seen in recent times may be slowing, the impact on incomes will continue to be felt for a while to come and UK households will face tough decisions on how to cut back on non-essentials.

Our data shows that for those investing for children the priority is clear. We’re seeing them opt to prioritise their children over themselves, by putting away what they can, when they can. This is clearly a sign that parents are increasingly worried about ensuring their children have the best of starts that they can in life, providing them with a springboard for whatever lies ahead.

In addition, we know through our own research that almost 7 in 10 (68% of parents) would want grandparents to be allowed to open a JISA for their grandchildren, however the current rules stipulate that it has to be the parent or the guardian that does this first.

We should be making it as easy as possible for families to save and invest for future generations, not creating unnecessary barriers. Clearly saving and investing for kids remains a top priority for families up and down the UK and more should be done to support and encourage this where appropriate.

Recently the government has hinted ISA reforms may be coming and we believe that changing rules to allow other family members, such as grandparents to open Junior ISAs too would provide a much needed boost to children’s savings. Removing those restrictions can only help to put children on a stronger financial footing as they head into adulthood and so should be strongly considered in any planned reforms.'

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