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ISA allowance – How much can you put in an ISA?

Contrary to popular belief, investing can be hassle-free. Instead of being overwhelmed by the different strategies and perceived complexity of the financial markets, you can maximise your returns by setting up a simple direct debit to your well-chosen ISA. But, before you go ahead, you should ask yourself questions, such as, how much can you put into an ISA? What is the ISA limit for 2023/24? and how much can you invest in each type of ISA? This Moneyfarm article will help you answer these questions.

Do I need a large lump sum of money to start investing?Absolutely not! You can start even with a small amount
What do I need most?A long timeframe
What is the most important thing to rememberMake regular contributions to your investment
What is the annual ISA allowance for 2023/24£ 20,000

As society gets increasingly time-poor, managing your finances can be pushed to the bottom of your to-do list due to the misconception that you need a large lump sum to start investing and time to gain the expertise to perfectly time your movements in the market.

Instead, regular investing can be an easy way to grow your money more efficiently, especially if you’re making the most of your ISA allowance.

Before the tax year ends, which, regardless of the year, is the 5th of April, now is the time to get your finances in order and consider how much can you put in an ISA, in particular, a stocks and shares ISA. You can get yourself paired with an investment portfolio that’s built around your goals, with access to a dedicated consultant to help you make the big decisions.

How much can you put in an ISA?

How much you should invest in your ISA each year depends on the individual and their circumstances. Every year, you are allowed a maximum ISA annual allowance that you can save within your tax-free wrapper during the tax year period (April to April). The ISA allowance for 2023/24 tax year is set at a maximum of £20,000, which can be split across the various types of ISAs, such as cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs, provided the combined total does not exceed the ISA limit.

Now that you know the answer to “How much can you put in an ISA” please note that any unused allowance does not roll over to the following tax year, meaning that the balance of the allowance for the year in question is lost forever if the maximum amount is not utilised. For anyone with the means who is looking to save as much as possible for their future, it is important to be aware of the annual ISA allowance deadline date (the 5th of April 2024 for the current tax year) to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ISA portfolio, now, and in the future.

Putting in more funds earlier in your investments’ life cycle sets you up for more significant potential gains down the line as these funds begin to work for you. To fully utilise your tax-free annual ISA allowance for the 2023/2024 tax year, you should ensure that you make all contributions before the 5th of April 2024 deadline.

The benefits of regular investing

Regular investment plans can take a lot of the hassle out of investing. You don’t need to decide when to invest, and you don’t need to time the market. All you need to decide is how much you want to invest.

Regular investing is simple, and it can have financial benefits over time. By averaging out the price of an asset, you can lower the total amount you pay for it during periods of volatility. We will explain it in more detail later.

There’s another simple way to grow your money is by maximising your ISA allowance every year. How much you can invest in total is £20,000 each year, spread across all your ISAs, and any growth in your money’s value and income will build up tax-free.

Because of their tax benefits and tax efficiency, ISAs are also referred to as “tax wrappers.” While alive, if you keep within the ISA limit for the 2023-2024 tax year (£20,000, the same as the ISA limit for the 2022-2023 tax year), you can keep all of your profit without handing over more to the taxman than you need.

Regular investment plans for your ISA

If you’re looking to secure your financial future for the long term, and you’re asking yourself, “How much can you put into an ISA a month?” we’ve developed three regular investment plans that are popular with investors looking to make the most of their annual ISA allowance. However, the annual ISA allowance could change in the future, and the government could increase or decrease it in line with policies that impact savers. That makes starting sooner rather than later all the more important.

Below, we’ve outlined what you could have by investing in one of these regular investment plans for 30 years. This is a long-term investment, but the benefits are clear to see.

We’ve assumed you will have invested in a balanced, diversified portfolio with 60% exposure to equities and 40% exposure to bonds.

If you’d started investing in this 60/40 model portfolio in 1990 and continued to today, your money would have grown by an annualised 7.49%. We’ve assumed this growth rate for our regular savings plans below, along with a more conservative 5% growth estimate.

Investing £400 a month

  • How much you’ll have with 7.49% annualised growth: £422,000
  • How much you’ll have with 5% annualised growth: £272,000

By earmarking £400 to your ISA each month, you can grow your ISA to be worth around £422,000 tax-free. This could be used to help your grandchildren get on the property ladder, fund your dream sabbatical, or provide extra income throughout retirement.

You must understand precisely how much you’re paying in fees before investing, as unnecessarily expensive charges can affect your return. In the calculations below, we factor in the impact of a 1% fee on your return, paid every quarter.

Moneyfarm’s fee structure is such that the more you invest with us, the less of a percentage you’ll pay in fees.

