We all would like to maximise our available funds as we look to grow a nest egg or boost our monthly income. Recently, I have had several friends ask me if individual savings accounts (ISAs) could be right for them. I have referred them to the government website on ISAs, which is quite comprehensive.
ISAs offer tax-efficient benefits, so today, I’d like to discuss why I believe every UK resident should learn more about the different types of ISAs available to us, with an emphasis on Stocks and Shares ISAs.
Stocks and Shares ISAs can help save for retirement
The UK government sets a limit on the amount that we can invest in ISAs each year. Currently, there’s a maximum subscription allowance of £20,000 per adult per tax year.
Individuals can divide this in any way across a simple Cash ISA or a Stocks and Shares ISA. They can also consider a Lifetime ISA (maximum of £4,000) or an Innovative Finance ISA, as long as they stay within the combined annual limit.
Any unused allowance in a tax year will be lost forever.
I’d make the most out of the allowance
Individuals can usually invest in three ways:
a) With a lump sum only, from a year-end bonus, for example. This method gives the portfolio a longer time for growth during the year.
b) For those with irregular income, an initial lump sum, followed by top-up payments works best.
c) With regular (usually monthly) payments, which can often be set up automatically by direct-debit.
Monthly investing enables investors to smooth out prices by buying assets on a regular basis, rather than just once.
Any returns investors make on the original investment with a Stocks and Shares ISA are free of capital gains tax.
What it means to pick the right investments
Before investing all my annual allowance, I’d first consider the level of risk I’m comfortable with.
There is a wide range of investment options available for a Stocks and Shares ISA. And deciding what to buy regularly can be overwhelming for both new and experienced investors alike.
For example, you could invest directly in FTSE 100 or FTSE 250 shares. For many people, investing in a dividend-paying blue chip stock is often one of the first steps to get started. Any capital gains delivered by the stock would be an added bonus on top of the dividend.
Or investors could buy an actively managed fund, which can provide instant diversification from a single investment. For example, my colleague Edward Sheldon recently covered the Fundsmith Equity Fund in detail.
Another option could be to invest in low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which track popular stock indices both in the UK and globally.
If you are interested in dividend stocks, but not quite sure where to begin, then the iShares UK Dividend UCITS ETF (LSE: IUKD) may be an ETF to consider. By investing in the 50 highest-yielding stocks from the FTSE 350 Index, this ETF offers diversified exposure to high-yielding UK companies.
The Foolish takeaway
If you’re unsure about which type of ISA suits your needs, you may want to talk to a financial adviser first before moving forward with specific provider or type of investment.
Although you may pay for the professional advice, an adviser would explain the basics and help find an investment best suited for your circumstances.
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tezcang 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.