We’ll experience several coronavirus-like market shocks in our lifetimes – but although such volatility can be unsettling, these are beyond our control. As with business planning, we’ll give ourselves the best chance of achieving our personal financial goals if we focus on what we can control: including how and where we invest our money, the size of our retirement fund, and how much tax we pay.
Here are some ways in which you can use the start of the year to get your plans back on track!
Simple and readily accessible, it’s no surprise that ISAs have become one of the most popular ways to save. However, as UK interest rates are lower than ever, money being held in Cash ISAs is failing to achieve the very basic objective of keeping pace with inflation. Therefore, savers who invest their ISA allowance for the long term – in assets offering the scope for attractive levels of income and capital growth – have a better chance of maximising the tax-saving opportunities on offer.
Saving into a pension is a particularly appealing prospect at the moment, as there’s much greater freedom for taking benefits, tax relief on their pension contributions, and pension savings can be more easily left as part of a tax-free inheritance. Those wishing to make their retirement plans a reality should consider fully utilising their annual allowance for this tax year to make the most of the tax breaks on offer. Plus, unused allowances can be carried forward from the three previous tax years.
With some careful planning, you can legally reduce your Inheritance Tax bill – or possibly pay nothing at all. You could look at reducing your taxable estate by topping up a child’s pension or Junior ISA – this could go a long way to providing them with an invaluable head start in life. The Junior ISA allowance rose from £4,368 to £9,000 on 6 April 2020. Also, make this year’s £3,000 gifting allowance count – and carry forward last year’s, if you haven’t used it already.