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Choosing a savings account can feel confusing because of the number of different accounts available. Shop around and do some research to find the best deals.
Personal finance sections in newspapers usually include tables showing the current best rates and there are money comparison websites offering similar information.
The interest rate is often linked to the length of time you save your money for. Some accounts allow you to take out your money whenever you want but for others you may have to give notice to withdraw your money without incurring a penalty‚ or not be able to make a withdrawal until the end of a fixed period.
All individuals can invest a certain amount of money in a cash Individual Savings Account (ISA) each year. Cash ISAs often offer a higher rate of interest than other savings accounts and the interest is paid free of Income Tax.
Interest on most savings accounts is paid with 20% Income Tax deducted. Non-tax payers can arrange for their interest to be paid without this deduction by completing a form that is available from your bank or building society. Even if you are a tax payer you may be able to reclaim part of the tax.
An independent financial adviser may be able to help identify how to arrange your savings and investments for the best return while restricting risk to a level you are comfortable with. Being called ‘independent’ does not necessarily mean that an adviser has access to all companies in the marketplace. Check what‚ if any‚ restrictions your adviser operates under and also how their fees are covered.
Any plan should take account of your particular circumstances. It is usually better to reduce any debts before concentrating on increasing savings.
Remember, you may need to use some of your savings at short notice so beware of tying up all your money in long-term investments. Always keep some money in a ‘rainy day’ account where you can withdraw it when you need it.
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