Why and how I’d invest £20k in a Stocks and Shares ISA ASAP!

Investing £20k with a Stocks and Shares ISA could be a lucrative long-term move for patient investors, especially with indirect tax hikes on the horizon.

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The Stocks and Shares ISA has long been a terrific tool for building wealth in financial markets. And its power only seems to be increasing in 2023.

The British government has been indirectly hiking investment-related taxes by cutting the annual tax-free dividend allowance. And as of April next year, these allowances are getting slashed in half again, resulting in an even bigger bill from HMRC.

Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future. The content in this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be, neither does it constitute, any form of tax advice. Readers are responsible for carrying out their own due diligence and for obtaining professional advice before making any investment decisions.

Thankfully, this is one headache ISA investors don’t have to face, as their portfolios are already protected from the taxman’s grubby fingers.

The £20,000 annual ISA limit is rarely hit by most individuals. But any unused allowance doesn’t get carried over. It’s lost forever. As is any potential tax-free gains that could have been generated in the long run.

That’s why investors should strive to use and abuse as much of their annual ISA allowance. Even more so in 2023, considering all the ongoing volatility that is creating some pretty exciting opportunities.

Investing sensibly

Striving to maximise the £20,000 annual allowance is an ambitious but important goal. Having said that, investors still need to make smart capital allocation decisions.

Investing is a long-term endeavour. And a general rule of thumb is to never invest any cash needed within at least the next five years. Why? Because every once in a while, the stock market decides to lose the plot, sending even the best businesses spiralling downwards.

2022 serves as a perfect example of this type of volatility. And the worst position any investor can find themselves in is being forced to sell shares in top-notch companies at terrible prices.

Therefore, a strategy I use is to always ensure I have a good cash buffer inside an instant access, high-interest rate savings account. The amount needed for this emergency fund depends on preference and personal circumstances. But I aim to have enough to cover around eight months of living expenses.

Managing risk and expectations

Through thick and thin, the FTSE 100 has historically generated an average return of around 8%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 is a bit higher at 11%, demonstrating that taking on more risk can yield better returns.

While there’s no guarantee this performance will continue, these are the sorts of gains index investors can expect to achieve in the long run.

However, the potential returns could be much higher for those using their Stocks and Shares ISA to build a custom hand-picked portfolio. Even more so in 2023, considering many terrific companies are being traded at a significant discount to their historical averages.

Of course, this doesn’t mean investors can blindly buy beaten-down shares and expect to make money. Panic selling often leads to dumb decision-making. But sometimes the pessimism is justified. And buying into a business that has been fundamentally compromised as opposed to temporarily displaced is a recipe for disaster. 

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.

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.

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