Clear any outstanding debt

You are charged more interest on most credit cards and loans than the return you get from savings accounts or investments, so focus on clearing your debt first.

  1. 1.

    Start by listing all your outstanding debts

  2. 2.

    Work out which debt charges you the most

  3. 3.

    Pay off the debt with the highest interest charges first

Make sure you check if there are any restrictions on whether you can repay each debt early, as you could face early repayment charges.

Overpay on your mortgage

Using your savings to reduce the balance on your mortgage could save you hundreds or thousands of pounds in interest.

  • Check your mortgage documents or contact your mortgage provider to find out how much you could overpay without penalty.

  • Compare how much you interest you will pay on your mortgage till the end of its term to the amount you will be charged by making a large payment.

Some mortgages charge you for overpaying too much in a single year; this can be as much as 1% or 2% of your mortgage balance.

Use your ISA allowance

If you have not used your ISA allowance this tax year you could open a cash or stocks and shares ISA.

The main benefit of an ISA is that it is tax free and for the 2016/17 tax year, the annual ISA allowance is set at 15,240.

Build your retirement savings

Depending on your individual circumstances and existing retirement provisions you may want to consider using your money to invest in a pension.

Investing in a pension has a number of tax benefits, and depending on your income it could boost the value of your fund by up to 50%.

Choosing a savings accounts

Look for a savings account that offers the highest interest rate while giving you the access you need to your money.

If you want to lock your money away for a set period a fixed rate bond or notice savings account could offer a better return.

Choosing an investment

If you are happy to tie your money up for at least 5 years you could explore your investment options, however your money will likely be exposed to some risk.

Even if you choose a low risk investment you would need to be comfortable that your money could drop in value if your investments perform badly.

Stocks and shares ISA

Many investments let you use a tax free wrapper which turns your investment into a stocks and shares ISA's or investment ISA.

This means the investment become tax efficient, so make sure you check if your planned investment can be placed within an ISA wrapper.

Investment Trusts

They are a type of grouped investment where your money is pooled with other investors' cash to buy shares across a wide range of companies.

They let you spread your risk by investing across hundreds of different companies in a cost effective way.

Unit Trusts

This is an open ended investment and there is no limit to the number of people who can invest in each trust fund.

You invest in a unit trust by buying units, where determine how much money you make by the buy and sell price over the long term.

OEICs

This type of investment puts your money into a large fund with other investors but unlike Investment Trusts there is no limit to how many people can invest.

This OEIC fund is then used to purchase stocks and business shares with the aim of generating a profit.

Share dealing

This is another option that lets you set up your own portfolio of shares and deal in individual companies' stocks directly.

Although you have more control it can also be a much riskier investment compared to grouped investment methods so make sure you know what you are doing before you start.

Forex trading

Trading on the currency markets can be incredibly difficult as you need to predict how national currencies will fluctuate in value.

The main risk to your money is the sudden drop or collapse in value of your chosen currency, equally profit can be made if you choose a currency on the rise.

Asset investments

Investing in precious metals such as gold, platinum, or silver, or in antiques, art or fine wines are increasingly popular choices but again are high risk options.

The value of these types of investments can fluctuate quickly meaning you are at risk of seeing your assets soar and fall in value in a short time period.

Investing in property

There can be a number of advantages to this; such as the ability to rent a property out to earn an income or renovating properties and selling them on for a profit.

  • If you do not have the cash to buy outright then you are likely to need a buy to let mortgage, which will add extra costs to your property venture.

  • If you rent out the property you will take on the responsibilities and expenses of becoming a landlord which could end up costing you more than you think.

Speak to an IFA

If you are unsure which option is the best choice for your individual circumstances, you may want to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor.

An IFA will be able to look at your finances in detail and recommend a selection of different investment options that are well suited to your financial goals and circumstances.