It's always hard to invest at the end of the tax year – and I never really understood.
Those who work as self-employed or receive bonuses may have to estimate their annual income if they invest early, but postponing it to the last minute has always felt like a missed opportunity.
Research suggests that delaying investors could have cost the equivalent of a £ 20,000 Isa fee of a year in the last decade.
Research suggests that delaying investing may have cost investors the equivalent of a £ 20,000 Isa fee of a year in the last decade
If you use your Isa benefit or contribute to a pension in April instead of in March, your money will get almost a year more to grow.
You also benefit from all dividend payments made during the tax year.
A second option is to let the money infiltrate throughout the year and so surf the highs and lows of the stock market.
Both options allow us to make investment decisions at your leisure rather than being swallowed by a last-minute panic.
Fidelity has published figures that show what would have happened to investors who used their full Isa benefit and followed the FTSE All Share index over the past ten tax years.
This would mean that a total of £ 136,360 was invested, while the Isa benefit increased during this period from £ 7,200 to £ 20,000 per year.
Someone who invests his full benefit on April 6, the start of the tax year, would have £ 199,832 last week.
By saving monthly, as I have often done, someone would have built up £ 192,499 – so not too far behind.
But the person who invested at the end of the tax year, on April 5, would have £ 179,610. So putting it off until the deadline would have cost them £ 20,000 – they might as well have built a bonfire with an annual subscription from Isa.
Early investing only gives you the potential of an extra year of extra growth, but it also means that you benefit from dividends that are paid out during the year and that can be reinvested to increase your return.
Investment platform Interactive Investor went one step further and checked what would have happened over the past 20 years.
It discovered that the early-bird investor would have a portfolio worth nearly £ 388,000, regular monthly investors £ 381,000 and the last-minute investors £ 370,000.
If you use your Isa benefit or contribute to a pension in April instead of in March, your money will get almost a year more to grow
This takes into account the long slump in the market in the early 2000s and the banking crisis – both occasions where investing had a clear advantage at the end of the year.
Interesting Interactive Investor says that 40 percent of his Isa millionaires were April investors, compared to 14 percent for investors in March.
Of the non-millionaires, 21 percent invested in April and 25 percent in March, while the rest spread throughout the year.
Moira O & # 39; Neill, Head of Personal Finance at Interactive Investor, says: & # 39; Investing your money for as long as possible is usually beneficial to your assets in the long run.
& # 39; But if you can't afford to invest the whole amount at the start, investing is also a good option.
& # 39; Investing in the beginning of the tax year doesn't make you a millionaire right away, but it means that your money works hard longer – which hopefully means it doesn't have to happen. & # 39;
The underlying message is how difficult it is for us private investors to time the market.
Unless we are concerned – and I accept the Brexit and trade wars are two that we have to take into account – we would do better to get in and then stick to it.
Consider these figures from Hargreaves Lansdown, the fund supermarket. If you had invested £ 10,000 in FTSE All Share in 1999 and left it behind, you would have £ 28,000 today if dividends were invested in buying more shares.
If you had been smart or lucky enough to miss the worst ten days, you would have £ 51,700. But if you sold at the wrong time and missed the best ten days, you would have £ 15,100.
The best and worst days tend to be in clusters. The stock market had seven of the worst ten days since 1999 in a two-month period in the fall of 2008, with a fall of 5 to 8 percent on each of these days.
But six of the ten best days were between September and December 2008, with the market rising by 5 to 9 percent every day.
Even if you plan to use a cash Isa, early investment really makes sense.
If you are one of those paying tax on savings interest, a bill will be built up for another year due to delays, whereas investing would now stop this.
For an investment of £ 20,000 with a fixed rate of cash Isa at 1.8 percent you would receive £ 360 interest this year.
Investing can now save £ 72 tax for a base rate, £ 144 for a higher rate taxpayer or £ 162 if you pay at the extra rate, compared to having the money on a normally taxed account.
For our part, Mrs. H saves monthly in Lindsell Train Global Equity through a self-invested personal pension, while I helped a friend put his money in a cash Isa to reduce the tax.
As far as I'm concerned: I stay in the drip feed mode while the Brexit farce takes place.