Making the most of your savings ahead of the new tax year

With the 5th April marking the end of the current tax year, it’s your last chance to open a Lifetime, Junior or Stocks and Shares ISA to take advantage of the 2019/2020 tax-free allowance.

Here, Foresters Friendly Society looks at which ISA could best suit your needs and allow you to make the most of your savings and investments ahead of the new tax year.

Raising a family?

  • A Junior ISA is one of the most tax-efficient ways to build a nest egg for your children’s future to help towards their first car, first home or university fees; for under 18s, once opened by a parent or guardian, family and friends can also help to pay in up to £4,368 in the 2019/2020 tax year, increasing to £9,000 in 2020/2021. With Foresters Friendly you can currently pay in as little as £10 per month or start with a lump sum of at least £500, plus you can make top ups from £50
  • A little known fact about the Junior ISA is that when a child reaches 16 they can hold both a cash ISA and a Junior ISA in the same year. This means that they can take advantage of the tax-free allowances on both accounts – totalling £24,369 in 2019/2020.

Want to buy your first home?

  • A Lifetime ISA is designed for people aged 18 – 39 looking to buy their first home up to the value of £450,000. The Lifetime ISA offers savers a 25% boost from the Government on all contributions they make. This means you would receive a £1,000 bonus each tax year if you save the maximum £4,000. With Foresters Friendly Society, you can start saving with a monthly deposit of £100 to open a Lifetime ISA. But, if you are an existing member or the child/grandchild of a member then you can pay in £50 per month instead. You can also open a Lifetime ISA with a lump sum of at least £500, and top ups of £250 can also be made. A Lifetime ISA is also an option for those saving for retirement.

Thinking about the future?

  • A Stocks and Shares ISA is a way to start investing for your future plans, whatever they may be. The Stocks and Shares ISA offered by Foresters Friendly has the potential for a greater return on your savings over the longer term than with a Cash ISA due to the different investment approach, although depending of the performance of the investment fund, you could get back less than you have paid in.
  • The Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to save up to £20,000 per tax year.  With Foresters Friendly Society regular payments start from just £50 per month, or you can open an ISA with a lump sum investment of at least £500.  Thereafter you can make top ups of at least £250 – giving you the flexibility to control how much and how often you save.

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society, comments: “With many different ISA products on the market it can be difficult to work out which one is best for you and where to start.

“There are ISAs suitable for all different ages and savings goals. Whether you have a specific goal in mind or just want to start investing, Foresters Friendly Society offers a range of products for you to choose from. You can use our product selector tool available on the homepage of our website along with individual product savings calculators to help you see which savings plan may best suit your needs and how much you could save.

Once you’ve opened your account, as long as you don’t exceed the annual tax-free allowance, you can pay into your ISA as regularly as you want.”

 For more information about the ISAs from Foresters Friendly Society:

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions, you, or your child, may get back less than you have paid in. Please note that tax rules may change in the future and depend on your individual circumstances. 

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

Tax-Free saving rewards from Foresters Friendly Society this ISA Season

With the end of the tax year upon us, as an added bonus for investors looking to make the most of their tax-free allowance, Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual financial services provider, is offering M&S Gift Cards worth up to £200 for those who apply online by midnight on Sunday 5th April 2020.

Foresters Friendly Society has a range of offers for consumers who open one of their popular Tax Exempt Savings Plan, Child Tax Exempt Savings Plan, Junior ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA or Investment Bond products by the end of the tax year.

The deals, which are available online via the Foresters website, or by postal application in the case of ISA transfers, offer an M&S Gift Card of up to £200, depending on the value of monthly contribution or lump sum investment made.

For example, savers taking out a Stocks and Shares ISA or Investment Bond with a lump sum investment of at least £5,000 are eligible to receive an M&S Gift Card worth £50, after a three-month investment period. The offer increases to £200 for those investing £20,000 or more.

