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    Are you looking to save a deposit for your first-ever home? Well, the Lifetime Individual Savings Account (LISA) could be the perfect solution for you to get on the property ladder even sooner.

    Launched just a few years back on the 6th of April 2017, this tax-free account will surely reward you big-time for long-term investments. As well as enjoying high returns as interest, you’ll also get a chance to benefit from a government bonus of up to 25% per deposit – which translates to £1,000 extra each year!

    How to Get Started with Your LISA

    Do you want to save for your first home, or are you trying to look ahead to retirement? A Lifetime ISA (LISA) could be the secret to reaching those financial milestones. This guide will make it easy for you to walk through the first steps of setting up your LISA to enjoy the benefits of this tax-free savings tool and reach those financial goals.

    To Be Eligible for a Lifetime ISA

    If you want in on the benefits of a LISA, then here’s what you need:

    • Be between the ages of 18 and 39
    • Be a UK resident, serve in the armed forces overseas, or be their spouse/civil partner.

    lifetime isa

    Benefits of the Lifetime ISA Tax Free Savings Account

    The LISA has features to help bolster your savings for a first home purchase or retirement. Here’s what caught our eye:

    • Tax-Free Growth – No matter how much money you make from investments or interest on this account, taxes won’t touch it. That means your dough can grow more efficiently.
    • Government Bonus – For every £4 saved, they’ll throw £1 into the pot until you turn 50 (up to £1,000 per year). It might not seem like much now, but when that day comes… Whew! What a boost!
    • Versatility – Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner one day or saving for a retirement fund, the LISA has you covered.
    • Contribution Limit – You can save up to £4k yearly without affecting your broader ISA allowances. And since time is money, we like anything that helps us squeeze some extra cash.
    • Accessibility – It’s built to last as long as possible but gives withdrawal options that allow early access under specific conditions. Suppose you’re buying a house (or after turning 60).

    Remember to refer to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) authorised providers for detailed terms and conditions when signing up.

    What are the disadvantages of a Lifetime ISA?

    Choosing a LISA provides plenty of advantages, especially for first-time buyers aiming to get on the property ladder or those saving up to retire. But it’s also important to know what might hold you back from using this savings tool and see if it aligns with your strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Usage Limits – There are certain reasons why they’ll let you withdraw money; outside of those, you’ll face penalties. It might not be as flexible as you’d like.
    • Contribution Cap – If your saving ambitions are huge, then this £4k yearly limit isn’t going to cut it, especially if you’re just starting out or have a lot more money to put aside.
    • Penalties for Early Withdrawal – Taking out money before 60 that doesn’t qualify will result in a 25% fee, so don’t get caught.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to LISAs. Before making any decisions, you need to think about where you want to be long-term and how this account will help you reach those goals.

    How to Save into a Lifetime ISA

    If you open your Lifetime ISA before the age of 40, you can continue to pay into it until just before your 50th birthday. After that, your account will stay open, but you can’t put any more money in it.

    You can save up to £4,000 in an LISA each year (the total ISA limit for 2023/24 is £20k), and the state will add a 25% bonus on top of what’s already in there when you use it towards a first home or retirement at age 60+.

    The LISA comes with loads of rules, so be aware of them before you consider getting one.

    The Government Bonus added to your LISA

    Make the most of your Lifetime ISA with a 25% bonus on each amount you contribute! For example, if you pay the annual ISA allowance of £4,000 annually, then the government will provide an extra £1,000 tax-free lifetime ISA bonus as a reward to supplement your investment.

    You can set up a direct debit or transfer money monthly. You also earn interest on lifetime ISAs each year and do not pay tax on your initial savings or the bonus you receive.

    After receiving this cash incentive from the government, feel free to invest it however you please and benefit from interest or potential growth opportunities!

    You don’t even need to lift a finger—your Lifetime ISA manager will take care of claiming the bonus on your behalf. The monthly government bonus is automatically added to your account, regardless of whether you make any withdrawals! Moreover, should funds be withdrawn from the account prior to receiving the bonus, they’ll still be credited and paid out either directly into your Lifetime ISA or via other payment methods.

    Saving for a First Home with a LISA

    The Lifetime ISA is a no-brainer if you’re saving up a deposit to buy your first home. You can take out the money and bonus without being charged (as long as the property costs less than £450,000 and you’ve got a mortgage on it), but: – Your Lifetime ISA provider must pay it directly to your conveyancer or solicitor – And you must have had an account with them for at least 12 months before withdrawing this cash

    If you had a Help to Buy ISA, you could transfer such savings to your Lifetime ISA or keep saving in both accounts. Nevertheless, you can only use one bonus to purchase your first house. A Help to Buy ISA balance of up to £4,000 can be transferred into a Lifetime ISA account. During the 2017/18 tax year, provided that an entire balance from a Help to Buy Isa was transferred by 5 April 2017, it would not reduce the £4,000 limit on transferring into Lifetime Isas. However, It should be noted that this is no longer allowed in subsequent years as this exception only happened once during the Tax Year 2017/18. Currently, any money moved from a Help to Buy ISA will count towards the annual £4k LISA limit

    When applying for a joint mortgage, each first-time buyer can use their own LISA government bonus to buy together, but only one person needs to be on the title deed.

