If you’re a student or you’ve just started work and want to start saving money, little and often is the key. You may not have lots to put away, but it’s good to get into the habit of setting aside a small amount every month. You’ll soon adjust to spending slightly less and you’ll gradually build up a safety net that gives you a financial buffer.

And once your financial safety net is in place, you can start saving more seriously for future goals, whether that’s a new car, deposit on a house or even early retirement. Being disciplined with your money from a young age means you’re less likely to overspend and get into debt. Debt is expensive, stressful and, if you let it run away with you, can have a negative impact on your credit rating, potentially causing problems in the future.

For tips on how to avoid getting into trouble with money see 5 common money mistakes when starting your first job

Save up to £4,000 a year in a LISA and the government will top it up with a cash bonus of up to £1,000 every year

Here, we look at the savings and investment options available to students and young adults who want to save for their future.

Savings accounts in a bank or building society

The minimum investment is usually £1 but varies by provider and type of account. Interest rates also vary but regular (monthly) savings plans will usually give you a higher rate of interest than one-off deposits. Interest is tax free if it falls within your annual Personal Savings Allowance of £1,000 for basic rate taxpayers or £500 for higher rate taxpayers. If you’re saving more, interest will be taxed at 20%, 40% and 45% depending on your tax bracket.

Lifetime ISAs (LISA)

This is primarily a savings product for first time buyers and anyone between the ages of 18 and 39 can open one. You can save up to £4,000 a year in a LISA and the government will top it up with a cash bonus of up to £1,000 every year. Your savings are free of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax, but if you withdraw the money before your 60th birthday and don’t use it to buy your first home, you may have to pay a 25% penalty.

You can also use a LISA to save for your retirement. Once again, you must be between 18 and 39 when you open the account. Similar to first-time buyers, you can save up to £4,000 per year and the government will top it up with an extra £1,000 until you 50th birthday. When you reach 60, you can withdraw the money tax free. However, speak to a financial planner before choosing a LISA for your retirement – for most people, using a pension to save for retirement is likely to be the better option.

The minimum investment is £1 for a Cash LISA, or £100 lump sum or £25 per month for an Investment LISA. The interest rates or potential growth varies depending on the product or fund(s) selected.

A stocks and shares ISA is available to all savers aged over 18 and are free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax

Cash ISAs

Cash ISAs are free from Income Tax and are set up as either Instant Access, Notice Access or Fixed Term accounts. You’ll generally receive a higher interest rate for the latter. Interest rates are likely to be better than a bank or building society, although at the moment they’re still relatively low, with a five-year fixed Cash ISA offering approximately 2.5%.

The minimum investment is £1 and you can save up to £20,000 per year (less any contributions to other ISAs). In addition, basic rate and higher rate taxpayers have a Personal Savings Allowance for interest of £1,000 or £500 respectively.

Stock and Shares ISAs

A stocks and shares ISA is available to all savers aged over 18 and are free from Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax. The minimum investment will depend on the terms of the provider but a typical monthly minimum investment would be £25. Rates of return vary depending on your attitude to risk and the funds selected. You should also consider your timescales for investing. A Stocks and Shares ISA is considered to be a medium to long term investment (to allow for the natural peaks and troughs of market volatility), so if you’re looking for something short term this may not be appropriate.

Ethical Investment Products

Ethical investments incorporate the saver’s ethical, social and environmental values into the process. This area is also often referred to as Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI). Typically, your money will be placed into funds that take a responsible approach to environmental, social and governance issues, and which avoid investing in areas such as armaments, human rights abuse and environmental damage. Your independent financial adviser will be able to explain your options when it comes to ethical investing.

As a Gen Z’er, your retirement will feel like a long way off, but the earlier you start saving into a pension the better

Premium Bonds (NS&I)

The minimum investment is £25, and the maximum value of Bonds that can be held is £50,000. You won’t earn any interest and the value of the Bond remains static for as long as it is held, but you will be entered into a monthly prize draw. The odds of winning are 24,500 to 1 per £1 Premium Bond, you won’t need to pay tax on your winnings and the Bonds are fully secured by the government.

Workplace Pensions

As a Gen Z’er, your retirement will feel like a long way off, but the earlier you start saving into a pension the better. Your employer is required to contribute to your pension, and the government will also boost the pension pot in the form of tax relief. If you’ve chosen to opt out of a workplace scheme, you have effectively taken a pay cut as you’re unable to receive the employer contributions elsewhere. So, our advice is to speak to your employer, and enrol as soon as you can.

As with any unsecure investment, the returns will be dependent on the invested funds and how well they’re doing, and remember, your investments can go down as well as up.

You may also be interested in reading Financial planning in your 20s

Financial planning from Amber River

When choosing how to invest beyond a simple savings account, we recommend you speak to an independent financial adviser. They’re in the best position to help assess how much you have to invest, how much risk you’re prepared and can afford to take with your money, and the type of funds and tax wrappers that are best for your situation and future goals.

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To speak to one of our team, arrange an appointment or find out more, call 0800 915 0000, or alternatively use our contact form here.