Tax year-end triumph: How to maximise your ISAs

Amid persisting economic challenges, it’s important to make the most of all your tax allowances to ensure your investments are working as hard as possible. One way to do this is by reviewing your mix of Cash and Stocks & Shares ISAs ahead of tax year-end.


  • Even though interest rates may be coming under control, above-average inflation rates mean many Cash ISAs are still losing value in real terms.
  • Opting for a combination of Cash and Stocks & Shares ISAs may give your money the best chance for greater growth.
  • We can help you rebalance your cash savings and stocks and shares investments, improving your family’s financial well-being.

Tax year-end is a prime time to check you’re making the most of your annual tax allowances. But did you know that it’s also the perfect time to review whether you’re still getting value for money from your Cash ISAs?

At the time of writing, inflation appears to be coming under control, although interest rates remain higher than average. However, once interest rates begin to fall, your savings or investments will slowly lose value in real terms over time if inflation outpaces the average interest rates or investment returns.

With many of us still needing to keep a watchful eye on family finances, you want to be sure that any money you are able to save is going to work hard.

Here’s how you can take stock of your ISAs.

Cash vs Stocks & Shares ISAs – the current situation

Cash ISAs are still hugely popular, for compelling reasons. They offer easy access to cash. However, in the 2021/22 tax year (the last year for which figures are available), Cash ISAs accounted for 61% of all accounts; that’s a decrease of 920,000 compared to 2020/21. Stocks and Shares ISAs increased by 345,000 in the same timeframe.1

While more risk-aware savers may prioritise familiarity (cash) over growth, investing in assets that have the potential to do better over time – such as Stocks & Shares ISA – is a savvy approach. It’s highly likely that you’re already investing, thanks to your pension. But did you know that a Stocks & Shares ISA offers a more flexible and active introduction to investing?

Working out which type of ISA is best for you

Cash ISAs are conveniently easy to access, as well as being very tax efficient when building a nest egg for the future. And they’re a source of ready cash if you hit an unexpected expense.

Investing in Stocks & Shares ISAs offers the potential for greater growth compared to a Cash ISA. However, it’s essential to note that, unlike a Cash ISA, your capital is also at risk. What’s more, the level of risk you’re comfortable with is a personal decision. With Stocks & Shares ISAs, you can diversify your holdings, including company shares, bonds and various assets. Many individuals choose to invest in funds, which are mixed portfolios, to spread their risk.

If markets fall, the value of your savings will dip. Yet, by remaining invested for a long-term period, you can mitigate the market’s fluctuations. This is one reason why we advocate for a long-term investment approach.

Holding a significant amount of money in Cash ISAs or savings accounts may result in missed opportunities for growth that could significantly contribute to your financial well-being. Over time, Stocks & Shares ISAs have the potential to generate more earnings than Cash ISAs. Furthermore, any gains or income are still tax-free.

Getting the most out of your ISAs

Helping our clients figure out the best financial plan for their families is something we do every day. Many people find that a mix of Stocks & Shares ISAs and Cash ISAs not only brings short- and medium-term stability, but also the long-term potential to create wealth for the future.

With that in mind, we’ve put together our most common ISA FAQs, ahead of tax year-end.


How long have you had your Cash ISAs?

If you’ve had any of your Cash ISAs for more than five years, cash might have snuck into your long-term planning. It’s a smart move if you’re keeping this money accessible for unexpected expenses or a rainy day. However, in the long term, you may not experience the same returns and growth that a Stocks & Shares ISA could potentially deliver.

So do I need my Cash ISAs?

Think about the significance of Cash ISAs in your broader financial strategy. You can put up to £20,000 into a Cash ISA each year, which is very tax-efficient and versatile. The £20,000 ISA allowance can be divided however you prefer among a Cash ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA and Lifetime ISA (up to £4,000), as long as you remain within the limit.

Keep an eye on the interest rates, though. If interest rates rise, the amount you can save in standard accounts before you start to pay tax on it will reduce.

Getting the mix right

To fully capitalise on the tax perks of ISAs, it’s usually best to invest in assets that have the potential to do better over the long run: stocks and shares. But even for experienced investors, investing more in a volatile stock market can feel daunting.

A Cash ISA can enhance your financial well-being and contribute to your family goals in the short to medium term. Simultaneously, a Stocks & Shares ISA, strategically invested for long-term growth, could be the ideal choice for your family’s future aspirations or your own retirement.

As the tax year concludes, it’s prudent to discuss your ISAs with us to ensure they align with your broader financial plans. We can assist in determining the optimal balance between cash and investments in stocks and shares, providing you with the best opportunity for both short- and long-term financial well-being.

Thinking of changing your ISA mix? 5 things to look out for in 2024

  1. If you have multiple ISA accounts, you may also find it easier to keep track of them if you consolidate them into one plan.
  2. If you transfer as cash, you’ll be out of the market until the transfer is complete. You won’t lose out if the market falls, but your money won’t be subject to any income or growth if the market rises in this period. If you transfer a fixed-rate cash ISA before the end of the term, you may have to pay a fee.
  3. If you’re transferring funds from a Stocks & Shares ISA, you’ll remain invested until the transfer. You’ll be unable to switch or sell these funds while the market falls or rises during this time.
  4. It’s possible, where appropriate, to transfer money out of existing Cash ISAs into a Stocks & Shares ISA without reducing your allowance for the current year.
  5. You should also be aware that your current provider may charge exit fees.

Upping your ISA game before tax year-end

Having a regular review with your financial adviser is always a good plan, but it’s even more important coming up to tax year-end on 5th April. Especially if your long-term plans or family circumstances have changed in the last 12 months.

Time is on your side – you’ve still got plenty of time to make some tax-smart adjustments to your ISAs and investments, helping create the future you want.

The value of an ISA with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

An investment in a Stocks and Shares ISA will not provide the same security of capital associated with a Cash ISA.

The favourable tax treatment of ISAs may not be maintained in the future and is subject to changes in legislation.

Cash ISAs and Lifetime ISAs are not available through St. James’s Place.



1 published June 2023. Accessed November 2023.