Often How? ‘Or’ What you invest is as important as or you invest. Many investors know the importance of using their ISA allowance, but fewer think about using it early. If you’re serious about investing for the future, starting early can make a real difference to your wealth.
Tax efficiency can add up over time
Using their ISA allowance each year has become second nature to many investors, but it’s worth remembering why it matters. All investments held in an ISA are exempt from income tax and capital gains, which can make a tangible difference to your wealth. This means, for example, that if you hold a £20,000 investment paying 5% income in an ISA, as a 40% taxpayer, you will save around £400 over a year. It might not seem like a lot, but in the long run, that £400 can grow and earn its own dividends.
Over 25 years, this could add around £1,400 to your investment. And it’s only a year.
As the end of the fiscal year approaches, there will be the traditional rush to use the ISA allowance by April 5. In some ways, this makes perfect sense. ISAs operate on a use-or-lose basis. The generous £20,000 allocation does not carry over from year to year, so investors are naturally trying to ensure they use it before it expires.
However, there are good financial reasons for deciding to do so earlier in the new tax year. The first is a simple calculation: the earlier you invest, the longer you benefit from compound interest. If you invest early in the tax year, you could benefit from an additional 12 months of capital growth and dividend payments. This additional growth is then compounded over the life of your investment.
Investing at the beginning of the tax year can make a real difference
Analysis by Investors Chronicle looked at a portfolio of £20,000 invested annually in the MSCI World Index at the start of the tax year, at the end of the tax year and monthly – over the past 10 years. Investing at the start of the tax year leaves an investor with a pot of £356,353 after 10 years, while investing at the end leaves them with £329,316, a difference of £27,037. The monthly investment approach would leave the investor with £344,633, halfway between the two strategies.
If you received a bonus, for example, or have more cash savings than needed for emergencies and unexpected expenses, the start of the new tax year might be a good time to invest some or all of it. all of that money.
Regular investing can help manage risk
While starting early in the tax year can make a big difference to your wealth, it’s also worth making the case for regular investing. You may get the middle path as shown above, but you may also have avoided some hassle and effort. There is no great science to regular investing. It simply means setting aside an amount each month.
This helps manage some of the market risk associated with investing, the risk that you invest too much at the top of the market, just when stock prices are most expensive. It’s more common than you might think. Investors often get excited about specific areas at specific times – it’s part of our human instinct to follow the herd. This was most notable during the “Dotcom” boom, but the phenomenon has been seen throughout history.
Regular investing ensures that you are investing at a variety of price points. Sometimes you invest when the markets are lower and sometimes when they are higher, but this tends to even out over time, an effect known as pound cost averaging. This eliminates investment decision making. You don’t have to decide if it’s a good time or not and then act; it happens automatically. It can be a more relaxed approach to investing, beneficial to your wealth and your long-term well-being.
Pensions offer another route to regular long-term investments. They are also tax-efficient, with generous allowances, but come with restrictions. You cannot access your pension before the age of 55, which will increase to 57 in 2028.
It is always worth investing early. This year, decide to invest early in the tax year rather than leaving it to the last minute. You’ll make the most of the tax benefits available, which you might be grateful for in the long run.