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Retirement saving: why I’d open a Stocks and Shares ISA today

Despite interest rates being close to historic lows, Cash ISAs continue to be more popular than Stocks and Shares ISAs. Although the latter can produce periods of disappointing returns, such as during bear markets and recessions, over the long run investing in the stock market through a Stocks and Shares ISA can be a highly profitable move that improves your prospects of retiring early.

With there being a number of large and mid-cap shares trading on low valuations at the present time, now could be an opportune moment to buy a range of companies within a Stocks and Shares ISA.

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Low interest rates

While Cash ISAs may be popular, their returns are likely to stay low over the coming years. Interest rates are currently forecast be only slightly higher than they are today over the next few years, which means that Cash ISAs and other mainstream assets such as investment-grade bonds may struggle to keep pace with inflation.

As such, on a relative basis, buying shares in a Stocks and Shares ISA could prove to be a sound move. Although doing so may entail greater risk than for other mainstream assets, the growth prospects for the world economy suggest that over the long run the risk/return outlook for the stock market may be more attractive than for other mainstream assets.

Low valuations

As mentioned, a number of shares appear to be trading on relatively low valuations. That’s despite the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 enjoying strong rates of growth over the last decade, with the two indices currently offering dividend yields of 4% and 3% respectively that suggest they offer further capital growth potential.

Within each index, there are a number of shares that offer even wider margins of safety than the indexes themselves. This may be because of the uncertainty facing the UK economy at the present time, with some UK-focused businesses currently being unpopular among investors. Even international stocks have come under pressure in some cases, with the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China leading many investors to adopt a cautious stance on a range of industries and businesses.

This could allow long-term investors to capitalise on their wide margins of safety. Certainly, there is scope for their valuations to fall further in the short run. But, through diversifying across a range of stocks that operate in different geographies and sectors, it may be possible to boost your retirement savings prospects through buying undervalued shares.

The right product

A Stocks and Shares ISA seems to be a sound product through which to access the growth potential of the stock market. It offers greater simplicity and flexibility than a SIPP or a pension, while providing tax efficiency versus a bog-standard share-dealing account. As such, now could be the right time to start investing through a Stocks and Shares ISA in order to boost your retirement prospects.

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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.