What is a Lifetime ISA, And How Does it Work?
Launched in 2017, offering a saving bonus of 25% from the government, Lifetime ISAs offer highly attractive benefits for the right people. If you’re saving for your first home, or saving for retirement – you should be thinking about opening a Lifetime ISA.
What is a Lifetime ISA?
A Lifetime ISA is a tax-efficient savings account/scheme which is supported by the government. It has a very high interest rate, but also has stringent regulation on what the funds can be used for.
It was Launched in April 2017, offering a yearly 25% bonus added to the account from the government.
It has a lower cap on what you can put in the account than other ISAs – the limit for the tax year 2019/2020 is £4000.
If you put the total amount into the ISA, then you can expect a £1000 bonus added from the government.
They come in both Cash and Stocks and Shares ISA forms.
What can I use the funds for?
This account is designed to give young people a leg up on saving a deposit for their first home, whilst also squirreling money away for their retirement.
- You can use the money in the account to pay for a deposit on your first home, which given the large 25% bonus, is a huge help to those trying to save their pennies to get on the property ladder.
The value of the home which this can be used for has a maximum value - £450,000. So, if you are looking to use the Lifetime ISA fund to buy a house which is worth more than this, you will not be able to do so.
You can only use this account to fund your first home purchase, so if you already own a home you will not be eligible to use it for this purpose - but you can still have an account and use it to save for retirement.
- Once you turn 60, you are eligible to withdraw the funds to use freely to fund your retirement.
Can I open a Lifetime ISA?
In order to open a Lifetime ISA you need to be:
- Over the age of 18
- Under the age of 40
You can open a Lifetime ISA if you already own a property – but you can’t use the funds to buy a home if you already own a property.
You can’t make payments into the account after you turn 50.
Can I Withdraw My Savings?
In order to keep the 25% bonus and avoid any early withdrawal charges, you can only withdraw your funds at two points:
- When buying your first home
- When you turn 60, to fund retirement
If you withdraw your funds before this point you will loose the 25% bonus earned from the government scheme and you might face a 5% charge for early withdrawal.