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Are you saving and investing wisely?

Research by National Savings and Investments (NS&I) has revealed the amount of money individuals are setting aside has reached its highest level for nine years. Britons are now saving an average of £104 a month – equivalent to eight per cent of their monthly income. The beginning of 2013 is the third quarter in a row that saving levels have increased, jumping £90 on the previous quarter.

Set a savings goal

According to NS&I, those aged 25 to 34 are saving the most; £125 a month – more than nine per cent of their monthly incomes. Despite the encouraging news, 20 per cent of Britons admit to saving nothing on a monthly basis.

Of those surveyed, 28 per cent had specific savings goals which led to them saving an extra £39 per month more than those who saved for no specific reason. The most common savings goals for the 25 to 34 group were saving for a home, a mortgage or home improvements.

A helping hand

Elsewhere, similar research revealed that many people are failing to make the most of their tax-free savings allowances. According to research from First Direct, a quarter of adults own stocks and shares but are failing to make use of their stocks and shares individual savings account (ISA) allowance.

Savers are able to invest a total of £11,520 into an ISA in the 2013/14 tax year, with any gains being free from income tax and capital gains tax. Of this amount, a maximum £5,760 can be invested in cash. The remaining sum can be placed in a stocks and shares ISA. Alternatively, the full £11,520 could be invested in stocks and shares.

First Direct found that only 14 per cent of survey respondents had used their available ISA allowance. Reasons included not knowing how ISAs worked, being put off by the application process and not knowing that a stocks and shares ISA even existed. One in ten said they had yet to use their cash ISA limit, ‘perhaps not realising that this wasn’t a prerequisite for holding a stocks and shares ISA,’ said First Direct.

We can help you make the most of ISAs and tax-free savings allowances. Please talk to us to find out more.