Women to miss Cash ISA deadline

24 March 2008 / by Rachel Mason
More than 20 million women in the UK will not be making the most of their tax-free savings this year, according to the Co-operative Bank.

The bank's survey revealed that most women – 66 per cent – will not be investing into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) before April 5 2008, meaning they will be loosing out on their yearly tax free savings allowance.

Co-op has found that 20.3million women don’t even have an ISA, and of the third that do, only 32 per cent intend to invest ahead of the April 5 deadline; this is in stark contrast to men – almost half of whom (14.2million) have an ISA, and of those, 60 per cent say they will be taking full advantage of their tax free allowance.

The research revealed that 39 per cent of women don’t save at all in an average month, and 30 per cent only manage to put away £25, whereas, on average, men save £40 a month, with 25 per cent putting away at least £100 each month.

Although lack of savings now may not seem like a big problem, the Co-op is warning woman that in order to maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to when they reach old age, they need to be saving around 15 per cent of their salary each month; it is thought more than 12 million Brits are not saving enough for their retirement, and the majority of these are women.

Co-op also found that women are more likely than men to worry about financial issues, with 78 per cent admitting to being ‘concerned or extremely concerned’ about their lack of savings.

“For women, financial planning is absolutely essential and not a maybe," says Scott McPhail, Savings Product Manager at The Co-operative Bank.

"Women can often retire earlier, and live longer than men, but many are simply not making enough provision for their futures and are failing to take advantage of tax-free savings."

Mr McPhail says that making the most of Cash ISA allowances - which go up from £3,000 per year to £3,600 from April 6 - is one of the ways in which women can start saving for the future.

“Optimizing your tax efficient benefits’ may sound like a complicated process but by simply starting to save as little as a pound can help to ease the financial strain," he says.

And for people using their stocks and shares allowance, which is currently up to £7,000 in a Maxi ISA and £4,000 in a Mini Stocks and Shares ISA, but due to change to £7,200 on April 6 – a recent James Hay survey shows that IFAs are tipping Asian equities as a good bet for 2008.

Emerging markets are also seen as a good investment, and although Asian markets are seen as a better investment in the short term, experts are predicting that UK equities will perform, better over the medium to long term.

Perhaps unsurprisingly though, the James Hay research found IFAs in agreement that UK residential property is one area to avoid in 2008.

Find out more about the changes being made to tax free savings on April 6 2008 by reading our FREE Guide to ISA Changes

© Fair Investment Company Ltd