Introducing the Lifetime ISA or LISA
There are now more ISAs to choose from than ever before, generating new options for savings and investment.
Following in the footsteps of the Finance and Help to Buy ISAs, the Lifetime ISA, or ‘LISA’ is a tax-efficient savings scheme, which is available from April 2017, creating even more choice when it comes to saving for retirement or getting on the property ladder.
Whilst it doesn’t act as a replacement for pensions, the Lifetime ISA offers extra tax relief for young savers, under the age of 40, to save cash or invest in stocks and shares, to use for a deposit for a house or as a pension.
Bearing all the typical benefits of an ISA, perhaps the biggest being its tax treatment – tax free investment growth as well as on withdrawals – with a LISA, the government tops up £1 for every £4 saved.
Savers can invest up to £4,000 per year, and the government will pay in an additional 25 per cent until the individual reaches 50 years old. This amount will form part of the annual ISA allowance (set at £20,000 from April next year).
Funds can be accessed at any point to purchase a first home, penalty free, (to the value of £450,000), after which monies will be inaccessible until the saver is 60 years old. Should funds be used before this time, the bonus will be lost and a charge of 5 per cent incurred.
Furthermore, as well as providing a more flexible way to save over the long-term, the Lifetime ISA is also set to become the go-to pension for the self-employed, who according to a recent survey, less than a third of the 4.6 million self-employed people in the UK don’t pay into a pension.
In order to qualify for a LISA, individuals must be aged 18 or over, and under the age of 40 when opening an account.
They can be opened in conjunction with a standard or Help to Buy ISA, and a LISA is also available if the saver already owns a property.