Budget 2009 – ISA Allowance Increased – from 6th October 2009

In his Budget speech on the afternoon of 22nd April 2009, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, announced that with the maximum amount which can be invested in a tax-efficient ISA will rise from £7,200 to £10,200.

(Ed. – This rise is long over due, with the only previous rise, since ISA’s were introduced in 1999, being  from £7,000 to £7,200. Had the ISA allowance increased in line with average earnings inflation since 1999 then today the ISA allowance should be in the order of £10,500).

New ISA Allowance Limits

Investors will be free to choose whether to invest the full £10,200 into the Stocks and Shares element or to place up to £5,100 into a Cash ISA, with the remainder of the allowance being invested in a Stocks and Shares ISA.

When do the new ISA Allowance Limits Start?

This change in ISA allowance will see the total amount which can be invested in a tax year increase to £10,200 from 6th October 2009 for those aged over 50 with the rest of us being entitled to the additional allowance from 6th April 2010 – effectively 12 months to wait for those under 50.

In reality though the increase in allowance, although welcome, will see only a small increase in the amount of tax saved by UK investors in Cash ISA’s given the very low level of current interest rates.

For example – for a Cash ISA investor this means that an additional £1,500 can now be invested in a Cash ISA.

With the average Cash ISA paying in the region of 2.5% -3.0% gross, the actual tax saved will be between £7.50 and £9.00 per annum under current interest rates.

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What is Deflation?

A deflationary climate has returned to Britain for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measures a theoretical basket of goods and compares changes in the price of the whole basket over time. For the first time in five decades RPI was lower over a 12 month period.

In March 2009 RPI was 0.4% lower than 12 months earlier in March 2008. In the short-term delfationary pressures could make the recession we are currently going through worse than expected as the general level of prices continues to fall.

Some people argue that falling prices is generally good for consumers, and therefore the economy, however if these deflationary pressures become entrenched over the medium term then this will actually hurt the economy as consumers will effectively stop buying products today in the hope of even greater savings to be made tomorrow.

The Office of National Statistics has said that the largest constituent part of the “basket” which has pushed prices lower was gas and heating oil bills, with falling vegetable prices over the last 12 months also making a contribution.

Aren’t Falling Prices a Good Thing?

Not necessarily as it affects some consumer groups more than others. For example, pensioners receive a State Pension which is linked to RPI – they are therefore seeing little increase in the value of their State pensions. To compound the problem, the basket of goods which the average pensioner purchases is rising in price above inflation – in real terms therefore pensioners are becoming worse off.

Pensioners who depend on their savings for additional income over and above their pension income are also suffering at present from low interest rates on their savings accounts.

Pensioners are likely to see their pensions increase by no more than £2.40 per week next year. State pension increases are set with reference to RPI figure in September which was 2.5%. The likelihood is that State pension will increase by £2.40 per week to £97.65.

The other losers in a deflationary economy are those burdened with debts – they will suffer with the debt-deflation trap – which would see the “real” value of debts increasing as the general level of prices of all other items falls.

Deflation will also affect workers as they are unlikely to receive wage increases – business owners and managers will argue that the deflation of prices in the economy is providing a boost to “real” wage values without the need to put their hands in their pockets.

 

RPI and CPI

The Government’s preferred method of measuring prices is through CPI (Consumer Prices Index) which again uses a theoretical basket of goods and considers the change in prices of these goods and the relative weightings of each good sector within the basket. CPI excludes housing and mortgage costs.

At present CPI is running still in the positive at 2.9% per annum.

In our previous article we considered the basics of will writing, setting out the key people involved in the writing and execution of a Will.

In this article we will consider the REAL benefits to be enjoyed from ensuring you have a properly written Will.

10 Great Reasons Why You Should Write a Will

1. To allocate assets between different people.

You may wish to leave jewellery to a niece, or promised a grandson your war medals. A Will can formalise all these gifts and help prevent family arguments – remember this – family and money rarely mixes!

2. If you’re not married then you need to make Wills.

There is no automatic transfer of assets between couples who are cohabiting. Other than jointly owned asset which would pass to the surviving owner on first death, in law, all other assets could pass back to the deceased’s family under intestacy rules. In practicality though it is unrealistic to expect your deceased partners family to come asking for his/her DVD collection but a Will formally arranges your affairs after death and avoids problems later.

