With a new tax year starting on April 6, now could be a good time to review any Isa savings you have and make sure they’re still working for you.
Money held in Isas is ringfenced from the taxman, helping savings to grow.
You can save up to £20,000 per year into Isas – and it was confirmed in the March Budget that the limit will remain the same in the 2023/24 tax year.
This time of year is sometimes called “Isa season”, with providers competing to attract savers’ money. People may be looking to top up or open new accounts before the current tax year ends, or considering their options for the new one.
There are various types of Isa and savings can be put into just one type or split – with perhaps some money going into a cash Isa and some into stocks and shares, for example.
Cash savings rates have increased over the past year as the Bank of England base rate has increased, so it’s worth checking the rate you’re on and how it compares with the other deals available.
According to analysis by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, the average easy access Isa was paying a rate of 2.01% in March 2023, up from a miserable 0.30% in March 2022.
While this is still much lower than inflation, which eats away at the real value of money held in savings accounts, maximising your returns can at least offset some of the impacts.
Savers looking to the longer term may want to consider stocks and shares Isas, which may potentially produce higher returns over time, although the value of investments can go down as well as up.
As well as considering the potential returns, Andrew Prosser, head of investments at InvestEngine, suggests checking out any fees that come with stocks and shares Isas.
He says: “Many providers will charge a regular monthly fee or annual percentage, while things such as fees per trade can mount up.”
Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, suggests considering what your risk appetite is and whether it has changed.
He says: “Our investment goals and attitude to risk can change over time, so ask yourself if your current portfolio still aligns to your investment objectives and appetite to risk.”
For those concerned about market volatility, ensuring your money is invested in a diverse mix of assets can help to spread the risks, he says.
Another way to smooth out market uncertainties is to “drip-feed” money into stocks and shares Isas over time, he adds.
Monk also suggests trying to avoid knee-jerk reactions to market performance, adding: “Tinkering with your investments could also leave you at risk of missing unexpected opportunities that might arise from market corrections, while also posing the impossible question of when is best to buy back in.
“If you’re still struggling, you might like to talk to a financial adviser who can help you with this.”
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