Is it Worth Putting Money in an ISA?

ISA stands for Individual savings Account and they were set up by the government as a way to save money tax free. They used to be attractive to savers who paid tax as they would give them a tax break on the interest that they got. This meant that tax payers would use it instead of a conventional savings account so that they could get a better return on their savings. However, they are not so popular now for a number of reasons.

The government have now changed the rules on tax on savings from interest. If you are in the basic rate tax band you can receive up to £1,000 in savings interest before being taxed on it. If you are in the higher rate band you will not be taxed on the first £500 and if you are on the additional rate tax band then you will have to pay tax on it. This applies to savings in banks and building societies, credit unions, unit trusts, investment trusts, open ended investments, peer to peer lending, government and company bonds, life annuity payments and some life insurance contracts. This means that for many people the attractiveness of an ISA has been lost because there is no longer a benefit of not having to pay tax on the interest received as it tends not to be taxed for many people anyway. Obviously high earners or those who receive a large amount of interest may still need to pay tax and therefore may still benefit from an ISA.

It is worth comparing interest rates as well. If you look at how high the interest rate is on an ISA compared with a savings account, then you will be able to see whether it is worth getting an ISA or not. You will probably find that there are many different rates with different companies. You may want to use a comparison website to help you find what is available more quickly. There are many out there and you may also find websites which will let you know who has the best rates which could be useful. It is worth remembering that although comparison websites can be useful in giving you an idea of what rates are available, they only compare a selection of sites. Some places never appear on them and only deal with customers directly and some comparison websites only list companies that pay them commission, so you need to do a bit of work yourself as well, if you want to make sure that you get the best possible rate.

It is worth noting that there are several types of ISA and the above only applies to cash ISAs. There are also other types of ISAs and these work very differently. An innovative finance ISA covers things like peer to peer lending, crowdfunding, lending to businesses and property. It basically covers any interest that you get from lending money to people. This is a risky way to invest your money, but if you do make a good return, then wrapping it in this sort of ISA will reduce or eliminate interest.

A lifetime ISA is a fairly new way to save and allows you to save £4,000 a year with a 25% bonus paid by the state and there is interest on top. There are limitations though with the bonus only being paid until you are 50.

A stocks and shares ISA allows you to invest money in stocks, shares or bonds and not pay tax on some or all of the return that you get. You do not have to pay capital gains tax on the profits made from share price increases, no tax on interest earned by bonds and no tax on dividend interest. The capital gains tax is payable at income tax allowance levels and dividends are taxed after £5,000 of income and if you are a higher tax rate payer you would pay 25% and an additional rate tax pater 30.56%. There are often fees associated with these though and so it is worth looking hard into them before you sign up for one.

It is worth noting that the tax free benefits of ISAs really only apply if you have already used up your tax free allowance for savings interest and/or if you pay higher rate tax. Otherwise you may find that you can get a better rate on a savings account without specifically looking for an ISA. However, if you have investments, then it is worth seeing whether there is an ISA which will work for you and help you to reduce your tax burden on your returns.

Where is the best Place to Put your Savings?

It can be very difficult to know where to put your savings anyway, but when interest rates are very low it can be even more difficult. It is good to try to find somewhere that pays a really good rate of interest but it can be hard to find anywhere that does this these days.
There are some ways that you can get more interest on your savings account though. If you are prepared to tie your money up, you can get a better rate. Therefore if you find an account where you have to give notice to make a withdrawal then this will be likely to pay you more interest. Obviously you will need to be sure that you will not need the money quickly, if you want to get the interest. You tend to be able to withdraw the money without notice but you get a penalty, meaning that you will lose interest on it. Therefore if you do decide to use this sort of account, then it is a wise idea to make sure that you keep some money for emergencies in an instant access account and extra money in this account. As well as a notice account, you can consider a fixed rate bond. These fix the interest on the account for a period of time, perhaps a year or longer. This is a risk as you have to decide whether you think the interest rate will go up in that time period and if so whether you might be better putting your money elsewhere. Often a rate for a fixed rate bond is significantly higher than the Bank of England base rate so most people would be happy to take the risk and put their money in there.

