Confusion reigns regarding increased ISA allowances for over 50s

Confusion reigns regarding increased ISA allowances for over 50s

A study launched by Saga has revealed that just 5% of over 50s know what the new ISA limits being introduced on 6 October 2009 will be, demonstrating that the government and the savings and investment industry need to do more to advise people of the increase.

ISA limits are being increased to £10,200 for the over 50s, but worryingly the research conducted by the Saga Populus Panel, the largest research panel of over 50s in the UK, shows that over half (54%) have no idea what the new limits will be. A further two fifths (41%) know the limit is increasing, but did not know by how much, meaning many may not take full advantage of the increase when it is introduced, and as a result miss out on the tax free benefits available. On a more positive note, the research did highlight that two fifths (39%) are keen to top up their ISAs following the change.

To coincide with the increase in ISA limits, Saga Personal Finance said it was introducing new initiatives to help savers and investors make the most of this allowance:

  • Saga is launching a new two year fixed rate Cash ISA on 6 October, paying an attractive rate of 3.85% tax free / AER for balances equal to or over £30,000 and 3.50% tax free / AER for balances below £30,000. This account can be applied for via telephone or online, is managed by post and has a minimum investment of £1. With the average 2 year Cash ISA paying just 3.13% tax free/AER**, Saga has unveiled this new ISA that will help older savers maximise the return on their savings.
  • From October 12 the Saga Share Dealing service is also removing administration fees from itís Stocks and Shares ISA, making it one of the very few brokers offering completely admin-free ISAs without a minimum account valuation. Therefore investors can be confident that all of their money is working hard for them and making the most of the higher returns offered by Stocks and Shares ISAs.
  • It is possible to transfer other ISA funds into the Saga 2 Year Fixed Rate ISA and the Saga Stocks and Shares ISA, providing people with the perfect opportunity to make the most of their tax free allowance, particularly if their current provider is not offering the additional top ups.
  • Andrew Goodsell, chief executive, Saga Group, commented: ìISAs are a vital savings vehicle, but clearly more needs to be done to ensure people make the most of the benefits available. We urge the over 50s to take a closer look at their savings and investments and to research the ISAs available to them, especially when the limits are increased on 6 October 2009.”

    It appears that there is extensive confusion regarding current ISA limits, with less than two fifths (38%) knowing what the existing limits are, and women less aware of these than men (41% of men know vs 34% of women). People in their early 60s are significantly more clued-up on this than those in their early 50s (29% on 50-54s knew the limit vs 42% of those aged 60-64) highlighting perhaps that those nearer retirement take a keener interest in their savings. Only a third of people could correctly state what the limits are for both cash and shares within an ISA wrapper.

    People are not using ISAs to the full, as only a third (38%) of over 50s with ISAs use all of their allowance each year. Those living in Northern Ireland were shown to be the most savvy with their savings, with almost half (44%) using up their allowance, in comparison to just a third (33%) in the East Midlands.

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