For many people, saving for the future can seem like a chore, but it really doesn’t have to be. Today, there are plenty of tools and incentives to help you improve your finances easily and prepare for the future.
Here are five things you can do today to help kickstart your savings in 2019.
Open a LISA
If you are under the age of 40, the best thing you can do for your finances is to open a lifetime ISA, or LISA for short.
Introduced a few years ago, LISAs have been designed to help you save by combining the tax effectiveness of an ISA, with the added bonus of a government top up. For every £1 you contribute, the government will add a 25% bonus. So, if you put away £1,000, the government will top this up to £1,250. You can then save or invest these funds however you see fit.
Invest for yield
The great thing about LISAs and standard ISAs is that any interest or dividends received are tax-free so you can invest in dividend-paying stocks and funds without having to worry about any additional tax obligations.
My favourite method of investing for income is buying index tracker funds. These funds track indexes such as the or FTSE All Share and cost almost nothing (most tracker funds today charge less than 0.1% per annum in management fees).
The FTSE 100 supports an average dividend yield of 4.7% and the FTSE All Share yields 4.1%. These funds can help you build a well-diversified income stream at the click of a button.
Another strategy you can use to boost your income in 2019 is to place some money in peer-to-peer investments.
Investing in peer-to-peer loans can give you a double-digit return on your savings, but the returns aren’t guaranteed, and you could end up losing some or all of your capital.
If you do want to use this approach, I highly recommend devoting just a small portion of your portfolio to these assets and diversify your peer-to-peer loan portfolio so one or two failures will not lead to disaster.
Search for savings
Another strategy you can use to boost your savings income is to look around for the best interest rates on the market today. Some banks offer regular (monthly) savings accounts with interest rates in the mid-single digits.
These can be helpful if you can save a certain amount every month and can lock your money away for 12 months.
If you can’t, then Goldman Sachs’ Marcus account offers the highest interest rate of any flexible savings account around today. An interest rate of 1.5% is on offer for new savers, although this includes a 0.15% introductory bonus rate. After a year the rate drops to a still-attractive 1.35%.
Points win prizes
My fifth and final tip is to make the most of credit card and savings account bonuses available today.
I use Santander’s 1|2|3 current account, which costs £5 a month but more than pays for itself with the cash bonuses I receive on household bills. Santander’s credit cards also offer cashback for shopping at certain retailers.
Although small in themselves, these amounts add up over the long term. If you want to make a little extra cash, it’s certainly worth investigating bonus offers, in my opinion.
Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.