If you are aged between 18 – 39 the Lifetime ISA (LISA) can be used to help save for your first home, retirement or both with a yearly bonus contribution from the government
The LISA allows you to save up to £4,000 per year with the government then contributing a 25% bonus of up to £1,000 per year until the age of 50
After 12 months the LISA enables you to use the funds saved along with the accumulated government bonus to make a charge free withdrawal to purchase your first home with a value of up to £450,000 (if you choose to and are using a mortgage) and then continue your contributions to use for retirement
Other advantages of the LISA are that you are able to make lump sum deposits, receive the government bonus payment monthly, invest and earn interest on the bonus as soon as it has been paid, withdraw the money tax free after the age of 60, use it towards a home purchase after 12 months of opening and if you are buying a property with another first time buyer that also has a LISA, both parties are eligible to use the funds from both LISA’s to make the purchase
The LISA has similarities to the Help To Buy ISA, which was also a tool to help first time buyers to save for their first home with a 25% government bonus however, there are some differences which include only allowing savers to contribute £200.00 pcm via standing order, the government bonus being capped at £3,000, the ISA can only be used towards a purchase when £1,600 has been saved and for a property value of up to £250,000
The Help To Buy ISA was closed to new accounts as of November 2019 allowing only accounts opened before this date to continue use until 2029. However, if you have a Help To Buy ISA you are also able to open a LISA to use towards your first home and retirement but you are only able to use one of the two ISA methods towards a first time home purchase.
Saving for a first home and retirement can be difficult and it is always helpful to know what is available to you to enhance your current and future circumstances, more information on LISA’s can be found on the GOV.UK website.
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