Online investment service provider Willis Owen says keeping the recipients in the dark for so long suggests parents and relatives are missing a valuable chance to talk to children and young people receiving the cash about personal finances.
On the seventh anniversary of Junior ISAs today, figures show that the total number of Junior ISAs has risen year on year from 794,000 in 2016-17 to 907,000 in 2017-18. The total amounts subscribed in cash JISAs fell slightly this year from £525 to £517m while the total amounts subscribed in stocks and shares Junior ISAs rose from £333 to £385m.
The Budget earlier this week increased the amount that can be invested in a Junior ISA by CPI to £4,368. The adult ISA limit was frozen.
Junior ISAs were introduced on 1 November 2011 to replace Child Trust Funds.
The Willis Owen survey reveals that of those investors waiting until the child is 18, nearly two in five (39%) say this is because they would like to surprise their recipients while over a third (34%) are worried they will not be responsible enough to be informed earlier.
About a quarter (23%) say they do not want their children to feel spoilt by being made aware of their Junior ISA money before their eighteenth birthday.
Almost half (47%) of all those saving into JISAs hope the money will be used for university or higher education, while 43% would like the funds to contribute towards a deposit for a property. A further 42% would like the money to remain invested while 34% would like it to be used to pay for a car and 22% hope it will cover the cost of travelling the world.
Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing, Willis Owen, said: “When a child turns 16, he or she becomes entitled to manage their junior ISA investments and can access the money from their eighteenth birthday. However, our survey suggests that almost half of parents or relatives wait until their children are 18 or over to discuss JISAs invested on their behalf.
“This statistic sheds light on a very worrying issue; the fact that most people are leaving it too late to have conversations about personal finances with the younger generation. Learning about money and becoming financially aware is a long process, but it should start as early as possible.”
Since 1982 Willis Owen has acted as intermediary for 150,000 customers and has around £1bn under management.
• 478 JISA Investors were interviewed online between 17 October and 23 October 2018 by research company Consumer Intelligence.