Important information: The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.
The clock is ticking if you want to use this year’s tax allowances - and make the most of any savings you might have accrued as a welcome, even entirely accidental, by-product of the pandemic.
While the pandemic has caused more than a year of uncertainty and financial misery for so many, there are some people who have made savings since the nation went into its series of on/off lockdowns. With shops closed, expensive overseas holidays off the calendar and fewer places to spend, estimates are that despite the financial challenges many have faced, household savings have hit record levels over the past year.
Whether the year of uncertainty will have changed the nation’s savings habits forever, remains to be seen, but if you are fortunate enough to have accrued additional savings - or perhaps you’ve simply been hyper-disciplined having seen that life can indeed throw you a big fat curve ball - then now is the time to make the most of them, before the tax year ends.
This year the last day of the tax year, which is always 5 April, falls on Easter Monday. So, getting organised and ensuring your finances are in place a few days beforehand is essential this year. Otherwise you could find that with post office deliveries suspended over Easter and banks closed, your account set-ups or transfers are delayed and you could miss the all-important deadline altogether.
Looking forward to the future is such an important thing to do and by taking control of your financial plans you also get set to get back to whatever it is you want to, when all this is over.
Now, as always, the best way is to take it slow and steady. Things will eventually change and when they do you will no doubt want to press on with your plans straight away. So you really want to make sure you’re financially prepared today.
By continuing to invest a small, regular sum, you will keep your savings and investments on track. You will also still smooth out any lumps and bumps that can occur when it comes to stock market investing. You still gain when the market rises, and when it falls you also gain - by being able to buy more shares or units for your money.
If you’re not a fan of the ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ way of investing, making regular savings also allows you to invest at a more sedate pace. And in the current climate that’s no bad thing at all. The more important thing is that you reinvigorate your plans and get your hopes and dreams back on track, slowly but surely.
With a regular savings plan you can save as little as £25 a month into a range of investments. Keep it within your ISA and you’ll benefit from all the tax advantages too. Pretty soon you will have a nice little savings pot and, better still, no need to pay a penny of it to the taxman.
Investing in the stock market rather than keeping your money in cash is also a better idea if you’re looking ahead to medium to long-term goals. With interest rates at an all-time low and little suggestion that they will start to rise any time soon, saving in cash should only be used for money you need instant access to in the short-term. Once you have that sorted you should really consider putting the rest into longer-term investments to give your money a chance to grow.
Funds are an ideal starting point if you’re a new investor, or if you haven’t got a lot of time to spend on your investments. They give you instant access to a world of opportunity and a wide range of assets. Whether you want to put your money into FTSE 100 household ‘names’, dip a toe into the world’s rapidly-growing emerging markets, or go for gold, you can. Invest in a managed fund and the fund manager will do all the work for you. All you have to do is choose where you want to invest.
Our Select 50 list of recommended funds is a good starting point to help you make that choice. And the Fidelity Select 50 Balanced Fund, managed by the highly-experienced Ayesha Akbar, can make life easier still, by giving you access to the best of the best, all in one fund.
The best way to make sure you beat the tax year-end deadline is to do everything online. At Fidelity you can open this year’s ISA any time of day or night on any device you prefer, giving you plenty of time to get the job done. All you need do is fill in a few personal details, so we know who you are, including your National Insurance number and payment details.
If you’ve already got a Fidelity ISA it’s even easier. Just log in and add cash. If not, to get set up, all you have to do is give us a few personal details, so we know who you are. This includes your National Insurance number and payment details.
When it comes to choosing how you invest, then there is no need to rush either. To secure your allowance for the year, put the amount you want to invest into your account as cash. If you’re ready, you can choose funds or shares to invest in. If not, just leave the money where it is until you are ready to invest.
We have plenty of tools on the site, with news and insights on a daily basis to help you make the right decisions for you. Our Investment Director Tom Stevenson has even picked out five fund picks for 2021 - which he has invested in himself - to kickstart your ideas.
One is FP Foresight UK Infrastructure Income Fund. You can watch Tom speaking to the fund’s manager, Mark Brennan here.
Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Overseas investments will be affected by movements in currency exchange rates. Select 50 is not a personal recommendation to buy or sell a fund. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. The Foresight UK Infrastructure Income Fund uses financial derivative instruments for investment purposes, which may expose the fund to a higher degree of risk and can cause investments to experience larger than average price fluctuations. The fund also uses currency hedging. Currency hedging is used to substantially reduce the risk of losses from unfavourable exchange rate movements on holdings in currencies that differ from the dealing currency. Hedging also has the effect of limiting the potential for currency gains to be made. The Foresight UK Infrastructure Income Fund investment policy means it invests mainly in units in collective investment schemes. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.
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