Applicants will receive the Gift Card once the first 3 months’ contributions have been received or, in the case of lump sum investments, once the specified length of investment time has been reached. Transfers from existing ISA, Lifetime ISA and Junior ISA accounts are also accepted.

Sally Waterfield, Head of Marketing for Foresters Friendly Society commented: “There isn’t long left to take advantage of this tax year’s ISA allowance, but it takes just a few moments to open one of our savings plans, giving you tax-free savings plus an M&S Gift Card for you to enjoy too when you meet the terms of the offer.”

For full details including the terms and conditions of Foresters Friendly Society’s ISA season offers, please visit www.forestersfriendlysociety.co.uk.

Foresters Friendly Society sees positive 2019 with award wins and record premium income levels

Foresters Friendly Society saw a strong year in 2019 for their individual business.

Premium income increased by 35% and policy volumes increased by 18% (both from 2018), with the mutual society’s Stocks and Shares ISA and Investment Bond leading the way. Both plans invest in Foresters’ top performing With-Profits fund, which has delivered consistently competitive returns for clients.

Foresters’ With-Profits Fund was listed the top performing fund in the small and medium categories, with a 5 year return of 5.39% according to a survey from Barnett Waddingham. The survey found the average annualised fund performance over a 5 year period was only 4.48%.

The results cap of a year which saw a number of positive achievements for Foresters Friendly Society. In April 2019 the Society partnered with AXA Investment Managers, which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally. The partnership gave the Society a unique competitive advantage over similar providers by granting access to a variety of funds and asset classes improving the marketability of products to new and existing members.

Foresters Friendly Society was also named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.  

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented It’s safe to say we had a successful year in 2019 at Foresters Friendly Society. We exist to not only provide the benefits of being a member of our Society, such as access to discretionary grants and a sense of community, but to provide highly performing protection and savings products. The individual business results and award win speak to how hard we work to do this”.   

There’s no place like home: How to make the most of your savings when looking to buy your first home

With the Help to Buy ISA closing to new applicants at midnight on Saturday 30th November 2019, many may be feeling unsure as to how best to get onto the property ladder. However, Foresters Friendly Society has outlined the five ways in which the Lifetime ISA could be the perfect substitute to help you on your journey to home ownership.

When you invest £4,000 in a Lifetime ISA online by Sunday 5th April 2020, you get a £50 M&S Gift Card. Learn more here

  1. Everyday is Payday: With the Lifetime ISA, the government will give you a 25% bonus on the total amount you pay in, not including investment interest or investment growth that you earn. Put simply, this means that if you were to pay in the maximum amount of £4,000 per year, you’ll receive a tax-free bonus of £1,000 that year.
  2. Go Big or Go Home: Unlike the Help to Buy ISA, which can only be used on homes worth up to £250,000 outside of London and £450,000 in London, a Lifetime ISA can be used for homes worth up to £450,000 both in and outside of London. With house prices in the UK worth on average £234,853[1], a higher allowance will stand you in good stead when you come to buy your first home should house prices rise.
  3. 2 become 1: If you are planning to buy a home with your partner (who is also a first-time buyer), you can both open your own Lifetime ISA and each pay in up to £4,000 per tax year to receive the 25% government bonus. But remember, the £450,000 limit on the full cost of the home you are looking to buy doesn’t increase, even if there are two of you contributing with separate Lifetime ISAs. 
  4. A Family Affair: Buying a house is a big commitment, so if your family want to help you out to reach that savings goal quicker, it’s important to know how much they can gift tax free. Grandparents and parents can gift up to £3,000 each tax year in assets or cash, and while they can’t invest directly for you, you can move the money they gift into your Lifetime ISA.
  5. Little or Lots: With a Lifetime ISA you have the flexibility to contribute regular amounts of at least £100 per month (£50 per month if you take out a Lifetime ISA with Foresters and are an existing member or child/grandchild of a member) or through lump sum contributions of at least £500. Alternatively, you can use a combination of both, so long as your contributions don’t exceed £4,000 per tax year.

