QUICK GUIDE TO SAVINGS OPTIONS

Despite your differing circumstances, you may have money to save that can be put away for when you and the family need it. Here are the main savings products:

Banks and building societies savings accounts

The thing to remember with savings accounts is that you'll always get back at least the money you paid in - plus interest at the rate advertised. There are a wide range of accounts to choose from - the key differences being how quickly you can get at your money, the minimum amount required to keep the account open and the type and rate of interest rate paid.

Cash ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts)

You’ll find most banks and building societies also offer tax-free savings and investment accounts called ISAs. The cash ISA generally contains only cash, so there's no risk to your money.

For the tax year 2009-10, you can save up to £3,600 in a cash ISA if you're a UK resident aged 16 or over. From 6th October 2009, people aged 50 or over can save up to £5,100 in a cash ISA.

This new limit will apply to everyone from 6th April 2010.

National Savings and Investments

National Savings and Investments (NS&I) are savings and investment products backed by the government. As a result, any money you invest is totally secure. NS&I offers tax-free products (including premium bonds); products offering guaranteed returns; monthly income products; children's savings products - and more.

Credit Unions

Another option is Credit Unions. They are mutual financial organisations, which are owned and run by their members for their members who can save with them. Once you have established a record as a reliable saver, they will also lend you money but only what they know you can afford to repay. Members have a common bond, such as living in the same area, a common workplace, membership of a housing association or similar.

QUICK GUIDE TO INVESTMENT OPTIONS

You may be in a position where investing might be an attractive or sensible option. You may already have some investments which need reassessing in view of your changed situation. However, it is an area where good advice is vital. Here are the main investment products:

Shares

Basically, when you buy shares you buy a stake in a company. If the company does well, the value of the shares may rise and you may be able to sell them at a profit. You may also get a share of the profits through income payments called dividends. If the company doesn't do well, you may not get any dividends and the value of the shares could fall or, in some cases, cease to have any value at all.

Pooled or collective investments

Pooled or collective investments are where small contributions from lots of people make up a single investment fund. These include:

Authorised Unit Trusts - Open Ended Investment companies (OEICs) - Investment Trusts - Exchange Trade Funds - Unit linked life assurance – ISAs.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)

An ISA offers tax-free returns. It can be made up of cash, and/or longer-term investments such as stocks and shares or insurance. You don't pay tax on the interest or dividends (investment income) from an ISA, apart from the 10 per cent tax credit, which is deducted from dividend payments before you get them. You also don't pay Capital Gains Tax on gains (profits) from investments in an ISA.

There are limits to how much you can pay into an ISA each tax year.

Bonds

Bonds, in essence, are loans to a company, a local authority or the government. They pay a set amount of interest and are traded on the stock market, so their value can rise or fall.

Please speak to our Financial Advisors to help you make sense of your existing investments – or for advice on new ones.

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