ISA Stats #4: No time like the present

ISAEach day this week, we're running through some of the statistics taken from research on ISAs by the Office for National Statistics.

Questions that some people may be asking themselves include: 'What's the right age to open an ISA?' 'Have I squirrelled my money away too early?' 'Have I left it too late to invest?' Well, read on and you'll see what other people your age are doing with regards to ISAs...

Golden oldies
With the exception of the 'Under 25' age category of ISA holders, whose number tends to be around half that of the rest of the categories -- obviously understandable, given that under-25s are at the beginning of their working lives -- the distribution of the remaining number of ISAs is spread relatively evenly among the remaining age categories.

That's not to diminish the importance of beginning to save as soon as circumstances allow, however. For those without a mortgage and who do not have to provide for others, now is arguably exactly the right time to be investing -- any losses will have less impact at this stage, and important lessons can be learnt early.

As ISA holders get older, the stats reveal their holdings become increasingly larger. As the chart below shows, the largest percentage of the lowest scale of £1-£2,999 is held by the youngest age bracket, 'Under 25', while the highest percentage of the top end (£15,000 or more in savings) is held by the oldest, '65 And Over'.

ISA ownership by age band and ISA savings value (£) in 2008-2009

The Foolish bottom line
These statistics have shown that, year on year, more people in the UK are investing in ISAs. Significantly, the percentage of those investing in stocks and shares ISAs in contrast to cash ISAs is on the up, increasing from 28.5% in 2009-10 to 29.4% in 2010-11. This trend is encouraging, but it could -- and, perhaps, should -- be better. Generally speaking, there is already too much reliance on the government to provide for our old age, but the way we can avoid becoming dependent is to take control. It's never too early to start putting some money aside for the future, and advice is on hand right here. From all of us at The Motley Fool, happy investing!

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