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Interest rates held at 5.25% – what does it mean for savings and annuities?

With UK interest rates staying paused for now, when are rates likely to drop and what is the impact on savings and annuities?
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Important information - This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

The Bank of England has held interest rates for the sixth time in a row. This will be frustrating for many, but while inflation is on the way down, and expected to reach the 2% target soon, there’s still potential turbulence ahead.

Given the caution from some policymakers, the markets aren’t fully pricing in a rate cut until September. But August also looks likely, and even June can’t be completely ruled out.

So, what could this all mean for savings and annuities?

This article isn’t personal advice. If you're not sure what’s right for you, seek advice.

Sign up for Monday Money Matters. Get the top stories from HL, including top tax-saving tips and the latest on pensions, savings, annuities and the housing market.

What’s next for savers?

Banks expecting a base rate cut later this year have already been slowly cutting easy-access rates. There’s now only a handful of easy-access savings accounts and Cash ISAs offering more than 5%.

The best rates in the savings market are still shorter-term fixed rates, where savers can get above 5%. Just remember, you usually can’t withdraw from fixed rates until the terms end.

You won’t find any of these deals at the big high street banks though – so it pays to save with smaller banks.

Switching your savings to a better deal can be a hassle, it’s why so many don’t bother. But some savings accounts, like Active Savings, are designed to make switching and getting better rates much easier.

You’ll find great deals from multiple banks and can switch between them in minutes, all through one easy-to-use online account.

Plus, right now you could get cashback (terms apply).

Remember, inflation reduces the future spending power of your money.

What does this mean for annuities?

It looks like the days of 2022's soaring annuity incomes are behind us. But they’re still good value.

A 65-year-old with a £100,000 pension can get up to £7,032 per year according to our latest annuity data. That’s based on a single life, annuity guaranteed for five years, and with no increase.

This is below the £7,586 highs of October 2022, but much higher than the £6,782 you would have got just a year ago.

With interest rates expected to stay paused, things should remain very much as they are. The expectation is that we won’t see a rate cut until close to the autumn. When it does come, we might well see annuity rates fall – of course, nothing is guaranteed though.

It’s important to remember that interest rates aren’t the only thing affecting available annuity rates. Unlike health insurance, where disclosing health conditions can increase your premium, providing more details to an annuity provider can increase the amount of income it pays out.

That’s why shopping around is so important. The difference between providers can work out at hundreds of pounds a year – over the course of a retirement this could add up to thousands.

Start by using our annuity quote tool to find out what you could get.

What you do with your pension is an important decision that you might not be able to change. You should check you're making the right decision for your circumstances and that you understand all your options and their risks. The government's free and impartial Pension Wise service can help you and we can offer you retirement advice if you'd like it.

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Written by
Guy James
Guy James
Personal Finance Writer

Guy is a savings specialist, passionate about encouraging people to get to grips with their cash. An integral part of our Active Savings team, he aims to help as many people as possible secure their financial safety net, and make more of their cash.

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Article history
Published: 9th May 2024