    You’ll never be able to use your Lifetime ISA unless you’re buying with another first-time buyer, and even then, you’ll need to pay a withdrawal charge.

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    lifetime isa providers

    Lifetime ISA Providers: Discover which banks offer lifetime isa

    There are several UK banks and building societies that provide LISAs. Below is a table of some of the Lifetime ISA providers in 2024:[elementor-templat

    Before you choose a lifetime Isa account, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and compare different providers. Be sure to consider the interest rates, fees, and additional features or advantages offered by each provider to make an informed decision that best suits your desires.

    lisa mortgage

    Getting a Mortgage with The Lifetime ISA

    Once you are ready to get a mortgage, your Lifetime ISA savings can be used towards your deposit when applying. The amount of the deposit will influence how much you can borrow and the interest rate assigned to you.

    Speak with a mortgage adviser to achieve the most desirable result. For example, they can estimate how much one can borrow and the potential rates of interest applicable. They may also give further guidance concerning which lenders accept Lifetime ISA savings as part of a deposit—this fosters ease in buying property in the future. Talking to a knowledgeable financial advisor provides peace of mind while deciding on one of life’s biggest investments!

    Get the best mortgage for your LISA
    Put the odds of a successful mortgage in your favour with the help of a qualified and experienced mortgage broker.

    Planning Your Purchase

    If you are planning to use your Lifetime ISA money and the bonus to buy a house, ensure that the purchase is concluded within 90 days of your conveyancing solicitor receiving the withdrawal amount from your Lifetime ISA administrator. This way, every requirement for an exchange deposit will be adequately catered for.

    If it takes longer than three months to finalize buying a new home, write to your conveyancer and ask if you can get more time from HMRC.

    You can use your Lifetime ISA funds to purchase a property, provided certain conditions are met. You may also apply these funds towards an exchange deposit.

    How do I transfer my Lifetime ISA (LISA) to my mortgage lender?

    Before withdrawing, you must wait at least 12 months after your Lifetime ISA’s opening date. Once you are eligible to withdraw your savings, you will need to:

    1. Instruct your conveyancer or solicitor to request the funds from your Lifetime ISA provider. The funds will be transferred directly to your conveyancer or solicitor, who will use them to complete the purchase of your first home.
    2. You must give your Lifetime ISA details to your provider with your conveyancer or solicitor’s details and confirmation that the funds will be used to purchase your first home.

    Remember that you cannot just withdraw the money in a Lifetime ISA and give it directly to your mortgage lender. Such withdrawals would attract a 25% withdrawal charge, thus considerably reducing how much cash could contribute towards buying your first residence—but it need not be withdrawn for this purpose. Instead, transfer the abovementioned amount directly to your lawyer or conveyancer so you do not incur any withdrawal fee.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    A Cash Lifetime ISA is an LISA in which individuals can save money in cash instead of investing it in stocks and shares.

    Some banks and building societies offer Cash lifetime ISAS, which means that individuals can earn interest on their savings while still getting a government bonus. Therefore, despite being a type of Lifetime ISA, unlike the others, there are differences in how the money is saved and invested. It should be noted that not all LISAs are cash LISAs; some may provide investment options that have more risk but potentially higher returns.

    A lifetime ISA can be particularly useful for first-time homebuyers or retirement savers because of the 25% bonus awarded by the UK government. The suitability differs according to savings objective, age, and risk tolerance. It is also possible to withdraw cash of the money saved, but there will be a charge for this equivalent to 25% of the cash withdrawn up to the age of 60.

    Exceeding £4,000 limit for LISAs denies you the ability to split current-year subscriptions across ISAs because you cannot transfer part of this year’s subscriptions, thus making saving strategies more complex.

    While LISAs are available from various banks, building societies, and investment managers, not every bank offers them, requiring shoppers to research LISA provider options.

    Banks may shy away from LISAs due to their complexity and the penalties for non-qualified withdrawals, considering these factors do not align with their product strategies.

    The LISA (Lifetime ISA) can be used to purchase one’s first house using a mortgage if the account has been open for at least twelve months, subject to specific usage conditions.

    Typically, it is aimed at homes up to £450k. Higher-priced properties enable access but also involve a 25% charge that negates both the bonus and some savings.

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    Steve Roberts (MAQ)
    Steve Roberts (MAQ)

    Stephen Roberts MAQ is the founder of YesCanDo Money, one of the UK's largest no-fee mortgage brokers. With more than 30 years of hands-on experience in the mortgage industry, Steve really knows the ins and outs of mortgages. He's become a trusted expert and authority in the field, thanks to his deep understanding of the mortgage landscape. Speak to Steve or a member of his knowledgeable team today by completing our contact form:

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