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It’s never too late to invest. In fact, your 40s are a golden time to start investing and planning for the financial future of yourself and your loved ones.

Your 40s are a time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour over the last few decades of work. It’s the time in your life that you are most likely to hit your stride professionally and personally; many people in their 40s reach their earning potential as well as decide to start families and get on the property ladder.

Even if all of that is far behind you, the responsibilities of childcare and mortgage payments, not to mention home renovations, running vehicles, and other outgoings are a huge drain on personal wealth and for the most part, completely unavoidable.

One of the best ways to protect your wealth for generations to come is by choosing to invest.

If you’re wondering:

  • Where are the best places to invest my money?
  • How do I invest?
  • What can a financial adviser do for me?

Read on to discover valuable tips for making the best decisions with your money. No matter where you are in your life, whether just starting to think about big goals or planning on early retirement, taking the first steps on your investment journey is an exciting time, potentially leading to life-changing wealth.


So, what are the best ways to invest?

In short, investing is a way of using money to make money. It’s best to think of investments in the long term. We have all heard about people getting rich overnight with stocks or crypto but in reality, these occurrences are rare. It is far more sensible to think about investment as a way of accumulating wealth over time rather than something that will get you huge returns immediately.

High risk hedge funds

The higher the risk, the higher the reward. Hedge funds offer huge earning potential but are usually quite high risk.

This is because hedge fund managers tend to be more aggressive in their investment strategy, targeting non-traditional, higher risk assets, such as foreign currencies and property.

In order to invest in a hedge fund, you must have an annual income in excess of £200,000 or a net worth of £1 million which excludes property. You also need to be an accredited investor.

You’ll need to decide on an investment strategy before you begin. If you are prepared to adopt a high-risk strategy, it’s best to seek further guidance from our expert advisers on hedge funds.

An Independent Savings Account (ISA) as a tax-efficient investment

You can invest up to £20,000 every year in an ISA. Types of ISA you can invest in are:

  • Cash ISA
  • Stocks and shares ISA
  • Innovative finance ISA
  • Lifetime ISA

You can have any combination of them at the same time. Another benefit of an ISA is that any capital gains generated from it are free of income and capital gains tax.

If you have children and want to provide for their financial future, you can invest on their behalf with a Junior ISA (JISA). These have a lower investment limit than their adult counterparts, with the maximum yearly investment currently at £9,000. What’s great about a JISA is that it automatically converts into an ISA when your child reaches 18 and they gain full control over the account from that point.

Something to bear in mind is that if your child has a trust fund, they won’t be eligible for a JISA. If you want your child to have a JISA, you can move the money from their trust fund to the JISA and then close the fund, but this is entirely up to you.

Family Investment Company (FIC)

An alternative to a family trust, an FIC is a great way to put a structure in place that will pass your assets to your family down the generations, ensuring their financial stability and keeping your wealth where it is needed most.

The main reason for a move away from family trusts is a change in taxation law that saw all transfers into trusts being subject to an inheritance tax charge of 20%. An FIC isn’t affected by this law change because it is a private company, created to hold investments for your family.

There are also some situations in which an FIC will be unsuitable for you; this is usually when property is involved, as there are specific laws involving the ownership of residential property by a corporate entity. There are also substantial maintenance and creation costs associated with setting up the FIC. If considering an FIC, it’s best to seek out professional financial advice from our Private Client team to explore all the ramifications and determine whether it is the right move for you.

The power of Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EISs)

Both of these options are a fantastic way to invest in innovative, small companies. Such investments carry with them high risk, but they also help to encourage economic growth. The government also offers tax relief, which compensates for the high-risk nature of the investment and incentivises those who are able to help small businesses through their formative years.

The tax incentives take the form of a 30% income tax relief on money invested and any gains are capital gains tax free. There is even relief offered on failures to help you deal with unsuccessful investments.

Due to the volatile nature of investing in smaller companies, you should expect a level of failure which is higher than investing in established companies. This is to be expected in an EIS and a VCT, so these are only recommended should you be prepared for a large loss and able to financially deal with that loss.

The other side of this is that any successes are usually very lucrative. You may have to play the long game and wait a while (possibly years) for any returns but when they do come, they have the potential to be substantial.

A VCT differs from an EIS by allowing you to invest in many more companies (50-90) than an EIS (around ten companies). Because a VCT spreads your investment over such a large amount of companies, it is lower risk than an EIS, but that doesn’t mean it is without risk.

There are differences between the two, in terms of their tax relief options, but both of them offer a fantastic opportunity to use wealth intelligently.

