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If you have a family, or are planning one, it can be hard enough looking after your finances in the present, never mind thinking about the future. The good news is there are plenty of options open to anyone who wants to set up a family savings and investment plan – the real trick is finding a strategy that gets the most out of the money you put in.

A family savings or investment plan could deliver a level of peace of mind and may help deal with any expected and unexpected financial burdens which may occur. The cost of education is set to rise and if your children are thinking about university, having money in place to help pay fees can be very useful. Savings and investment plans are also useful for medical costs, travel, nest eggs for your child, or simply setting up a fund to help you enjoy retirement! You must remember that with any stockmarket related investments, your investments may fall as well as rise and your original investment is not guaranteed.

What are your options?

If you’re specifically thinking about setting up a savings or investment plan for your children, you may have heard of the Junior ISA which offers an opportunity to help save or invest money for your child’s future.

The ‘JISA’ replaces the Child Trust Fund, which was recently discontinued, (if your child has a CTF, you may still contribute money to it). Any child born after 3rd January, 2011, is eligible for a JISA, which works like the adult ISA: it is held on behalf of children under 18 and available as a ‘Cash’ savings account, or as a ‘Stocks and Shares’ investment account. Please remember that stock market investments provide potential growth but also involve risk, your investments may fall as well as rise and your original investment is not guaranteed. Money within a ‘JISA’ is exempt from income and capital gains tax (tax is deducted from UK share dividends). Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and tax law may change in the future. When your child reaches 18, they may withdraw the money or let the JISA ‘roll over’ into a full adult ISA. An annual limit of £3,600 per tax year is set on the maximum contribution which can be made to a JISA.

Many companies also offer specific family savings or investment accounts which bring different ways to put money away for the future. From deposit savings accounts, to long term investment plans, you’ll find a variety of products to choose from. Some of these plans involve tax protection in addition to any JISAs or ISAs held. Take the time to learn the details of different plans and accounts – the internet is a great tool for research and you’ll find plenty of organisations and comparison websites to mine for information. You may also want to consider speaking to a financial adviser to make sure you select the right strategy. If you are talking to a professional, there may be a charge for any advice given – an adviser should confirm any cost before meeting with you.

Potential future financial success…

Family saving and investments isn’t just about aiming to build future financial security. While it’s important to prepare for the future, getting your family and your children involved in the process of saving and investing is good financial practice and can be valuable in building your potential for future financial success.

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.