3. Leave assets to an ex-partner.

It could be that you have now remarried or are living with someone else. A Will could be used to leave assets to an ex-partner, for example, they may have made a large gift to you during your relationship which you would like to return to them in the event of your death.

4. Reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax you pay.

In the current tax year we can each leave an estate of up to £325,000 (2009/2010 tax year) with immediate liability to inheritance tax. Anything we own, over and above this £325,000 Nil Rate Band is chargeable to Inheritance Tax at a rate of 40%. A Will could be written to leave up to £325,000 to be split equally between children or held in Trust for their benefit. Under a normal “British” Will it is usual for all assets to pass between husband and wife. It might be prudent to still include a will trust to hold £325,000 for the benefit of your children – leaving all your assets to your spouse could see that money all eaten up in care home fees – it is vitally important that you take legal advice in this respect.

5. A Will can be used to make assets skip a generation.

It may be that your own children are financially successful in their own right. Passing assets to them on your death may be of no benefit and could simply compound their own Inheritance Tax problems later by artificially expanding their Estates. If this is the situation then why not leave your Estate to benefit your grandchildre, or even great-grandchildren if that is the case.

6. A Will can be used to set up a Trust.

If you are fortunate to have a very large Estate you may choose to set up a Trust to benefit a local charity or support group in terms of providing them with a regular income. Seek legal advice if you are considering this course of action.

7. To avoid Intestacy.

If you don’t make a Will then the Government have already made one for you. These are known as the rules of Intestacy – you are said to have died “intestate” if there is no valid will at the time of your death. For example, if you are married and die with a spouse and children then your spouse doesn’t automatically get eveything – if your Estate is less than £250,000 everything goes to the surviving spouse. If the estate is over £250,000 the surviving spouse gets £250,000 and all personal possessions.

Half of the remaining estate is split equally between the children with the spouse retaining a “life interest” e.g an income from the remaining 50% with this 50% ultimately being split between the children on second death.

As you can see – assets being allocated in this manner can and does cause problems after death.

More information on intestacy rules can be found here – HMRC – Intestacy Rules

8. You need to appoint Guardians for your children – this is vitally important.

In the absense of a Will it would be the Courts/Social Services who decide where your children are best placed – and it might not be with the people you thought would look after and raise your children. By making a Will with Guardians named for your children you can avoid this uncertainty. You should also consider putting in place life insurance to provide for your children in the event of your death – consider this – it could be very difficult if one day two children turned up on your doorstep expecting to be looked after until they are 18 and there is no money there to fund them!

9. If you are separated but not yet divorced.

You should write a will with the will written in view of the divorde going ahead as there is a possibility in law that, in the event of your death, your asset could pass back to your ex-partner. Although you are separated, in the eyes of the law your ex-partner might be entitled to your Estate after your death!

10. If you have been married previously or you don’t trust/like your spouses family.

You might care to write your Will so that in the event of you both dying together your assets don’t end up passing to your spouse’s family. For example, if you were killed in a car crash, in the eyes of the law, the eldest person is deemed to have died first. It is possible that their Wills leave all their assets to their families – you could see your assets momentarily pass to your spouse before passing straight to her family. Is this what you want to happen?!

We hope this article was of some benefit in sparking an interest in writing your own will.

Why you need a Will

There are many reasons why it is prudent from a personal, as well family perspective, to ensure you have a suitably worded Will in place – and Will Planning is not just for old people either!

What is a Will?

A Will is your written instruction which formalises what is to happen with your estate, and your children, after death. It can be a shrewd tax and estate planning instrument when used correctly and there are also a number of reasons why you should write a will sooner rather than later. We will cover these further in our next article in this series. This article is an introduction to Will Writing.

There are several ways in which a Will can be written – you could use the services of a Solicitor, a Will Practitioner/Specialist, a financial adviser or even a “DIY” Will purchased from a stationers.

In order to make a Will you need to be of sound mind and over the age of 18.

What is contained in a Will?

A Will sets out the administration of your estate in the event of your death. In it you can state your funeral preferences together with details of any gifts to charity or the National Trust.

Individual items can also be named, for example, leaving jewellery to a daughter or military medals to a grandson.

The Will for the most part will deal with the distribution of your estate – these are all your worldly goods and possessions. It is common for married couples to leave everything to each other and then shared equally between children on second death – this is generally known as the “Great British” Will – and may or may not be the most efficient and effective way of administering your Estate.

