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New research from Virgin Money reveals four in ten Brits believe that investing is only for ‘wealthy people’

A digital artist has used AI to create images of what Brits think a stereotypical ‘investor’ would look like – including wearing a crisp, well fitted suit and a Rolex watch.

It follows research* of 2,000 adults which found four in 10 believe investing is only for ‘wealthy people’.

Based on the poll, the stereotypical investor is a male in his early 40s, most likely to be eating an expensive looking steak with salad in a cosy home office.

Other items in their possession include a briefcase, multiple smartphones and expensive cufflinks.

While one in six envisioned them wearing a Bluetooth headset so they could remain handsfree on calls.

The research, which was commissioned by Virgin Money to support their ambition of helping investors grow their money as simply as possible, challenges stereotypical perceptions of what investors are.

It revealed 32 per cent believe they would be priced out of making any meaningful money from any investments of their own.

A quarter simply aren’t sure whether investing is affordable, with the average adult believing you would need to invest a minimum of almost £1,600 to give it a go.

But 32 per cent admitted they don’t have a deep understanding of how it all works, while a third wouldn’t know where to start.

And 68 per cent think investing is too complicated for them with too much unnecessary jargon involved.

Jonathan Byrne, chief executive officer at Virgin Money Investments, said: “The landscape of investing has changed massively in recent years, becoming more accessible and popular with new audiences, especially young adults.

“This research shows many people still think of investing as out of reach and requiring large sums of money to get started, but that’s just not true.

“It’s actually becoming significantly simpler to do so – investing can be as straightforward as opening a savings account.”

The study found 35 per cent do have confidence in their investing ability, believing if they were to invest today, they’d make a return.

Half (49 per cent) would be more inclined to try investing if they were able to do so with smaller sums of money, with an average of £166 a month considered a comfortable amount.

Stocks and stocks & shares ISAs were the most familiar methods of investing to respondents, alongside bonds and cryptocurrencies.

While the research carried out through OnePoll found investing in a fund is seen as a good method according to 46 per cent.

The findings follow a study published last year, which found younger age groups have started to invest more.

The FCA data identified a six per cent increase among 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 year-olds and a five per cent increase among 35 to 44 year-olds between 2020 and 2022.

Jonathan Byrne from Virgin Money Investments, which enables people to invest from just £25 a month in a stocks and shares ISA, investment account or a pension, added: “Investing can be for anyone, and we believe it’s one of the best ways for people to grow their money.

“It’s easy to think it’s only for the wealthy, but that’s not the case anymore – the fact that more women and younger generations are getting involved with investing is a positive sign.

“We want to challenge the investor stereotype for good and show that investing is a great option for lots of people – you certainly don’t need a fancy suit, Rolex or home office to make your money work harder, which is why we’ve made investing straightforward, with no jargon, no waffle – just three no-nonsense options.”

About Virgin Money’s investment service

Virgin Money’s investment service gives first time and experienced investors access to a range of investment products, with a simple fee structure and no hidden charges. Everything can be done online and via a dedicated app, making managing your money as easy as possible.

Customers can invest either through a stocks and shares ISA or a non-ISA investment account, with a minimum investment of just £25, access to their money anytime and free withdrawals. Virgin Money has created a number of straightforward investment approaches, each made up of a range of funds selected to reflect customers’ approach to risk, all suitable for both new and experienced investors looking to grow their money in the longer term:

Each approach looks to maximise return for that level of risk by investing in different asset types from around the world, giving customers a diversified portfolio without the hassle of having to research and pick individual assets or funds. Each approach will also focus on increasing investment in companies with good Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials including those who adopt sustainable investing policies and objectives, have positive shareholder engagement policies, or provide products and services that support the transition to a low carbon economy.

To help customers decide which approach suits them best, Virgin Money has added a series of helpful guides to its website. For customers new to investing, the bank also has an online investment coach which gives people the tools and information they need to discover their ‘inner investor’.

For more information about Virgin Money Investments, head to

About the research

*Survey carried out by OnePoll with 2,000 UK adults in February 2024