Plan Your Savings
First steps to saving
Your first step should be to clear most or all of your debts as quickly as you can. Then, you should find a way of budgeting to save a little each month. To get in the savings habit, aim to put aside a day’s pay every month.
Your next savings priority should be to set up a little pot of money for emergencies in an instant access savings account. You may find it helpful to set up a standing order to your savings account on payday. That way, the money will be transferred on a regular basis before you've had a chance to spend it and you probably won't even miss it.
At a glance
- Start saving by clearing your debts and setting up a standing order into a savings account
- If you want to access your savings at short notice, open an instant access savings account
- Save for the longer term with a fixed rate/term account
- Get tax-free interest with a cash ISA
Savings in the short term
Unexpected challenges are a part of life and savings can help support you through them. Ideally, you should have enough money set aside to cover you for at least three months, but exactly how much you save will depend on your own circumstances.
There are several different types of savings accounts. They differ depending on how much interest they pay and how long you will need to leave your money alone before you can claim that interest. But, if you think you might need to take your money out of the account at short notice and don't want to pay a fee or lose interest, then an instant access savings account is a good choice.
So, if you have some spare money at the end of the month, then you should think about starting to develop some short-term savings habits.
Develop short-term saving habits
- Set up a simple, instant access savings account. Move any spare money you have at the end of the month to this account.
- Set up a standing order for an amount you can afford straight after payday. Start small then build.
- If you receive a bonus or pay rise, it's a good idea to use some of this extra money to start a savings account or add to one you already have.
- Set up a budget on your spending.
- Be disciplined. Set a savings goal and stick to it.
Short-term savings accounts
A cash ISA is a good option as it is a tax- efficient way to save. This is a savings account that pays interest tax-free up to specific limits. The Government introduced ISAs to encourage us to save. You receive favourable tax treatment from the Government, so you don’t have to pay tax on the interest. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may change in the future.
Stocks and shares ISAs
To save tax efficiently, you can use your ISA allowance to invest in a stocks and shares ISA. Your annual ISA allowance currently enables you to invest up to a total of £20,000 in a stocks and shares ISA, or spread the full £20,000 across the four separate ISA types (stocks and shares ISA, lifetime ISA (up to the lifetime ISA limit), innovative finance ISA and cash ISA). Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may change in the future.
The value of your investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested.
You can often get extra interest if you are prepared to tie up your money for a set number of months with a 'term deposit' or savings bond. These types of savings products may offer a better interest rate but make sure you only put money in there that you won’t need in the short term.
Once you've got into the habit of saving for the everyday, it's time to start thinking about longer-term savings.
Planning for the long term
It's good to have some savings you can instantly access in case of emergencies. But, it’s also worth thinking about saving for the future and your retirement. Putting together a savings plan now will give you greater long-term security and help put your mind at rest.
Make a will
You’re never too young to make a will. If you die without a will, any possessions you own may be distributed according to the law rather than how you’d like. By sorting out your will early, you can also make sure that your loved ones don’t pay more inheritance tax than required.
Here are some tips to guide you as you start thinking about long-term plans:
Saving tax free
To make the most of your money, make sure you take advantage of your yearly tax-free savings allowance with an ISA.
You can help protect your family’s or dependants’ financial security by taking out life insurance. In the event of your death or if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you could get a lump sum of money. This would help ensure that any outstanding debts such as a mortgage would be covered.
Income in retirement
More and more of us are now living longer, so at some point you may want to consider your income in retirement. Speak to your employer to see if they provide a pension or are prepared to contribute on your behalf. Some will match any money you put in yourself.
Important legal information
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