Maximising investments for children and grandchildren

Did you know that, according to HM Revenue and Customs, more than 10,000 children already have pension plans in place?

If you consider that there were more than 900,000 Junior ISAs subscribed to in the 2017/18 tax year, then it’s clear that many parents and grandparents are planning for their child’s future using these investments.

Paying into your child or grandchild’s pension or ISA can be an excellent way of helping them to build up a lump sum – and there are tax benefits too. Keep reading to find out how you can maximise your child or grandchild’s savings through a pension or ISA.

Paying into pensions for young children

If your child or grandchild is under the age of 18 you can still contribute to a pension for them.

You can pay in up to £2,880 a year into the pension of an under 18-year-old, and as the government still applies a 20% tax relief (even though the child is unlikely to be working), £3,600 will be paid into the pension each year.

When the child reaches the age of 18 they can continue to make contributions to the fund.

One of the main advantages of paying into a child’s pension is that there is huge compound growth potential. As the money may be accumulating for 30/40 years or more, there is excellent scope for long-term growth.

Of course, this is also one of the disadvantages. As the child won’t be able to draw their pension until they reach retirement age (currently age 55 with a plan to raise this to age 57 in 2028) the money is committed for decades. The child could not, for example, use the cash to pay for higher education or to fund the deposit on their first home.

An added bonus of paying into a child’s pension is that you can potentially limit your future Inheritance Tax liability. Gifts to a child’s pension are often covered by one of the tax’s exemptions – for example, by the ‘gifts from surplus income’ exemption as long as you make these payments regularly and they don’t affect your own standard of living.

Paying into pensions for working age children

You don’t have to stop paying into a child or grandchild’s pension when they reach the age of 18.

A feature of the pensions system is that a contribution by a parent is treated as if it had been made by the recipient. So, paying into your working age child’s pension has three potential tax advantages:’

If you pay £400 into your child’s pension, they will receive basic rate tax relief on their contribution, meaning that £500 will be invested.

If your child is a higher rate taxpayer, they can claim higher rate relief on the contribution that you have made.

Your child/grandchild does this through the annual tax return process, and it increases the amount of tax relief the recipient of the contribution benefits from.

If your child or grandchild is affected by the high-income Child Benefit charge and earns between £50,000 and £60,000 (or slightly above) the money you contribute is deducted from their income before the high-income Child Benefit charge is calculated.

For example, if your child is earning £60,000 (and therefore faces a Child Benefit tax charge of 100% of their Child Benefit amount), your pension contribution of £8,000 (grossed up to £10,000 by tax relief) would reduce your child’s income to £50,000 for purposes of Child Benefit. It would have the effect of eliminating the tax charge.

Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London says: “Not every parent has spare cash to pay into their children’s pensions, but many will be in a better financial position than their children can expect to enjoy. By paying into their children’s pension they can give them a triple boost and improve their long-term financial security”.

Paying into your child’s ISA

Almost a million Junior ISAs were subscribed to in the 2017/18 tax year, with around 57% of the money saved in cash and 43% invested in stocks and shares accounts.

When you open a Junior ISA, you manage the account and hold it on behalf of the child until they turn 18. In the 2019/20 tax year, you can save up to £4,368 in a Junior ISA tax-free – equivalent to £364 a month, or just over £12 a day.

According to research from Which?, if you were to take out a medium-risk stocks and shares Junior ISA, contribute £364 a month for 18 years, and pay 0.75% a year in fees, the investment could be worth £111,000 by the time your child reaches 18. You would have contributed £78,624 over that time and receive £32,706 in investment growth.

Note that this growth is not guaranteed and the money you deposit is at risk. You may not get back as much money as you paid in.

In addition to the Junior ISA, if your child is aged 16 or 17 then you can also contribute to an adult ISA in their name. This means you could save/invest £24,368 in your 16 or 17-year-old child’s name, tax-free, before 6 April 2020.

Get in touch

Want to have a chat about investing for your child or grandchild’s future? Get in touch. Email or call (0161) 8080200.

Please note

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55. The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

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