Who is involved in the Writing of a Will?

As the person making the Will you are known as the Testator (Testatrix if female) and the Will will be witnessed by two individuals who are not to benefit under the terms of the will – these are the Witnesses.

In the Will you nominate a person or people to administer your Estate after your death – these people are known as the Executors and it is their legal obligation to ensure that your wishes are carried out to the best of their ability.

I have an existing Will – does it need changing?

It is important to ensure you review your Will on a regular basis as people’s circumstances do change and the Will previously written may no longer match your wishes.

In addition to this, on several occasions, during my time as a financial adviser, I came across situations where people simply do NOT have a valid Will – in one case for example, the person had received their copy of the Will back from the Solicitors office and had simply filed it away without signing and witnessing the Will – remember – you need to ensure you sign your Will and that this signature is witnessed by two independent witnesses for it to be valid.

Is it feasible to make my own Will?

Although it is possible to write your own Will it is always advisable to have your Will written by an expert, such as a Solicitor or STEP practitioner.

A word of caution – in many cases the person writing the Will may wish to add themselves to the Will as an executor – I would always err on the side of caution at this suggestion. This person would be acting in a professional capacity and therefore the level of charges which might be incurred could be an unknown. You could in effect be writing a “blank cheque” on your estate by including a professional to act as an Executor on your Will. Remember – the other people acting as Executors (e.g. family) can always bring in professionals to act, at an hourly rate or agreed cost basis, should the need arise.

Next article – 10 GREAT reasons for Writing a Will

Introduction

Historically, cashflow forecasting was a method used by business owners, managers and accountants to analyse income and expenditure over a set period of time. By analysing inflows and outflows of cash for each period, e.g. each month, they were able to see what strains they would have on cash at any one time – e.g. was there any particular month or months where they needed to draw on other sources of cash.

Similarly, the use of a spreadsheet allowed the business manager to perform a number of “what if” scenarios – “what if” price increased 10%, “what if” this loan was repaid early.

Cashflow Forecasts and Personal Financial Planning

These same principles can be applied to your own personal finances. We all tend to have the same regular inflows and outflows of cash – e.g. if you’re in a salaried position then your net take home pay will tend to be the same each and every month. It is the irregular payments that can cause problems, for example car insurance premiums paid on an annual basis, payment for holidays etc.

By entering your expected income and expenditure each month into a spreadsheet it is possible to see the monthly flows of cash that you expect to occur.

The spreadsheet which accompanies this article contains most areas the typical family might find in terms of income and expenditure.

To Download Cashflow Forecast

Download the cashflow forecast spreadsheet –

Excel 2003 version – cashflow_forecast.xls

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I hope you find the cashflow forecast spreadsheet useful.

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Introduction

Prepaid credit cards are far from a new idea – the principle has been around for many years with such items as prepaid electric meter cards etc all working on the same principle.

In essence what a prepaid credit card offers is the facility to make purchases and payments through the Visa or Mastercard system, in the same way as someone using a “normal” credit card would – this is the same for purchases both in stores, shops, restaurants etc. as well as with online shopping on the internet.

They have a number of benefits over and above a “normal” credit card and these features and benefits will be considered below: –

Available to Almost Anyone

One of the downsides of a normal credit card is the need for the applicant to pass a credit check with a Credit Reference Agency – if you’ve got or have had a history of arrears, CCJ’s or Bankruptcy then obtaining credit can be very difficult if not impossible. Applying for a prepaid credit card normally does not require a “credit check” as the applicant is not actually applying for credit.

Top up direct or through outlets

Money can be added to your card either through a standing order from your bank account on a monthly basis, or through cash deposits at any number of retail outlets, including Post Offices. Check where it is possible to top-up your card before completing an application.

Help with Budgeting

By depositing a fixed monthly sum onto your card you are effectively limiting the amount of money available to spend through that card – remember, you are not borrowing any money from the card issuer. Say for example you are trying to reduce expenditure in one particular area – set a monthly budget for that area of expense and set this as your regular top-up – once the money has gone you will have reached your target for that month.

Different Types Available

It is possible to choose from several different types of card – you may have a personal preference between Mastercard, Visa or Maestro. These days the differences between Mastercard and Visa are fairly small – Mastercard tends to be more widely accepted in America with Visa more popular in Europe – both cards are normally accepted at most outlets.

