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ISAs  |  Investments
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Diane Lancashire

Hi – I’m thinking of opening a Stocks & Shares ISA. I have about £16,000 to play with. Is it better to invest this as a lump sum or to drip-feed? I’ve heard that drip-feeding is better? Something to do with the market being high or low, or something?
GREAT site, by the way – thank you!!

ISAs  |  Investments
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Rick Lincoln Suspicious Savers

I am newly retired, have sufficient pension income for the foreseeable future, but want to hedge against rising prices/devalued pensions in the next 5-10yrs.
I want to dip a toe into ISAs with £10k and have determined from Boring Money’s decision tree that I should try either Virgin Money or Nutmeg. Should I put it all into one or the other (and if so, which one), or split it 50/50?

ISAs  |  Investments
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robert I don't live in a city

I own a handful of shares in companies which I am thinking of selling and I want to understand the capital gain (or loss) I will incur if I make the sale. One way or another they all have rather complicated histories: 1. I have some Santander shares because I was given Abbey National shares when they demutualised and Abbey was then bought by Santander. 2. I have some Shell shares because I bought a few British Gas shares on privatization and a chunk of BG was finally bought by Shell. 3. I have some France Telecom shares because I used to work for Orange and was given them as part of a “loyalty programme” when FT bought Orange. I have no idea what the taxman would consider to be the initial cost of any of these and consequently the gain. Can you suggest how I might research this and in particular what HMRC considers the cost of shares to be when they were in fact given to me free of charge (ie the Santander and FT shares)? Thank you.

ISAs  |  Investments
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Nick London Tired Parents

I’ve been putting my monthly savings into a fund (Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity) that has most of its assets (apx 75%) in international equities. Given the £’s collapse in recent months, am I getting less for my money and should I wait for the £ to recover before investing more, or is this a glaringly stupid question? Thanks, Nick

Saving for a property  |  Mortgages  |  Investments
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Louise London

I want to borrow £35k to do some improvements to one of my houses (I have 2). One has a tiny mortgage and the other has no mortgage. What is the best way to borrow this money, a loan, a secured loan or get mortgage on one of the properties, either a top up to the one that has a tiny one or a new one on the one that does not have a mortgage?

Saving for a property  |  Mortgages  |  General Meltdown
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Not sure if you guys know much about stamp duty, but here goes…

I own a flat with my wife. We want to move out and buy a house and let out our existing flat. Our finances are in place, i.e. we are ok to convert our current mortgage into a BTL mortgage and take a new mortgage on the house we buy.

What I am unclear about is the new BTL stamp duty rules. Would I have to pay the additional 3% stamp duty on my new house? Or given that it is replacing my existing property then I am exempt?

If I am due to pay 3% additional stamp duty, would that be on the new property bought or the property that is not my primary property (i.e. the flat)?

So confused!

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Emily London Tired Parents

What is the difference between Independent Financial Advisers and Chartered Financial Advisers?

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Keith Southborough

Can you give me some information about drawdown pensions?

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The very lovely Cherry Reynard has been a financial journalist since 2000, after an ill-fated spell as a (bad) tax accountant. She has written for a wide range of titles including the Financial Times, Telegraph,…full bio

Expertise: School fees, General Meltdown
Ladies Losing Out, Tired Parents
This isn’t full-fat regulated capital ‘A’ advice, folks.

Although our Money Owls are pretty smart birds, this site is not regulated and we cannot give you personal, regulated financial advice. This is important because it means that you’re not able to come back for compensation if you act based on what you learn here. Let’s draw an analogy with health. We’re a bit like a magazine, or NHS Online. We hope we’ll give you useful, helpful advice. But it’s little ‘a’ advice, not full-fat regulated Advice. We don’t know your full medical history. Or what tablets are in your handbag. Or if you broke your knee in your 20s. We’re not surgeons who you pay to give you tailored, personal advice. If you want that then have a look at a financial adviser – here’s how to find a good ‘un.

Important stuff!

Holly and the team have worked in the finance industry for many years but we are not regulated to give you personal financial advice, nor are we regulated by the industry watchdog (although we do talk to them a lot). For every story on this site about a good investment, or something which went up by 10% or made someone £200, we could share a story about a bad investment, something which fell by 10% or lost someone £200. Nothing’s certain when investing so if you’re really unsure, or dealing with complicated stuff like working out what to do with a pension when you retire, we’d really suggest you get some financial advice. Here are some tips on  how to pick a good financial adviser. Or check out Unbiased or VouchedFor. Just remember, commission has been banned now so advisers need to be very clear with you about what you are paying them and when.