The Isa is 20 years old: is it time for a birthday shake-up?

When the then chancellor Gordon Brown introduced Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) as an enhanced, more generous version of tax-free Personal Equity Plans 20 years ago in 1999, his aim was a pretty simple one: he wanted to get ordinary people more engaged with their finances, and in particular promote the idea that stockmarket investment was the best way to build a more prosperous long-term future.

This small tweak would make Isas less complex

Recent years have seen growing calls to simplify the Isa market. New research from Octopus Investments* shows why this idea merits serious consideration.

Despite the undeniable success of Isas over the past 20 years, there is strong evidence that people find the Isa market confusing. As a result, many are not using Isas to their full potential.

Cash is king this Isa season as savers pull money out of the stockmarket

Cash is king this Isa season, with a record amount of money deposited into cash Isas in January, figures from the Bank of England show.

In contrast, sales of stocks and shares Isas have declined year-on-year. According to the Investment Association, in January investors withdrew £506 million from funds held in an Isa wrapper, whereas a year ago £275 million was invested.

Which is the best Isa for my age group?

Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) are a useful way to stash up to £20,000 each tax year in a wrapper the taxman can’t touch. They remain popular with savers, who poured a record £608 billion into adult Isas in 2017/18. But the focus is shifting. With interest rates on cash Isas pitifully low and the personal savings allowance exempting most people from paying tax on their savings, cash Isas’ popularity has waned, while inflows into stocks and shares Isas have hit new highs.

What to review before and after April 2019 tax deadline

The end of the tax year is in sight, so now is a great time to have a good look at your finances and make sure you are making the most of this year’s savings allowances and maximising your saving potential.

In light of this, below is a list of top saving allowances to utilise before the tax year end, as well as those to take advantage of in the new tax year.

The lang cat guide to Isa investing 2019 is the cat’s whiskers

We don’t normally flag up guides produced by other people – it’s our job to write this stuff, after all – but we decided to make an exception in this case.

The lang cat’s short, impartial guide to Isas must be the most jargon-lite and entertaining introduction to investing out there, so it’s a great starting point for anyone new to using their Isa allowance, or indeed new to the stockmarket generally. Cat lovers in particular may be seduced by the pictures.