Increased Security

Carrying a pre-paid credit card is a good idea in our opinion, preferable to carrying lots of cash. In the event of loss or theft simply report this to the card issuer as soon as possible and they should be able to cancel/block the card to limit the amount of money which you could lose through someone else using the prepaid card.

Ideal for Travelling

One idea which might be of interest to you is the use of a prepaid card whilst travelling or on holiday, either in the UK or abroad. No matter where you go in the world the card could be topped up by a friend or relative based here in the UK. A cheap alternative to other forms of transferring funds abroad – simply ask your prepaid card provider to issue a second card on your account and pass it to a friend or relative who can then use that card to top up cash here in the UK.

The great thing about this idea is that if you deposit money to the card here in the UK through certain outlets then the funds are credited to your card almost instantly! Check with each provider before applying for a prepaid card that they offer this second card facility and that they allow instant top ups through selected retail outlets.

Ideal for Shopping Online

A prepaid card can normally pay for itself in no time – especially if you are keen on online shopping – it’s common to be able to make great savings online through shopping around different retailers. Often though people are concerned about security with online shopping – particularly with “phishing” and other scams being carried out. With a pre-paid credit card though the amount of money at risk is limited to the amount of cash that has been credited to the card.

Ideal for Business Use

Many companies need to issue their staff and employees with credit cards. With a prepaid card it is simple to limit the amount of funds available for use by each employee – a different amount could be credited to each credit user on a monthly basis making budgeting more straightforward for the company.

Debt-Snowball – Repaying your Debts Quicker

It is common for people to have more than one debt – for example you may have a mortgage, a personal loan, a few credit cards, hire-purchase etc. Nobody likes debt, unless it is being used as leverage for an investment, and for the majority of people the quicker it is paid off the better!

Snowball those Debts

Consider a hypothetical situation whereby you have say 3 debts as shown in the following diagram –

debt-example

In this example the borrower owes a total of £105,600 and is paying £759 per month for this benefit. There have been other methods mentioned on the internet whereby you effectively repay the smaller debts first. I can understand the psychology of this approach – it is easier to cope with one large debt than several smaller debts. In the example above, any surplus funds would be used to pay off Credit Card 2 first – this debt could be cleared fairly quickly based on the amount remaining outstanding and in terms of “cost” it carries an interest rate of 16% making it the second most expensive debt.

The Logical Approach to Debt Repayment

Regardless of the amount of debt outstanding let’s focus on the Interest Rate.

The interest rate tells us the “cost” of owing that amount of money. For example, with Credit Card 1 the interest rate is 19% – therefore for every £100 that we owe to that lender they will charge us £19 for those 12 months – it’s as simple as that.

To demonstrate the logic of this, consider a situation where you owe £100 to each of Credit Card 1 and Credit Card 2 in the above example – Credit Card 1 is “charging” you £19 per year for this privilege and Credit Card 2 is charging you £16 per year. If you had £100 available to repay one of those two credit cards which one would you choose? Logic dictates you repay the more expensive one first.

Conclusion

Therefore, the logical conclusion is to check all your debts and see how much they are costing you each year – check carefully as interest rates have a nasty habit of increasing beyond what you THOUGHT you were paying over time. Once you have drawn up a “league table” maximise all efforts to repay your most expensive debt first, making just minimum payments on the remaining debts – as soon as the first (most expensive) debt is paid off move on to the next one.

Action

Make a list of all debts and interest rates – make a concerted effort to repay the most expensive ones first. Maybe consider transferring any outstanding balances from higher charging credit cards to those with a nil or lower introductory balance allowing you to make greater savings and, thereby, repay your debts quicker.

Long Term Savings – the need to start early

Saving for income in retirement can be a daunting thought for most people – the problem they face is that they simply don’t know how much they need to save between now and retirement.

In this article we consider the time value of money, and in particular, the benefits to be enjoyed from “compound growth”. In later articles we consider just how you go about working out how much you need to invest to plan for your own retirement income.

The Rule of 72

In the article “The Rule of 72 – the Time Value of Money” we discussed a simple technique for calculating how your money grows over time whereby dividing the rate of growth you are enjoying on your money into 72 shows the number of years it takes for your money to double in value.

For example – if you were lucky enough to receive 6% annual interest on your money in a savings account then this would double in value every 12 years (72/6=12).