Investing £800 a month

  • How much you’ll have with 7.49% annualised growth: £843,000
  • How much you’ll have with 5% annualised growth: £545,000

To invest half of your ISA allowance each year, our £800 a month regular savings plan will do the trick.

ISAs are flexible, which gives you control over when you want to withdraw from your ISA in case of an emergency. Yet time has the power to influence your returns significantly. The longer you can invest, the more you can expect your investments to grow – although the value of your money can also fall.

By investing £800 a month for 30 years, you could have nearly £850,000, which will help secure your family’s financial future.

Investing £1,600 a month

  • How much you’ll have with 7.49% annualised growth: £1.7 million
  • How much you’ll have with 5% annualised growth: £1.1 million

To make the most of your full £20,000 ISA allowance, you should invest £1,600 a month. This amount will take your annual deposit to £19,200, leaving you with an extra £800 of your allowance to play with.

You can keep this in a cash ISA to increase your cash savings. It’s important that you keep at least three months of outgoings in an easily accessible savings account. This £800 won’t be enough on its own, but at least you can keep any return you get on your savings account protected from tax.

This could be a valuable addition to your pension income, as there are tax charges if you contribute over your standard lifetime allowance, which is currently £1,073,100.

Tax benefits of an ISA

ISAs are a simple way to grow your money in a tax-efficient manner. You can invest up to £20,000 in your ISA each year, whether it’s a cash ISA, an innovative finance ISA, or a stocks and shares ISA, and you can watch your money grow within your tax-free wrapper, including any income you build up. No matter how much you accumulate, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to pay capital gains tax or income tax when you make withdrawals.

Investing like this can make a real difference over the long term and can be a powerful tool to help you reach your long-term financial goals.

What type of ISA should I get?

While exploring various investment opportunities, the question ‘How much can you put in an ISA?’ often arises, as understanding this limit can significantly impact your savings strategy. There are a number of different ISA investment options available to help you protect your money, but the two main ones are cash ISAs and stocks and shares ISAs. Both play an essential part in financial planning depending on your financial circumstances, goals and attitude towards risk.

Cash ISAs are great for savers with a short time horizon and those who want to take a limited risk with their money. Fixed-rate cash ISAs offer slightly better interest rates, but you cannot access your cash as quickly. You can invest your entire cash ISA limit of £20,000 per annum, but if you want to grow your money for the future, you might want to consider offsetting the impact of inflation on your savings with a stocks and shares ISA.

Stocks and shares ISAs allow you to invest in the financial markets, protecting growth in the value of your investments and any income from the taxman.

Each type of ISA has its own allowance limit. Regardless of the ISA tax year limit for 2023/24, choose the ISA that best fits your financial needs and circumstances.

If you’re asking yourself, “How many ISAs can I have in the UK, the answer is that you can have as many as you like but bear in mind that the ISA allowance for the current 2023/24 tax year has to be shared across all types.

Keeping ahead of inflation

There will always be a certain amount of risk when you invest. Usually, the lower the risk, the less interest an investment account offers.

For instance, if you are risk averse, you might decide to open a Cash ISA. But the best interest rates offered on Cash ISAs are typically only around 5% for easy-access accounts, while on fixed-rate accounts, it tops out at around only 5.7%. However, with fixed-rate accounts, your money is locked away for a specific period.

With inflation in January 2024 running at 4.0%, according to the ONS, money in an easy-access savings account or Cash ISA will hardly grow. Yes, the rate of UK inflation is now falling, but the fact of the matter is that as inflation falls, so do interest rates.

A medium-risk Stocks and Shares ISA offers significantly higher interest rates. According to the Nuts About Money website, over the last 5 years, medium-risk ISAs have shown a return of around 9.4%, while high-risk ISAs have shown a return of 18.2%.

Of course, risk of any sort means that the value of investments can drop as well as rise. But if you decide to take the medium-risk approach, the growth of your investment can significantly outstrip inflation, especially if you make the most of your ISA allowance.

The ISA allowance

The ISA allowance for the current tax year is £20,000. You can put all into one ISA or split your allowance between a stocks and shares ISA, cash ISA, Lifetime ISA (LISA), and Innovative Finance ISA.

As the ISA allowance is for individuals, if you have a partner or spouse, you can invest up to £40,000 yearly as a pair to benefit from the generous tax incentives. However, remember that you can only have ISAs in your own name—not in joint names.

If you’re asking yourself, “How much can I put into an ISA?” you don’t have to use all of your £20,000 ISA allowance, just what you’re comfortable with. However, you need to be aware that you cannot roll all or part of your UK ISA allowance to the next tax year. Anything remaining after the 5th of April simply disappears. But, on the bright side, you get a new £20,000 maximum ISA allowance the next day.

