If you’re a typical 18-34 year old chances are according to a recent feature in the FT, you’re more likely to be saving for a holiday than a house.
Perhaps your children are in their twenties. Do they fit the trend? A survey from Eventbrite in 2014 found that 78 per cent of ‘millennials’ would prefer to spend their money on an experience, adventuring abroad for example, over something they could own.
Spending to do more rather than own endless amounts of stuff is a healthy trend. But at the same time there’s a huge opportunity for Britain’s young people to be smarter with their finances.
The gig economy and opportunities for micro-entrepreneurship like Airbnb and Etsy have given young Brits new and more flexible ways of earning money. Increasingly financial innovations, from online investment platforms to the bank built for your smartphone, are giving us the tools to save and invest.
Against this backdrop striking a balance between having enough money for the here and now and for later on in our lives seems a little less elusive. So after the Budget 2016, what do these prospects for managing our money and our freedom look like?
Things are looking up
Freelance tax reduction
If you’re self-employed, you won’t have to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions anymore, which is currently £2.80 per week if you make a profit of £5,965 or more a year. From April 2018, self-employed people will only have to pay Class 4 NICs, which applies if you make profits of more than £8,060 a year.
Less tax for small business owners
The Government is cutting corporation tax to 17% by April 2020. It is also hiking the threshold of business rates to £15,000. Osborne said: “From April next year, 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all. That is an annual saving of nearly £6,000 a year.”
Good news for Airbnb hosts & micro-entrepreneurs
There is also good news for those making small amounts of money out of renting rooms or offering services online. Osborne said individuals who sell services or rent their properties online will not have to pay any taxes or fill in any forms for the first £1,000 of the income made from those services.
The digital tax relief could include those making money from selling items online on sites such as eBay, but it is unclear whether it will apply to other ‘sharing economy’ companies, such as Uber.
Hooray for ISAs!
Firstly, the ISA limit is going up to £20k, which means you can save more tax free. And there’s more. . .
Osborne also announced a Lifetime ISA – a tax free savings account for under 40s that pays out a 25% bonus when you buy your first home or when you retire.
You can save up to £4,000 a year, and get up to £1,000 top up from the Government.
If you’ve never bought a house before, you can use the money you save in your Lifetime ISA (plus the government’s generous bonus) to put towards a deposit. Alternatively you can keep saving under the age of 60, after which you can take out money tax free to help fund your retirement.
You only get the 25% bonus if you keep the money in until you’re 60+ and you have to pay 5% charge to exit early.
Lifetime ISAs are all part of the government’s strategy to get more people planning for retirement without formal, traditional pensions in place. It could be a great way to put money away you don’t need to touch for the next twenty to thirty years.
Tools to save for your pension and your travels
So there’s a Lifetime ISA for your pension. And for your travels, there’s the Innovative Finance ISA, which will make investors using marketplace lending platforms eligible for tax-free interest from April 2016.
All in all there are a growing number of ways for us to save, invest and manage our money. Whether we’re planning a world tour or saving for a house, these opportunities are something to be celebrated.