Stocks and shares

The classic and probably most well-known way to invest your money. Investing in stocks is all about mitigating risk, having a diversified portfolio helps to minimise your exposure to risk and spreading your investments across a wide range of assets will allow you to weather any losses if one sector is affected adversely.

Examples of asset classes include:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Property
  • Mutual funds

Becoming a shareholder in a company is a great way to make your money work for you. Often, shares pay you income in the form of dividends which you can choose to take as cash or reinvest, buying more shares in that company.

It’s all about balance, and the aim is to make sure that no one loss completely tanks your investment portfolio. Another option is a stocks and shares ISA, which has the added bonus of tax reliefs but at the cost of being limited to contributions of £20,000 per year.

Low-risk investments

Everything we have discussed so far has a high-risk attachment to it. So, what other options are there? Even low risk is still risk. There is no such thing as an investment with no risk attached. But there are a few strategies you can follow to lower the risk.

Diversification of your investment portfolio spreads the risk across many areas. This offers lower but more consistent returns.

Index funds offer a regular income by allowing you to invest in a sector as a whole. To see significant returns the buy-in may be high, but those returns are consistent, giving you a passive income month after month.

UK government bonds, or gilts, are seen as one of the safest types of bond to invest in. The return on investment is generally quite low but because it’s based on currency controlled by the government, the return is all but guaranteed.

Fixed and lifetime annuities are a great way to gain a guaranteed income for a predetermined amount of time. This is usually seen as a way to gain a regular income in retirement, using your pension to invest and receive regular payments with a lump sum at the end of the term.

These options aren’t going to be for everyone, but they are all worth considering, if only to realise the wealth of possibilities open to you.

Setting realistic financial goals and financial planning in your 40s

Investing your money is the aim, being intelligent about it is a whole other skill. There are things you can do to better prepare yourself for your investing journey and give yourself increased odds of achieving your financial goals.

Clearly identify goals – This folds neatly in with our next point but in order to invest effectively, it’s best not to go in with the aim of simply ‘making more money’. To make your money work for you, you should strategically invest only after carrying out in-depth research. In any sector, there will be many companies to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Figuring out the right ones for you to invest in will take time and patience.

And what are your aims once you gain the return on the investment? To overpay on your mortgage, save money for your children’s future, save for your own retirement? Identifying clear and defined goals will help you decide what type of investment you need to make and where.

Consider using a financial adviser – To make the job of choosing where to invest easier, work with a financial adviser. Our Private Client team make it their business to ensure your money goes to work in the most effective way possible. So, if you are a novice, just starting out in investing, employing the services of someone with professional experience will give you a huge advantage.

A financial adviser will be familiar with all the allowances and exemptions available to you when investing money into trusts or ISAs, for example. They can help you decide precisely where your money is most likely to generate the most income for you in the long run, and are capable of giving personal financial advice that fits in with your goals.

Clear or reduce debt – Clearing an unnecessary debt, anything tied to interest rate fluctuation, frees up income and relieves you of unneeded financial burdens. Reducing debt is a crucial part of your financial journey and your 40s are the perfect time to tackle them head-on.

It’s tough to think about investing with debts hanging over your head and the drain can be debilitating. There are several methods for dealing with a large number of different debts, ignoring them will only make things worse in the long run.

Assess your pension – A pension is a form of investment, a very tax efficient one at that. If you have a high income, consider paying more into your pension to gain as much as you can from this efficient use of your money. There are certain tax implications if you are a high-income earner to do with the amount you will be able to use tax-free from your pension.

Although a pension is usually exempt from inheritance tax, there are still laws in place for excess income, with some of your pension being taxable over a certain threshold (usually an annual income exceeding £200,000), so be wary if you have ‘adjusted income’ over £260,000 because annual allowances are reduced to account for the excess income.

Life insurance – No one wants to think about worst case scenarios, but it pays to be prepared for one. No matter your financial situation, taking out a life insurance policy will make sure that those closest to you, that possibly rely entirely on your income, will be taken care of in the event of death.

It’s a tough thing to face but the older we get, the more likely unfortunate health related events become. You may find yourself unable to work due to illness or injury, for example. If this becomes the case, having taken out policies that cover such eventualities will ensure peace of mind with the continuation of a stable income.


Personal finance is a journey, not a race, it takes time and patience. Being an effective investor means making your money work for you and mitigating the risk as much as possible.

Building generational wealth is not only possible, with intelligent investments it can become almost a certainty. Contact our Private Client team for advice on how to start your investing journey, make the smart choices, and grow your wealth through the years.