The Foresters Friendly Society Lifetime ISA can be set up by UK residents aged 18-39 and direct debits or lump sum investments must be paid from a UK bank account. To transfer a Lifetime ISA or Help to Buy ISA into our Lifetime ISA, simply download a Transfer Form and submit your application by post. We will then manage the process on your behalf.

This article is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions, you may get back less than you have paid in. Please note that tax rules may change in the future and depend on your individual circumstances. 


[1] http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/app/ukhpi

Foresters Friendly Society appoints new CEO

Foresters Friendly Society, the mutual financial services provider, has appointed Rachel Hardy as Chief Executive Officer.

Rachel has had a long association with Foresters Friendly Society stretching back to 2006 when she was part of the external audit team performing the Society’s annual financial audit. Rachel, impressed by the Society’s culture and member focus, joined as Head of Finance in January 2015. After a brief interlude back in consulting, she re-joined as Finance Director in September 2017 and was elected to the Board as an Executive Director in June 2018.

She has 20 years’ experience in commercial businesses and large accountancy practices enabling her to approach issues from both a strategic and regulatory perspective.

In her new position as Chief Executive Officer for Foresters Friendly Society, Hardy will continue the growth and strategic development of the Society following the delivery of a 35% increase in individual premium income in 2019, as well as heading up the management team and maintaining close working relationships with key stakeholders including the Society’s members, staff and intermediaries.

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am thrilled to assume this leadership position and welcome the opportunity to enhance Foresters Friendly Society’s position within the mutual financial services sector. My personal objective will be to continue and enhance our member-focused culture and maintain the Society’s healthy financial, administrative and community wellbeing at the same time as delivering on our strategic objectives.  This really is an exciting chapter for Foresters Friendly Society.”

Mental Health & Money: Why it’s time to talk about your finances

With poor mental health affecting one in four people every year, it’s clear there are a number of triggers that can cause stress or anxiety in our day-to-day lives. Money is known to be a significant cause of concern and can lead to feelings of stress or depression.

While having an open conversation about mental health is a must, Foresters Friendly Society has also shared three ways to take stock of your finances and reduce any worry or stress you may be feeling when it comes to money.

What am I spending my money on?

No one wants to be faced with all of their outgoings at once but this is an important first step to helping you have a clearer idea of your financial habits. Think about what your major outgoings are like the mortgage, heating, car insurance and your food bills and consider how much you can afford to put aside each month and what unexpected expenditure you might need to cover.

Look out for free activities

While money may be tight there are plenty of things to keep the whole family entertained on a budget. For example, across the country numerous museums, national heritage sites and art galleries are free for the public to enjoy. Fancy staying in? The colder months are a perfect excuse to teach yourself a new recipe or stick on a movie for your friends and family.

School yourself

Research by Foresters Friendly Society found 37% of parents wished they’d had a better understanding of how to save for short or long-term goals when they were at school. While we can’t turn back the clock, it’s important healthy saving and spending habits are passed onto younger family members.

Reinforcing the importance of saving for the future to younger friends and family will keep your own money management in check!

Rachel Hardy, Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented: “For many people the start of the year can feel a little deflating after the fun of the festive season, and Christmas bills and what can feel like long stretches between pay days can take a toll on our finances.

“Time to Talk Day is a great initiative run by mental health charity Time to Change that encourages people to open up communication channels with friends, loved ones or even professionals and tackle problems together. With poor financial health known to be a leading cause of stress and poor mental health, addressing bad habits now can have a significant impact on your whole outlook on life.”

[1] www.mind.org.uk – statistics and facts about mental health

[2] www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk – money on the mind: a nation feeling the cost

Foresters Friendly Society launch new website for savers

Foresters Friendly Society Transforms User Experience with New Interactive Website 

  • A range of savings calculators & educational content take centre stage on new, user-friendly site
  • Launch reinforces Foresters’ commitment to put customers at the heart of its proposition after scoring 96% customer satisfaction in its most recent survey of member experience

Foresters Friendly Society, a mutual society, is transforming members’ user experience with the launch of a new interactive website. Featuring a range of easy to use savings calculators plus a content hub packed with useful tips and articles, the site aims to support users as they navigate key stages in their savings journey. 