Compound Interest

The principle of compound interest is simply one of “money makes money”. An example of this would be investing £100 in a savings account at 10% interest – after one year your money would have grown to £110 – after two years, £121 – you have earned an extra £1 interest in year two as not only have you earned 10% on your original investment of £100 but you have also earned 10% interest on the £10 interest you made in year one and this continues for as long as you leave that money invested.

Over time, as the proportion of “interest earned” grows then the rate at which your overall investment grows also increases – it’s like a snowball effect – when you roll a small snowball down a hill at first it grows slowly – the more it rolls, the more snow it picks up on each rotation and the faster it moves…….

The following chart shows how £500 per month, enjoying a simple return of 5% per annum, grows over a 30 year period –

Demonstrating compound interest on regular savings over time

The above chart shows that in the earlier years the rate of growth on the funds invested is relatively low, and as the benefits of compound growth accumulate over time the curve of the graph becomes steeper as each and every £1 of interest earned subsequently earns its own interest!

It’s not how much you save, but how long….

The principle of compound interest therefore brings us nicely into the subject of pension planning, saving for retirement or any other form of long-term saving.

For the sake of this example we will consider that you wish to retire at age 60 and you are now aged 30.

You have calculated that to provide income in retirement of £20,000 per year, ignoring inflation for the time being, and assuming a return of 5% after charges for both the growth on your money being invested BEFORE retirement and for the annuity income you receive AFTER retirement, that to provide £20,000 per annum you need a fund of £400,000 (£20,000 per annum divided by 0.05).

So to achieve this income goal you need to build up a fund between now and retirement of £400,000. Logic says that we simply divide the fund needed between the number of years to retirement and this tells us how much we need to save each year – in this example £400,000 over 30 years requires a saving of £13,333.33 per year (£1,111.11 per month)

This however doesn’t take into account the growth that you would enjoy on each contribution being paid into the investment vehicle – the contribution made in month 1 would have the longest time to grow – 29 years and 11 months, the contribution made in month 2 – 29 years and 10 months and so on…….

Compound Growth and Regular Savings

Saving on a regular basis into an asset-backed investment, such as a pension fund, or a unit trust held under an ISA umbrella, can benefit from “pound cost averaging”. In a volatile stock market, such as the one we are currently in, investing on a regular monthly basis means that you effectively have 12 chances each year to invest some of your money into the stock market on a day when the market is lower than on other days. The benefit of this is that it brings down the average cost of the units you hold, and ultimately leads to a larger potential profit at the end.

In our example above we calculated the monthly contribution required to build a fund of £400,000 assuming no growth

If we add in say net annual growth of 5% after charges (which should be achievable over the medium to long term) then the monthly investment actually falls to £480.62 per month.

If the rate of growth increases to say 6% per year, the monthly investment falls to £398.20 per month.

If the rate of growth again increases to say 9%, the monthly investment required to hit £400,000 falls to £218.49.

The Cost of Delay

Above we calculated that £480.62 invested at 5% net per annum will grow to £400,000 over a 30 year period. If we reduce the term to 29 years, then to achieve the same fund value, the monthly investment needs to be £512.77 per month – an additional monthly investment of £32.15 or an additional total investment of £11,188.20 over the life of the investment. This shows the cost of delay.

So by waiting one year, an additional £32.15 per month needs to be invested, each and every month for the whole 29 year period, to provide the same £400,000 fund at age 60.

If the individual were to delay their regular savings by 2 years then a monthly investment of £547.63 would be needed – delay by just 5 years and the monthly contribution rises to £671.69 which is probably beyond the means of most families with average income and outgoings.

Starting Early

We have now calculated that the regular saving to build a fund of £400,000 over 30 years, at 5% net return per annum, would be £480.62 per month – but what if you were to start earlier?

If you had the foresight to have started last year, and therefore have a period of 31 years over which to make this investment then this monthly investment would fall to £450.90 – start 5 years earlier and the monthly investment would need to be £352.08……………….

Conclusion

In conclusion then it is vitally important that you start saving as soon as possible for retirement income – whether that be through a personal pension, stocks and shares ISA, a deposit account…….

Start as soon as possible!

Ask yourself this question – how many more paydays until retirement? – 30 years – another 360 payslips – it’s later than you think!

