Forget Premium Bonds! I’d buy UK shares in a Stocks and Shares ISA instead

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Investing within a Stocks and Shares ISA has proven to be an immensely popular way of tapping into the stock market. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of not having to pay tax on capital gains or dividends? But lately, UK shares haven’t exactly been stellar performers.

With inflation reaching record highs, fears of a recession continue to mount. And that’s sent stock prices firmly in the wrong direction. As such, Premium Bonds have gained a renewed level of popularity for their stability. Even more so since the payout has recently been boosted.

However, while this alternative investment instrument may provide a safe haven from volatility, it still delivers low returns for most people. After all, the monthly prize draw is only 1.4%, even after this year’s increase. And while the idea of buying stocks during a freefall sounds absurd, history has shown countless times that it’s one of the best moves an investor can make.

Stocks and Shares ISA versus Premium Bonds

As unpleasant as recessions can be, they’re ultimately a short-term problem. And that’s why the stock market has a perfect track record of recovering before reaching new heights in the long run.

Looking over the last 30 years, there have been three major stock market crashes: the 1999 dot-com bubble, the 2008 financial crisis, and the 2020 Covid crash. Yet, despite all these periods of extreme volatility and massive stock price collapses, investors who held on have been able to make a killing.

Looking at the FTSE 250, it’s generated an annual average return of just over 11% during this period. If I invested £10,000 in a FTSE 250 index tracker in 1992, I would have just over £267,000 today. And that’s even after going through some of the worst stock market crashes in history.

What’s more, by using a Stocks and Shares ISA, or Personal Equity Plan as it was initially called, all of these gains are tax-free.

By comparison, Premium Bonds haven’t delivered anywhere near this level of performance. In 1992 the monthly prize draw stood at around 2.8%, which has steadily declined over time.

Believe it or not, 2.8% compounded every month can lead to enormous wealth generation over the long term. Even today’s 1.4% monthly payout is nothing to scoff at. The only problem is that I have a roughly 0.004% chance of actually winning the prize draw each month. And odds are that I’ll lose money in real terms as inflation is much more consistent.

Finding the best UK shares to buy today

The stock market may have a perfect record of recovery, but that doesn’t mean all stocks will make a comeback. The slowdown in consumer spending is hitting some companies hard, especially those with enormous piles of debt. Cineworld heading for bankruptcy is a perfect example of this.

When the dust settles, only high-quality companies with strong balance sheets and sizable cash flows are likely to survive. Even investing in these businesses will probably expose my portfolio to volatility in the short term.

But in the long-term, buying solid businesses at discounted prices is a proven strategy for building sustainable wealth.

The post Forget Premium Bonds! I’d buy UK shares in a Stocks and Shares ISA instead appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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Zaven Boyrazian has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.