Who are the most savvy ISA investors?
More people are planning to use their ISA allowance this tax year, with savers aged 55 to 64 the most savvy at sheltering their savings and investments from the taxman.
Research by National Savings & Investments reveals that 18% of Brits intend to use some or all of their annual ISA allowance by the end of this tax year on 5 April. This is a slight increase from the 16% that said they would last year, and the 15% that said they would the year before.
However, fewer savers feel able to utilise their full £11,280 allowance – 24% say they will, compared to 28% in the 2011/12 tax year.
The NS&I research, which polled around 1,200 adults in February, shows a shifting demographic in ISA savers. Those in the 55-64 age group are the most likely to use some or all of their allowance, at 54%. Last year those in the 25-34 age range were the most efficient ISA savers, with 51% using some or all of their ISA shelter.
Despite the Bank of England's base rate remaining at 0.5% for a staggering four years, it seems savers have now got used to the record low rate and only 9% of them are put off by the meagre interest rates offered by cash ISAs.
This is in contrast to 30% of savers put off by low interest rates in 2009/10.
The research also suggests that the understanding of financial products among Brits is increasing. Three years ago, as many as 15% admitted to not knowing what an ISA was, however that figure had dropped to 8% last year and now stands at a mere 6%.
This feature was written for our sister website Money Observer
There are limits to how much you can invest in any tax year. For 2011/12, the limit is £10,680. Of that, the maximum you can invest in cash is £5,340 and the balance of £5,340 can be invested in shares (individual company shares or investment funds). If you don’t take the cash ISA allowance, you can invest up to £10,680 into a stocks and shares ISA.
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.
Also referred to as the bank rate or the minimum lending rate, the Bank of England base rate is the lowest rate the Bank uses to discount bills of exchange. This affects consumers as it is used by mainstream lenders and banks as the basis for calculating interest rates on mortgages, loans and savings.