The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be read in the context of the date it was published. Views in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Scottish Friendly.

The New Year is a time we all make resolutions for positive change. Maybe you’re thinking of starting that diet, reading that book, or joining the gym. If you’re willing to put a little time and effort in, you’ll find the returns can be very rewarding. The same goes for decisions about your financial future. It’s never too early to consider what you want to do with your money – or what you want your money to do for you!

Planning ahead with your finances can be a difficult task. With mounting financial pressures and an uncertain economic climate, it’s often hard enough managing your money in the here and now. But deciding to plan ahead means you’ll hopefully be in a great position to not only enjoy the potential returns your savings and investments can bring, such as a lump sum towards a holiday or luxury item, but deal with any unexpected costs or financial burdens, such as medical care.

Long term investments are a popular way of achieving those future financial goals and, with a huge range of products on the market, are something everyone can do. There are a great variety of products designed to help you and your family invest in the future without spoiling your enjoyment of the present!

  • Tax  Exempt Savings Plans: you can invest your money in schemes and accounts, which generate returns protected from the taxman. These types of plans allow you to invest from £15 to £25 per month and avoid tax on the growth of your money. This allowance is in addition to the limit set on ISA investment plans. Be aware, tax payments may be due if you access your plan before 10 years.
  • ISAs: Stocks and shares ISAs are protected from income and capital gains tax, meaning the money you make goes directly to you. As with any stocks and shares account, the value of an investment can fall and rise and your original contribution is not guaranteed.
  • Child and Family Investment Plans: an investment doesn’t just have to be for you – and if you’re looking for investment opportunities to benefit the future of your children or your family, there are products such as the Junior ISA which once set up can be paid into by every member of your family to benefit a child.  When considering child investment plans, it’s important to consider investments as long term strategies and keep in mind they may fall in value.

However you choose to use your money in the New Year, be aware of the opportunities available to you. If you’re planning to invest, make sure you’ve considered your options and are happy you have chosen the right strategy. Making your money work doesn’t have to be difficult – and it’s something in which everyone in the family can be involved!

No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.