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The start of the new tax year yesterday signalled changes in some of the main tax rates, reliefs and allowances and summarised below are the main rates, reliefs and allowances based on our own research: –

tax-rates-2009-2010-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital Gains Tax

No change to personal allowance for Capital Gains Tax – remains at £9,600 for the 2009/2010 tax year

Note:

Tax allowances, rates and reliefs are subject to change. These figures are for guidance only and are correct to the best of our knowledge at the date of publication. Please check the HMRC website for current rates before making tax planning decisions.

ISA Allowance 2009/2010

Yesterday, 6th April 2009, marked the beginning of a new tax year – all last year’s planning is now closed and we each start the new tax year with a clean slate and the opportunity to make positive changes in our personal finances.

With the dawning of a new tax year comes the ability to contribute to another ISA allowance.

Our article “ISA’s – Individual Savings Accounts” gives more information on what an ISA is – the different types available, the tax treatment etc.


New ISA Allowance – 2009/2010

In the current 2009/2010 tax year the investment allowance into an ISA remains the same at a total investment allowance of £7,200.

This can be broken down into two constituent parts – up to £3,600 can be invested in a Cash ISA (a little like a savings account with a bank or building society, only with interest paid with no income tax deducted) – with the remaining amount up to a total subscription of £7,200 across both ISA types being available.

For example, if you invested £2,000 into a Cash ISA you could still invest £5,200 into a Stocks and Shares ISA.

22nd April 2009 – In the budget today, Chancellor of the Exchequer announced changes to ISA allowances which come into effect on 6th October 2009 for over 50’s and for the rest of the population from 6th April 2010 – click here for more details.

I didn’t utilise my full allowance last year, can I top it up?

No, once the clock strikes midnight on 6th April a new tax year starts and all subscriptions to last year’s ISA are complete – no more money can be paid in. In practice, if your Cash ISA is administered in the traditional way through a passbook with a bank or building society, you will more than likely continue to pay money into the same book – it is just your allowance for the current tax year which limits the amount you can pay into the account.

Can I have my Cash ISA and Stocks and Shares ISA with different companies?

Yes – you are free to hold your Cash ISA with a different institution to your Stocks and Shares ISA.

Are they expensive?

Typically when investing in an ISA you will incur an “initial charge” – usually in the region of 4%-6% depending on the fund you are investing in, together with an “annual management charge” of between 0.75% and 2.25%.

Many people invest through a discount “supermarket” where the investor may benefit from a discount on their initial and annual management charges.

Can I invest in more than one Cash ISA in the current tax year?

No – once you commence saving into one Cash ISA all contributions in that tax year must be into that Cash ISA with that institution.

Can I Transfer Previous Cash ISA’s and Stocks and Shares ISA’s to another bank or investment house?

Yes, you are free to transfer previous years ISA’s to another provider.

A word of warning here though – you need to TRANSFER your ISA – ask the new company for a TRANSFER form – they are the ones who must contact your previous provider and arrange the transfer. Under no circumstances simply close the existing ISA and take the proceeds to a new institution – it won’t be accepted as a transfer!

Stocks and Shares ISA’s – aren’t they risky?

Yes they can be – a normal course of action would be to invest in a unit trust shielded through an ISA wrapper. A unit trust will normally invest in a range of stocks and shares depending on what that fund is trying to achieve. In these types of fund your money is not guaranteed, you could lose money, you could get back less than you originally invested.

These types of ISA should be viewed as a medium to long term investment – minimum of 5 years although it would be wise to work on a minimum 10 year investment horizon.

Before investing in any asset-backed investment such as a Stocks and Shares ISA it is prudent to ensure you have saved sufficient “rainy day” money into a savings account – this is money you can access easily and they should ideally be invested in a savings/deposit account were the value of your account isn’t susceptible to falls in the value of underlying investments.

How much Rainy Day Money?

Everyone is different – some people may be comfortable with say 6-12 months net income plus all likely expenditure over and above your normal expenditure which you feel may be incurred over say the next 2 years. Others would wish to save considerably more.

The yardstick for any decision to invest in a Stocks and Shares ISA must therefore be – how long are you prepared to invest this money for and are you prepared to lose some or all of it if your investments don’t perform well.

For example, if you need a new car next year it would not be wise to invest these monies in a Stocks and Shares ISA because of the risk of your money falling in value over the short-term.

If you are concerned about risking your money then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser.