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Five ideas to give your babes-in-arms the Royal touch

Welcome then, Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge. Bless him.

There’s nothing like a famous, especially Royal, new-born to bring out a bit of cooing and even hard bitten old cynics like me go momentarily a bit gooey. Speaking of cynics, the financial services industry’s public relations machine swung instantly into action after news broke that the Royal stork had visited the Palace chimney. It’s what the industry calls ‘piggy-backing’ – namely where one’s own goods and services are pushed out in the full glare of an often unrelated news event. A good day to release good news, you might say.

I will not name the organisations who emailed me, within the hour, breathless press releases shamelessly touting their wares. But there were eight of them and five were very well-known household brand names. Some of the releases came up with new phrases of which I have never heard as a journalist or a parent. Yet, according to one very large investment firm, Princess Charlotte, as a ‘sandwich sister’ (I kid you not) will need some investment help so she is not left out because she is the middle child.

Harrumph, I say. But there is nothing like a new arrival – to the Cambridge’s or to the world at large as the young prince will discover – to make us think of our own families. We are, after all, called the Family Building Society.

So here are  five things to think about if you are contemplating putting a few pounds aside for your family’s new, or not so new, arrival. 

    1-Choose the right account. There are lots available but a Junior ISA in its many forms is probably the most flexible and you can put in up to £4,260 a year as a parent. Even though interest rates may be low currently this is still the easiest way to save for your kids.

    2-Bare trusts. The very simplest form of trust which is made as a gift to a specified beneficiary – the advantage here is almost anyone can pay into it – family or friends and there are no contribution limits.

    3-Invest through your own ISA. If you don’t like the idea of your kids getting full control of their money when they are 18, this could be the way forward for you.

     4-A pension plan. Yes, you really can have one as a child from birth and in a world where pensions will become increasingly rare and less generous, being funded early will make life much easier for your little ones when you are long gone.

     5-Call the Family Building Society. Sorry for the blatant piggy-back but as I say, we are not called the Family Building Society by mere accident, you know. We have a number of very helpful people who will answer all your questions on 03330 140141.

Finally, a relevant story.

My children, now teenagers, were both beneficiaries of Gordon Brown’s short-lived Child Trust Fund from the early Noughties where every newborn was gifted £250 to be put aside until their 18th birthdays.

At the time, I topped it up and they both had a grand. I’d forgotten all about it until I saw the pictures of wee Louis.
I dug out the papers (as it turns out performance has been less than spectacular) and paid in an extra £250 for each of them.

So at least come three and five years’ time,  I will have good cause to toast the birth our newest prince.

By Steve McDowell

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