Well it’s the end of the tax year once again. And if you’ve ignored all those ominous warnings about all the things you were meant to do by 5 April, you have almost no time left to do anything about it now. And chances are that the significance of the deadline, as far as your own financial situation is concerned, has completely passed you by, even if you are an accountant. New research from stockbroker TD Waterhouse indicates that 60% of ISA investors never review their holdings.
So the likelihood of most people checking to see if they have taken full advantage of their annual ISA allowance (you can invest up to £7,000 per tax year in a shares ISA) would seem to be quite low.
A missed opportunity, perhaps, given that even the most conservative of investment experts say now is a good time to invest in a shares-based ISA, given the rather low price of shares these days combined with cautious expectations of some sort of recovery.
Your last chance to take advantage of your allowance for the tax year just about to end is tomorrow, so you should probably get on the case.
If you’re reading this after 5 April, then tough, you are too late.
New years are generally good times to turn over new leaves and start doing things as they should be done, and a new tax year is surely as good, for these purposes, as any other year.
To help, Accountancy Age, with the help of a few expert financial advisers, has compiled the handy table to help you keep your new tax year’s resolution.
After all, although personal financial planning does have its tedious side, paying a little attention now could reap financial dividends in the future, or at least save you from a grim old age of grinding poverty.
Robert Jackson, who is both an accountant and independent financial adviser with Baronworth Investment Services, says accountants are just as prone to regard the future, financially speaking, as something that never really comes.
‘Accountants are so busy dealing with other peoples’ tax returns that their own tend to take a back seat. Having flogged through umpteen self-assessment forms, they have just had enough,’ he says.
Joanne Crewe, a senior financial planning consultant at PKF, agrees. ‘It’s like cobbler’s children and their shoes,’ she says.
‘While I deal with lots of financial reviews for clients, my own tend to get lost in the mists of time.’
Crewe says that many people tend to leave having a look at their own investments until some sort of major change in their lives, such as when they are coming up to retirement, or if they need to pay school fees or finance their children through university.
‘There are some people who pay very great attention, but the majority of people go along with the status quo until forced to look at things by a change in their circumstances,’ she says.
The disadvantage of not undertaking a regular review of your own financial situation, according to Crewe, is that your investments could be underperforming or not suited to your circumstances.
Those who leave things to flounder along unchecked could find their neglect hits them where it hurts – in the pocket.
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