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50 years of the 50p shows the benefits of regular investing

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Written by: Emma Lunn
03/10/2019
Investing 50p a day since the 50p coin was introduced in 1969 would have made you a multi-millionaire.

The 50p entered circulation on 14 October 1969 when 50p had the same buying power as £8.29 today.

According to Hargreaves Lansdown, if you’d put 50p in a typical easy access bank account on the day of launch it would have risen to £6.48 – so wouldn’t have kept pace with inflation.

But if you’d invested 50p in British American Tobacco (the top performing share of the FTSE 100 over the past 50 years) on the first day the coin was launched, your investment would be worth £1,720 today. If you’d invested the equivalent of 50p a day, rising with inflation, those shares would now be worth more £12m.

If you’d opted for Scottish Mortgage Trust instead, your one-off 50p investment would be worth £231, and investing 50p a day would leave you with £2.8m.

If you started today, 50p a day invested in a typical tracker fund returning 5 per cent a year after charges could be worth about £22,000 in 50 years’ time.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “What can you really do with 50p nowadays? When it was launched in 1969, 50p used to buy you five pints of beer – now you’d need to club together with eight friends to buy a single pint between you.

“If you’d chosen not to spend your shiny new 50p, and put it into an easy access savings account instead, you’d be kicking yourself now, because although it would be worth £6.48, it would have failed to keep pace with inflation – so would have the buying power of just 39p in 1969.

“But if you invested your 50p in the stockmarket instead, it could have built you a nice nest egg 50 years later. If you’d put it into the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust you’d have £255, and if you’d picked what went on to be the best-performing share in the market, you’d have an impressive £1,857.”

Hargreaves Lansdown’s figures show the best results come from regular investment. If you’d invested 50p back in 1969, kept it up every day since, and your payments had kept pace with inflation, picking top performers would have left you a multi-millionaire.

“Of course, 50p a day won’t have quite the same impact today, but it could still build you a nest egg – and in 50 years could leave you around £22,000 better off,” added Coles.

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