Category Archives: ISA

ISA category

How safe are your savings?

With your capital tucked away in savings accounts, investments and mortgages, you’d assume that there is some kind of protection in place. But exactly how safe are your savings in the event of, for example, an authorised financial services firm going bust? That’s exactly what happened during the 2008 banking crisis, and UK taxpayers had to shell out £4.5bn to the people who had saved their money with Icelandic bank, Icesave.

You’ll be happy to hear that there is a safeguard in place for such an occurrence that can make such drastic means unnecessary, depending on which banks are affected. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) was established to provide you with a level of protection. Up to £85,000 worth of cash savings covered per individual, per financial institution, to be exact. Continue reading

The ‘ISA Cappuccino Plan’: Why it pays to start early

Picking up a cup of joe from your favourite coffee shop can be a great way to start the day, but if you’re spending £2.50 a day, five days a week, that soon adds up. You might say that £50 a month is a small price to pay for kicking off the morning with caffeine, but if you were to put that £50 into a stocks and shares ISA, you could see some real results.

In only five years, you could be looking at a pot worth £3,307.61, after 10 years £7,303.68 and with 15 years under your belt, that’s £12,131.51 – just think how much coffee you could buy with all that interest!

Researchers at Fidelity are putting this information out to encourage people to start what they’re calling an ‘ISA cappuccino plan’; a simple saving plan to help you properly invest in your future. It’s not just about trading your flat whites for a home-brew cafetiere though, as Emma-Lou Montgomery, Associate Director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International, explains; “We all are guilty of frittering away money without realising we’re doing it, whether it is on coffees or even Uber journeys. It’s important to stop and think about what you are spending your money on, identifying where you could make small changes to save some cash.”

It’s just not realistic to expect everyone to have a lump sum with which to start up their ISA portfolio, but by depositing cash little and often, it doesn’t take long to build up an ISA pot that can bring you some considerable interest. Emma-Lou Montgomery continues, “A monthly saving plan where you drip-feed money into your investments regularly is a great way to get the ball rolling. This approach will also mean that you benefit from a process known as pound-cost averaging; where you automatically buy more units in your investments when prices are low. The benefit is that you will be cushioning your ISA portfolio against dips in the stock market by buying a variety of prices and spreading your ongoing investments over a period of time.”

It’s starting to sound like a no-brainer, so why not think about where you might be frittering away any disposable cash. You might not be a coffee drinker, but if you’re buying your lunch every day, you could save £100 a month by preparing it at home, and we don’t need to tell you how much money can be saved and invested by cutting down or cutting out a smoking habit. The earlier you get started, the better your results will be!

What do ESG and impact investing mean for investors?

Sustainable investing has grown rapidly over the last couple of decades. Investors are increasingly committed to the social and environmental impact of where they put their hard- earned money. Getting good financial returns and having a positive impact on the world are not mutually exclusive. Impact investing and ESG investments allow investors to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, as they say

American financial association SIFMA estimates the market size of sustainable investments to be $8.72 trillion. That figure was calculated in 2016, so it’s likely to be substantially larger than this now. Continue reading

The longevity challenge and how to tackle it

In the UK, we are faced with the challenge of an ageing population. Many of us will live longer than we might have expected. Already, 2.4% of the population is aged over 85. Because of improvements in healthcare and nutrition, this figure only looks set to rise.

The Office of National Statistics currently estimates that 10.1% of men and 14.8% of women born in 1981 will live to 100. A demographic shift to an older population brings unprecedented change to the way the country would operate, from the healthcare system to the world of work.

In addition, a long life and subsequently a long retirement, bring challenges of their own from a personal financial planning perspective.

Continue reading

Funding care home costs with a care home ISA

If you’re under 60, funding your future care might not be top of your agenda. Garden improvements, good restaurants and holidays probably rank slightly higher, as well as saving for your pension if you’ve not yet retired.

However, the government could be proposing a new ISA in order to encourage people to start saving for their later life care. Recent leaked government documents suggest that the government is considering a Care ISA as part of its forthcoming green paper on social care. Continue reading

Are children’s pensions as good as they seem?

Pensions for children? Surely that’s taking planning ahead to a whole new level?

Nonetheless, if you can afford it, putting money aside in to a pension for your children or grandchildren can be a sensible option.

Under the current rules, you can put £2,880 a year into a junior self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or stakeholder pension, on their behalf. Even though the child won’t be a taxpayer, 20% is added to the amount in tax relief, up to £3,600 per annum. If you think about it, that can result in quite a significant amount over the years, taking compound growth into consideration. Continue reading

Financial planning in your forties

It’s well known life begins at forty. Doesn’t it?

It should be an exciting decade, full of plans and aspirations. It’s also likely to be a time of optimum earning potential.

What’s more, it’s a crucial decade to take a step back and make sure your finances are on track to meet your goals.

There’ll be some decisions you’ll already have taken in your twenties or thirties, which will have had an impact. You may have bought your own home, for example, or put some savings away in cash, investments or pensions. Continue reading

The end of LISA? Time to get your lifetime ISA before it disappears

The new girl on the block, in terms of saving products, seems like she may not actually be around for much longer. LISA, or the lifetime ISA, is being threatened with abolition by a Treasury committee, having only been on the market for 16 months.

The LISA allows those aged between 18 and 50 to save up to £4,000 a year towards a pension or a first home tax free, with the promise of a 25% government bonus capped at £1,000 a year. Continue reading

Why it pays to retire early

Sound financial planning is not only good for your bank account – it could actually improve your life expectancy. If you’re reading this then you probably don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of looking after your money, but here’s another reason to add to the list.

The idea of retiring early can be most appealing. For some, it will already be a reality, while wise saving and investment may mean it’s perfectly achievable for those at the consideration stage. Research now suggests that an early retirement can actually also lengthen your life. Economists from the University of Amsterdam published a 2017 study in the Journal of Health and Economics which confirmed that male Dutch civil servants over the age of 54 who retired early were 42% less likely to die over the subsequent five years, compared to those who continued working.

Researchers put this life-extending phenomenon down to two main factors. First, when you retire you have more time to invest in your health. Whether that means you find more time to sleep, more time to exercise or simply more time to visit a doctor when an issue arises, you’ll see the benefit.

Secondly, work can be a great contributor to stress, creating hypertension which is in turn a huge risk factor for potentially fatal conditions. In the study, retirees were shown to be significantly less likely to fall victim to cardiovascular diseases or strokes.

Of course, there can be benefits to staying in work too. Participating in a work environment is a good way of keeping your mind and body active. On top of that, being part of a team helps develop and maintain a sense of purpose and belonging that is essential to cognitive health and development.

That’s not to say that all these benefits can’t be achieved outside of work; the key is to find a hobby, interest or cause to involve yourself in. As is so often the case, there’s no single solution. It’s important to find the best path for you, whether that’s staying in work, retiring early or going part-time. Whatever you choose, spend your time wisely as it could have a major impact on how long your retirement turns out to be.

What is pound cost averaging?

If you’re unclear on what the term ‘pound cost averaging’ means, the simplicity of what it describes is perhaps best demonstrated through an example. Abbie is an investor who has already decided where she wants to make a long-term investment. She also earns money through her job and invests more each month. Abbie therefore has three options as to how to invest her money. Firstly, she could invest all the money she currently has immediately, then invest the rest as she earns it. Alternatively, Abbie could hold on to her investment money and add to it as she earns more, waiting for the optimum time to invest a larger sum all in one go. Abbie’s third option is to stagger her investment, pacing herself so that the money is invested gradually over time. Continue reading