Please be aware we are not currently able to offer any Lifetime ISAs from Nationwide.
Who are Nationwide?
Nationwide are the largest building society in the UK. They are not a bank, and so they aren’t owned by or run for shareholders. Instead, they are owned by their members.
With the company’s history dating back to 1848, Nationwide have an extensive history and reputation in the banking industry.
They offer a range of personal finance products including ISA accounts; however, they do not currently offer a Lifetime ISA product.
What is a Lifetime ISA?
Lifetime ISAs (LISAs) are investment accounts designed for people saving for their first home.
The government supports LISA investors by adding a 25% bonus to all contributions, meaning that for every £4 you put in, you get an extra £1 from HMRC.
However, funds can only be withdrawn from a Lifetime ISA under two conditions: to go towards a deposit for your first home, or at age 60 or over.
What are the pros and cons of a Lifetime ISA?
- You get 25% added to all your contributions
- Lifetime ISAs are completely tax-free (income and capital gains tax)
- You can invest in Cash LISAs that provide fixed or variable interest rates
- You can invest in Stocks and Shares LISAs that give you access to the entire stock market
- Unlike with Help to Buy ISAs, you get the 25% government bonus straight away meaning you can invest it for additional growth
- If you don’t spend your entire Lifetime ISA on your house deposit you can use it for retirement instead
- You don’t pay income tax when you withdraw from your LISA at retirement like you do with a pension
- You can only withdraw for a first house purchase or at age 60+
- You are charged 25% for withdrawals that don’t fit these requirements
- There are limitations as to what kind of property purchase LISAs are eligible for (see below)
- You can only add up to £4,000 in the current tax year
What kind of property can I buy with a Lifetime ISA?
Lifetime ISA funds can only be put towards a deposit if it’s your first house purchase, and there are a few other restrictions to keep in mind too:
- You cannot use a LISA if you are a cash buyer and not using a mortgage
- You are limited to a property purchase of £450,000 or less
- You cannot use a LISA for a buy to let property
- You must hold your LISA for at least 12 months before using for a deposit
How much will I be charged for withdrawing from a LISA against the rules?
You are charged 25% for any LISA withdrawals that don’t fit into the withdrawal rules.
At first glance, this seems fair given that you get the 25% bonus from HMRC anyway and the charge just cancels it out.
However, you will actually be charged more than your bonus and get back less than you originally invest, because the charge is applied against your gross withdrawal figure.
LISA Withdrawal Charge Example:
- You contribute up to the maximum LISA limit of £4,000 for two tax years in a row, meaning you put in £8,000.
- HMRC adds 25% to each of your contributions, meaning you get an additional £2,000 taking your total amount invested to £10,000 (excluding any investment fluctuations).
- You then withdraw your £10,000 as an unsolicited withdrawal, and you are charged 25%.
- 25% of £10,000 is £2,500, meaning you only get back £7,500 compared to the £8,000 you originally put in.
- To put this in perspective, the £500 difference represents a -6.25% loss on your Lifetime ISA portfolio (this percentage stays the same no matter how much you’ve put in, disregarding any investment growth).
This shows how important it is to be committed to a property purchase or withdrawing at age 60 if you don’t want to lose a chunk of your savings.
Can you transfer a normal ISA into a Lifetime ISA and get the bonus?
Yes, you can transfer your existing ISAs into a Lifetime ISA and get the 25% government bonus added.
How to transfer your ISA into a Lifetime ISA:
- Download a Lifetime ISA transfer form from your LISA provider’s website, or request one in the post
- Complete the form and return it to your LISA provider
- Your LISA provider will complete your transfer within approximately 6 weeks
- When your transfer completes, you automatically get the 25% bonus added to your account
How do I open a Lifetime ISA?
You can open a Lifetime ISA online via your provider’s website in a matter of minutes.
You’ll need your National Insurance Number to hand, and either your debit card or bank details to make a contribution.