The 50p turns 50 – and could have made you a multi-millionaire

Investing 50p a day since the coin’s launch in October 1969 could have netted you up to £12m, an analysis by Hargreaves Lansdown suggests.

The investment firm based that figure on the top performing share of the FTSE 100 over the past 50 years, which was British American Tobacco. Investing the equivalent of 50p a day in those stocks for five decades – which keeping track with inflation would mean investing £8.39 per day in 2019 – would have seen those shares amass to be worth over £12m.

If the same daily amount was invested in the Scottish Mortgage Trust instead, that would have resulted in a return of £2.8m.

But if you had invested a single 50 pence piece in a typical easy access bank account on the day of its launch its value would only have risen to a new total of £6.48 – not even keeping pace with inflation.

Hargreaves Lansdown also noted that starting today, investing 50p a day (rising with inflation) in a typical tracker fund returning 5% a year after charges, could be worth around £22,000 in 50 years’ time.

“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,” pointed out Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst Sarah Coles.

“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,” she continued.

“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 leave 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.”

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