The ISA deadline is approaching! Here’s what I’d do now

It’s not long until the end of the tax year. Paul Summers reflects on why using the Stocks and Shares ISA allowance should be a priority for investors.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

When investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you put in.

Read More

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, any form of personal advice. Investments in a currency other than sterling are exposed to currency exchange risk. Currency exchange rates are constantly changing, which may affect the value of the investment in sterling terms. You could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, and may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection as in the UK.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

The ISA deadline (5 April) is fast approaching. Here’s why I think it’s so important to take advantage of the annual allowance. 

Stocks and Shares ISAs: a good idea

A Stocks and Shares ISA allows us to avoid paying capital gains tax on profits made from our investments. Investing ‘careers’ can last for 40 or 50 years, so that could add up to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This type of ISA also allows an investor to avoid paying income tax on any dividends they receive. Research has consistently shown that reinvesting cash returns can turbocharge returns. The less I return to the taxman, the better!

Another reason for using a Stocks and Shares ISA is that returns are likely to beat those offered by a Cash ISA. Right now, the latter offers just 0.5% at best in interest. Of course, investment returns can never be guaranteed (and building up an emergency money fund is a bad idea) but a Cash ISA won’t help me grow my investments.  

Use it or lose it

One key point about the annual ISA allowance (£20,000) is that it has a time limit. In other words, I can’t roll over any of my 2020/21 allowance into the 2021/22 tax year. If I don’t use it, I lose it. 

Given this, if I didn’t already have one, I’d open one today, rather than waiting until after 5 April. I could then invest up to £20,000 for this year and repeat that after April 5 using the next year’s allowance. 

Every little helps

Not everyone will be able to invest the full allowance. Even so, I don’t think this should put anyone off. As little as £25 per month can help in building a nest egg. An annualised return of 7% over 30 years adds up to around £28,000 by 2051 (ignoring fees). 

Returns could be lower or higher, of course. An annualised return of 10% on £25 per month over the same period brings the total ISA pot to around £49,000. Again, I’m ignoring fees.   

Stock-picking

Picking stocks for an ISA portfolio is very personal. What suits one investor may not suit another based on their financial goals and risk tolerance. I’m adopting a quality-focused approach. I’m searching for companies with low debt and for those businesses capable of growing profits and generating consistently high returns on capital employed as they go. I won’t turn down a dividend, but I’m most interested in whether these cash returns can grow year-on-year. The actual size of the dividend is of less concern to someone like me who’s not dependent on making income from my investments.

Away from the numbers, the best shares to own in an ISA will arguably be those belonging to firms offering multiple products or services. Being a market leader or operating in a space with limited competition is also desirable. As the Brexit saga has taught us, there’s a lot to be said for buying shares in companies with a global reach too.

The length of time someone remains invested is also a key factor. If I invest £25 for 40 rather than 30 years, I’ll theoretically end up with even better returns: almost £60,000 (at 7%), almost £133,000 (at 10%) and a whopping £304,000 (ar 13%).

That’s the power of compounding over time. And that’s why using my ISA allowance is a priority for me.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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.

More on Investing Articles

Frustrated young white male looking disconsolate while sat on his sofa holding a beer
Investing Articles

The National Grid share price just plunged another 10%. Time to buy?

The National Grid share price is one of the FTSE 100's most stable, and nothing much happens to it? Well,…

Read more »

Young Black woman looking concerned while in front of her laptop
Investing Articles

Up 15% in 3 months, but I still won’t touch Vodafone shares with a bargepole

Harvey Jones has been shunning Vodafone shares for years. The FTSE 100 stock is finally showing signs of life, but…

Read more »

Growth Shares

This UK stock could be like buying Nvidia in 2021

Jon Smith thinks he's missed the boat with Nvidia shares, but flags up a UK stock that has some very…

Read more »

Businesswoman calculating finances in an office
Investing Articles

The FTSE 100’s Intertek delivers a bullish update — can the share price soar?

I’d describe Intertek as a quality business with a decent dividend income, but will the share price shoot the lights…

Read more »

Market Movers

Up another 10% yesterday, how high can the Nvidia share price go?

Jon Smith talks through the latest results but flags up why further gains could be harder to come by for…

Read more »

Investing For Beginners

Down 43% in a year, I think this value stock is primed for a comeback

Jon Smith flags up why a FTSE 250 share has fallen so much in the recent past, but explains why…

Read more »

Young woman working at modern office. Technical price graph and indicator, red and green candlestick chart and stock trading computer screen background.
Investing Articles

Nvidia stock is stupidly expensive. Or is it?

Nvidia stock's up over 2,000% in the past five years. Christopher Ruane explains why it could be wildly overvalued --…

Read more »

Smiling young man sitting in cafe and checking messages, with his laptop in front of him.
Investing Articles

The FTSE 100 stock I’ve been buying this week

Stephen Wright thinks the FTSE 100 slipping back this week has offered an opportunity in one of the highest-quality UK…

Read more »