If the amount you contributed exceeded your annual tax-free ISA allowance, don’t be tempted to withdraw the excess. Instead, contact HM Revenue & Customs by calling their ISA helpline number, 0300 200 3300, from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday.

Any investments made after the limit breach won’t be eligible for tax exemption. They’ll be handed back to you. If it’s a cash ISA, the process is straightforward but can be complicated with a stocks and shares ISA because any units or shares purchased with the excess money first have to be sold.

HMRC will ensure any interest earned on the money is taxed and that any tax relief already awarded on any income is repaid to them. If the ISA yearly allowance was breached some time ago, working out the gains for capital gains tax purposes could be a little more difficult.

Annual ISA allowance for each type of ISA.

If you’re considering different savings options, you may wonder, ‘How much can you put in an ISA?’ as it’s essential to planning your financial future. How much you can invest in your ISA depends on the type of ISA account. Stocks and shares, cash, and innovative finance ISAs have an annual ISA allowance of £20,000 per tax year. The Junior and Lifetime ISAs have different annual ISA allowances.

The ISA cap for a Junior ISA is £9,000 per tax year. This ISA allowance is for both junior cash ISAs and junior stocks and shares ISAs. As for the Lifetime ISA, it is capped at £4,000 per tax year.

The ISA allowance 2023/24 rule states that you can only put money into one of the types of ISAs in the same tax year. For example, you can’t invest in two cash ISAs or two stocks and shares ISAs in the same tax year. If you realise that you have invested in two stocks and shares ISA in a tax year, you should contact HMRC.

HMRC will inform your account manager to refund the payment. However, you may have to pay taxes on income and interests that fall outside of your allowances. You can also withdraw the money, but ensure each action (paperwork) is well documented when HMRC comes calling.

Four tips to maximise your investments

Once you’ve set up your ISA, observe the UK ISA limit and follow these four simple tips to make your money go further and help you reach your financial goals.

Long-term

Time is your friend when it comes to investing for the future. Not only does it allow you to ride out short-term fluctuations in favour of long-term growth, but it also allows you to take on more risk with your money. The more risk you take, the more your money can grow – although your investments also have further to fall. When investing for your retirement, for example, time is a crucial factor.

Impact of fees

Remember that fees eat into your returns. Fees are a fact of life, but it’s important that you understand precisely what you’re paying for before you choose a provider. Expensive fees don’t always generate the returns they promise and make it harder for investors to make a profit. At Moneyfarm, you can enjoy low fees. We’ll never charge you over 1.04% all-in, allowing you to keep more of your money and make it go further.

Diversification

There’s always a risk to investing; even keeping it in cash exposes you to the impact of inflation. Instead, you can manage the risk in your portfolio through diversification. You hope to offset any losses with gains made elsewhere in your portfolio by spreading your money across different investments, asset classes, and geographies.

Diversification can be expensive to get right, which is why exchange-traded funds are becoming increasingly popular, with investors wanting low-cost diversification.

Pound cost averaging

Another way to maximise your returns is to adopt a regular investing habit. If you have the means, you can invest up to the individual savings account limit of 2023/24. When you invest, you want to buy an asset at a low price and sell it at a high price. But, unfortunately, it’s very difficult to time the market – even the professionals struggle – and this can weigh on your returns.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to make your money go further. If you invest regularly, the total invested will increase, and the action exerted by compound interest can significantly increase the value of your investment. However, you do need to be aware that the value of your investments can fall as well as rise, which is why investing long-term is advised.

If you are managing your own investment portfolios, investing regularly can smooth out the price you pay for an asset over time. It’s called post-cost averaging. It means you purchase fewer units when the prices are high and more when the prices fall. In the long term, not only does this strategy create a disciplined investment approach, but it also helps even out volatile periods and potentially improve your returns. This approach does, however, require in-depth, professional knowledge of stock market trading.

FAQ

Can I put 20k into an ISA each year?

You can put 20k into an ISA each tax year because the annual ISA allowance for 2023/24 is £20,000.

What happens if I put more than 20000 in my ISA?

If you invest more than £20,000 in your ISA in a tax year, the excess amount will not be eligible for tax relief. However, you can contact HMRC, or they will contact you at the end of the year to reclaim the money and charge taxes owed on the money.

How much can you have in an ISA in total?

You can save up to £20,000 per tax year or £29,000 if £9,000 goes into a Junior ISA. The £20,000 balance can be invested in one type of ISA account or split across the four different types of ISA. However, the total amount you can have in your ISA account can be more than £20,000.

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*Capital at risk. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.