Among the tools featured on the new site is the Product Selector Tool, which helps users choose the savings plan best suited to their savings goals or ambition – be it saving towards a deposit for a first home or putting aside money to fund higher education costs.  Savings Calculators are also available, where visitors can project the potential return on their investment depending on the size and timing of the initial contribution.

Launching the new user-friendly site reinforces Foresters’ commitment to put its members at the heart of its proposition. The Society achieves consistently high customer satisfaction scores in independent surveys of member experience, and recorded a 96% overall satisfaction score in its most recent survey.

In addition, a large majority of members (81%) who made a claim with Foresters in 2018 also stressed just how much Foresters cares for its clients. This was another welcome endorsement for the mutual society which offers members an active say in how the organisation and its individual branches are run. 84% of members took out a plan with Foresters due to the fact it is a mutual society and therefore offers an alternative financial solution.

As the Society has no external shareholders, it uses the revenues generated for the benefit of the membership. This is done by distributing investment returns to members in the form of policyholder bonuses. In 2018, £2.2million was paid out in the form of final bonuses to Foresters’ policyholders and £1.1million in annual bonuses added to policyholders’ guaranteed benefits. The mutual also paid out over £1.1million to its members in the form of discretionary grants and charitable donations.

Foresters has also been recognised for the quality and performance of its offer in 2019. The mutual provider won ‘Best Small Insurer’, at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019 in recognition of its work delivering real value through its investment portfolios.

Foresters’ With-Profits Fund is also currently listed as the top performing fund in the small and medium categories with a 5 year return of 5.39% according to Barnett Waddingham. Their annual With-Profits survey found the average annualised fund performance over a five-year period was 4.48% – a highly positive performance for Foresters.  

Sally Waterfield, Head of Marketing for Foresters Friendly Society commented: We are thrilled to see our new website go live.  As a mutual society, we are always looking for ways to improve the service we offer current and prospective members and we hope our members enjoy using our new range of tools and calculators. Our 96% customer satisfaction result highlights that we are a mutual society our members can trust and rely on. While the most recent survey has revealed fantastic results across the board; there’s always room for improvement so we won’t be resting on our laurels and will continue to strengthen our proposition over the coming year further!” 

Foresters Friendly Society see 36% increase in premium income

As at the end of October 2019, Foresters Friendly Society has increased premium income on its savings and investment plans year-on-year, with a 44% increase in single premium investments and an 8% rise in annual premium investments compared with figures for the same period in 2018. The Society has also achieved an 18% overall increase in policy sales.

Investments into the Foresters with profits Investment Bond and Stocks & Shares ISA have increased significantly as have sales of its Post Office Insurance Society (POIS) unit linked plans. Earlier in the year, Foresters partnered with AXA Investment Managers which has allowed the addition of several new asset classes in the alternatives space. This has helped to give Foresters a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of its products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for existing members.

Foresters’ Order Insurance with profits Fund (OIF) was commended for performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period, ranking 5th best-performing fund overall in the Barnett Waddingham annual with profits fund survey. The Foresters fund was also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m.

Erik Vynckier, Interim Chief Executive of Foresters Friendly Society commented “Our results for 2019 show a continued year-on-year increase in uptake of our range of investment and savings plans – contributing to what has overall been an excellent year for us so far. One benefit of taking out a savings plan with Foresters or POIS is that membership of the Society comes at no additional cost, meaning that all our members can enjoy the benefits this brings, such as access to our discretionary grants and community events.”

Foresters Friendly Society’s with-profits fund performs well above average, despite tough year for markets

Foresters’ with-profits fund is listed the top performing fund in the small and medium categories with a 5 year return of 5.39 per cent. 

