Long-term savings for children - Retirement - Money Tips - Moneyfacts.co.uk

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Long-term savings for children

Long-term savings for children

Category: Retirement

Updated: 05/04/2016
First Published: 21/04/2011

We are looking for a long-term savings plan that will benefit our children. We already have a Child Trust Fund for both of them, but I have heard that we could start a pension for them, too?

Jennifer, Spalding.

Starting a pension for your child is a relatively economical way to get them ahead in life. By the time most people start saving into a pension, your child will have had two decades of contributions and investment growth on their pot! An alternative to traditional forms of children's savings, which often allow the money to be accessed by the child at the age of 18 or 21, a pension can't be accessed until the more "sensible" age of 55, which can provide some comfort that your hard-earned money won't end up going towards an ill-advised speedboat purchase!

Starting a pension for your child is a relatively economical way to get them ahead in life. By the time most people start saving into a pension, your child will already have had two decades of contributions and investment growth on their pot! An alternative to traditional forms of children's savings, which often allow the money to be accessed by the child at the age of 18 or 21, a pension can't be accessed until the more "sensible" age of 55, which can provide some comfort that your hard-earned money won't end up going towards a blow-out holiday in a notorious resort!

That said; if pension provision is a way that you'd like to help your child financially, here's a rundown of how a child's pension works, and some key things for you to bear in mind…

How does a children's pension work?

Children's stakeholder pensions work in much the same way as a stakeholder pension that an adult may take out, although there are some obvious differences between the two.

Normally, the stakeholder pension is started by the child's parent or legal guardian. After the pension is open, it'll allow parents, grandparents, family, godparents and even friends of the family to invest money into the pension.

Neither you, nor your child, will be able to access the pension until they reach the age of 55 – and that's under current rules.

The first £2,880 placed into your child's pension per tax year benefits from tax relief at 20% (even if you're a non-taxpayer!). So, if you contribute the full annual limit of £2,880, tax relief will swell your child's pension pot by £720, to £3,600. Or, to put it another way, for every £100 invested, the child actually gets £125 placed into their pension!

You can contribute further sums in addition to the £2,880 limit, but your child will not get any tax relief on this.

What else should I know?

  • Some stakeholder pensions will ask for a minimum monthly contribution, usually in the region of £16 to £30.
  • A pension is an investment product. This means that the value of your child's pension pot could go down as well as up, depending on the performance of what you're invested in. However, it's worth remembering that an investment is a long-term undertaking, and that in general, investments in the stock market (although having shorter-term fluctuations in value) tend to perform better over the longer term.
  • At the age of 18 your child's pension will switch to being managed by your child, meaning that they take responsibility for how their pension is invested, and all relevant post would be received by them and not you.
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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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