Obviously these types of accounts will take some thought, you will need to make sure that you are happy with the money being in there. It is also wise to compare these different types of accounts to see which one seems to be the best for you. Compare the interest rates to see which one is most competitive but also consider other factors as well. You need to think about whether you are also concerned about the reputation of the account and company, whether you want to choose one that you already know and trust or are willing to try one that you have not used before. It can be worth reading some reviews so that you can find out what others think about the company and the product and this should help you to find a company that you trust.

Some people would rather try getting even more return for their money and they are willing to invest their money. Investments are riskier than savings because you are effectively buying something with the money, such as shares and then you have to sell them again if you want the money back. This means that you are relying on the item increasing in value before you want your money back. Most investments are held for a long time, to give them a chance to increase in value and so your money could be tied up for at least five years if not decades. There is also a risk element with investments. Some will decrease in value even over the long term and so you may find that you lose some of the money that you invested or possibly even all of the money that was invested. So whether this is something that you are prepared to do will very much depend on how much risk you are prepared to take. It is always wise to invest money that you can afford to lose, just in case something goes wrong and you should always use money which you do not need and cannot see that you will need in the short term as if you do cash it in you could end up losing out.

So the best place to put savings very much depends on whether you want to be able to get hold of the money quickly or are prepared to tie it up. It also depends on whether you are prepared to take a risk with the money and if you can afford to lose it. It is worth having a think about all of your choices and what will be the best for you personally.

Should I Borrow Money if I don’t have a Permanent Job?

Borrowing money is something which is very easy to do and many people do it. However, before you do borrow money via a quick loan it is important to think about whether it is something which is right for you. Some people in some circumstances take more risk when they borrow than others. So, for example, if you do not have a permanent job, should you be considering borrowing money?

If you do not have permanent employment, then you are unlikely to have access to a great selection of loans. Lenders will take a look at your credit record and see that you do not have a regular income and they will see this as a risk. This will mean that they could either decide not to lend you any money at all or they will lend to you at a high interest rate, as they do with all high risk borrowers.

The reason that they will not lend, or lend at a high rate is because there is a risk that you will not have the funds to repay the loan. Therefore they charge more and hope to get more money out of you towards the cost of the loan before you find that you cannot manage the repayments and stop paying them. This is a risk that you do not want to take either. If you cannot make the repayments then you will get an even worse credit record. This will not only make it hard for you to borrow more money but it could also mean that you will struggle to even find a house to rent and you may even struggle to get a job. A credit record is very important and so you want to make sure that you do not borrow money and then find that you get into trouble with repayments as it could have a big impact on your future which could be very far reaching.

Although this all sounds very negative, you may still find that there are forms of borrowing available to you and these could be something to consider. You may already have a credit card, for example and this could be worth using in some circumstances. Whenever you are taking a decision as to whether to borrow money, you should always consider whether you are confident that you will be able to repay the loan. This could mean that you have to make regular monthly payments or it could mean being self-disciplined enough to pay off a credit card bill rather than just paying back the minimum amount and paying lots of interest on the loan. It is worth thinking about whether you will be able to manage this; both in your current circumstances and in the future. It might be that you are confident that you will soon be able to get a permanent job that will pay you more than enough to cover the repayments or that you fear you will lose the job you have and be out of work for a period of time.

If you have other earners in your household then you might be able to split the cost of the bills and therefore have more money available to make repayments on a loan. If you get into difficulties you might be able to rely on them to help you out; therefore making the loan a lower risk for you. Alternatively you may be really well paid, perhaps working as a contractor and therefore be very confident that you will have the money to be able to afford the repayments.

So really the answer to the question as to whether you should borrow money if you do not have a permanent job is very much a personal thing. It will depend on what you see might happen in the future as well as how your finances are now. If you have other earners in the household this could help you as you will be able to get help from them to cover other bills, if you are well paid, then you will be more confident that you can make repayments than if you are not well paid. So you need to assess your own personal situation so that you can find the right solution for you.