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Investing for beginners – what to think about when choosing an investment account

Trying to choose an account for your investments? Tips to help compare investment accounts to find one to suit your goals.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

Choosing an account is one of three important steps to consider carefully when becoming an investor.

First, you’ll need to choose an investment platform. You need to do your own research and decide what’s right for you, your needs and attitude to risk. Before opening an account it’s important to check the charges and whether you’ll be making your own investment decisions.

Whichever investment platform you go for, there are likely to be a range of investment account options.

Remember, investments fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest. If you are at all unsure whether an investment is right for you, you should seek advice.

Should I save or invest?

What is an investment account?

If an investment platform acts like a shop, then your investment account is a bit like a basket.

Investments, like funds and shares, are the products you choose to purchase from the shop. They make up your portfolio.

The investment account, your basket, isn’t an investment in its own right. It’s where you hold any investments you purchase from the platform.

You can have more than one type of account, and each will have pros and cons depending on your goals. For example, some accounts have higher charges than others, or have tax-efficient benefits and you can only pay in a certain amount each year. Remember tax rules change and benefits depend on individual circumstances.

The HL Stocks and Shares ISA is one type of account which might be available. Watch this video to understand how this account works.

Read transcript

The words Stocks and Shares ISA are presented on screen as the video starts. The video is animated with various scenes providing illustrations and metaphors for the narration.

A Stocks and Shares ISA offers a simple and tax-efficient way to grow your money for the future.

It’s not an investment in its own right, it’s a type of account.

And it’s special because when you buy investments within an ISA you shelter them from UK tax.

This means that if your investments grow, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any future profits.

And if you’re investing for income, you won’t pay UK income tax either, which means you could save thousands of pounds in tax over the long term.

But remember tax rules change and benefits depend on individual circumstances.

You have the flexibility to take money out whenever you need to, but because of the excellent tax benefits, the government limits how much you can put into ISAs each tax year.

This is known as the ISA allowance, it changes from year to year, but for the current year you can pay in up to £20,000 and you have until the 5th of April to use this or you’ll lose it.

How you choose to use your ISA allowance is up to you.

You can invest it all in a Stocks and Shares ISA, or you can spread your allowance between any combination of the other ISAs available, including Cash, Innovative Finance and if eligible, Lifetime ISAs.

A Stocks and Shares ISA gives you the freedom to invest in a wide range of investments, including funds and UK and international shares and bonds.

You can also hold cash, so you can secure your valuable tax break now, and then chose the investments when you’re ready.

If you’re looking for a simple and tax-efficient way to save for the future, a Stocks and Shares ISA is an excellent option.

You can start investing with a lump sum of £100 or £25 per month.

Unlike cash, investments can fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you invest. Tax rules can change and the tax benefits of ISAs will depend on your circumstances. This video isn’t personal advice, if you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you, please contact us for advice.

Three of our most popular accounts

We offer a range of investment accounts.

Whether you're building a pension pot or saving for a house, we can help you find the one that suits your goals best. And if you choose to open more than one, you’ll be able to see everything with a single set of login details.

You can compare the features of three of our most popular accounts below. Or for more detail and choice, try our interactive account filter .

Overview

Tax benefits

Minimum to open

Maximum contributions

Eligibility

Stocks and Shares ISA

A simple way to invest up to £20,000 free from UK tax.

More on ISAs including charges

Tax benefits

  • Tax-free growth
  • Tax-free withdrawals
  • No UK tax on income

Minimum to open

£100
lump sum

or

£25
per month

Maximum contributions

£20,000
per year

Eligibility

  • UK resident
  • Aged 18+

Fund and Share Account

A low-cost, flexible dealing account that makes anytime trading quick and easy.

Find out more including charges

Tax benefits

  • Make use of your tax-free dividend allowance, capital gains tax allowance and personal savings allowance
  • Find out more about tax allowances.

Minimum to open

£1

or

£25
per month

Maximum contributions

Unlimited

Eligibility

  • UK and EEA residents
  • Individuals, companies, investment clubs, trusts and charities

Self-Invested Personal Pension

A flexible pension that gives you the control to choose your own investments.

Remember though, you’ll usually need to be at least 55 (rising to 57 from 2028) before you can access the money in your pension.

More on SIPPs including charges

Tax benefits

  • Up to 45% tax relief on contributions if under age 75 (up to 46% for Scottish tax payers)
  • Tax-free growth
  • No UK tax on investment income (i.e. dividends and interest payments)
  • Up to 25% can usually be withdrawn tax free, the rest is taxed as income

Minimum to open

£100
lump sum

or

£25
per month

Maximum contributions

As much as you earn, usually up to £40,000 per year (see rules)

Eligibility

  • UK resident

This is not personal advice. If you are unsure of a course of action for your circumstances, please seek advice.

If you want to learn more about investing before getting started, we've covered what you need to know.

Learn more about investing

What did you think of this article?

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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