The sixth with-profits survey by Barnett Waddingham, the UK’s leading independent provider of actuarial, administration and consultancy services, found the average annualised fund performance over a five-year period was only 4.48 per cent.

The Barnett Waddingham research covered over £50bn of assets across 41 funds and 23 insurers for the period ending December 31, 2018.

Foresters’ Order Insurance Fund (OIF) is performing well above average throughout a five-year investment period and ranks 5th best-performing fund overall. The fund is also best in class in its medium-sized fund category – funds containing £50-£200m. 

Erik Vynckier, interim CEO of Foresters Friendly Society commented “it’s great to see Foresters’ with-profits fund stand up in what have been extremely difficult conditions this year for returns. At times like this when the market is down, our with-profits policyholders have been protected from the vagaries of a volatile market. An investment return of over 5% over 5 years is an incredibly positive performance, one which we hope to see continue”.

Foresters Friendly Society was named Best Small Insurer at the Insurance Investment Exchange Awards 2019. Foresters were recognised for their work in delivering real value through their investment portfolios and minimising volatility in an increasingly complex environment.  

In June 2019, Foresters began a partnership with AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) which manages €730 billion (£650 billion) globally. This partnership has allowed the addition of several new assets classes in the alternatives space.  This has helped to give us a unique competitive advantage over similar providers to improve the marketability of our products to new members as well as the returns that can be achieved for our existing members.

Surge in family members saving for children’s education

  • Nearly four in ten (39%) adults are saving money to help the children in their lives cover the cost of higher education
  • More than a third (31%) prioritise saving for their first car & driving lessons
  • 28% are saving to help with deposits on first homes

With Which? revealing more than 8 in 10 families are financially supporting their children while at university [1], Foresters Friendly Society has discovered just how far financial preparations are having to stretch to cover the soaring cost of higher education today.

Indeed, parents are increasingly leaning on the support of their wider family members to shoulder costs, with 39% of relatives helping the children in their lives reach university [2].

What’s more, with new figures from UCAS, the official university admissions body, reporting nearly four in ten (39.5%) of all 18-year olds in England have applied this year [3], up from 38.1% at the same point last year, many families are helping financially to make sure students can make the most of their experience and focus on their studies without significant debt or financial concerns.

And it’s not just education that families are helping with. Learning to drive costs £355 more today than it did 10 years ago [4], with almost a third of relatives (31%) having to fund first cars and lessons.

An additional 28% are saving to be able to help children with the deposit on their first home. In fact, it’s thought it will take most 18-to-24-year-olds a shocking 22 years to save just a 10% deposit to buy a home in Britain [5].

For relatives, saving early to help with major life events has become both a short term and long-term priority.

Erik Vynckier, interim Chief Executive for Foresters Friendly Society, commented: “With the cost of living continuing to rise, it’s clear financial preparation is being shared more readily among relatives, with more adults helping to ensure the children in their lives achieve major life events with minimal stress or difficulty.

If making substantial financial contributions isn’t possible, this approach can be boosted by taking advantage of the range of saving vehicles on offer, ensuring any money saved is working its hardest.

Saving small amounts on a regular basis can quickly become a healthy nest egg.

Opening a savings plan, such as a tax-free Junior ISA, when children are young is a great way to encourage children to engage with money and allow them to see how their savings pot can grow over time with the goal of supporting their future needs”.


[1] www.independent.co.uk – Parents take on second jobs and sacrifice holidays to cover children’s university costs, report suggests

[2] www.independent.co.uk – Parents take on second jobs and sacrifice holidays to cover children’s university costs, report suggests

[3] www.ucas.com – Almost four in ten young people in England apply to university – a new record

[4] www.express.co.uk – Learning to drive costs £355 more today than it did a decade ago

[5] www.telegraph.co.uk – Telegraph’s ultimate guide to buying first home

Methodology

2,000 UK adults were surveyed by Atomik research company, between April to May 2018.