Many Happy Returns!
Claim your free money here! Usually a statement to be approached with extreme caution. However, if you are turning 18 from September 2020, you could receive a surprise birthday present in the form of free money as the first Child Trust Funds mature.
I remember learning about CTFs when my own daughter was born. No sooner had I arrived home with my little bundle of joy then the CTF marketing arrived through the letterbox presenting a stark warning of future costs to come – a University education, buying a car or first-home.
Child Trust Funds were introduced by the government back in 2002, aimed at kickstarting and encouraging a savings culture from a young age. Those eligible received a voucher for £250 at birth, (with an additional £250 for low income families) and then a further £250 voucher (with additional £250 for low income families) at age 7. In addition, parents and grandparents were able and encouraged to make additional contributions to further grow a child’s fund.
Like ISAs for adults and JISAs for under-18s, which were phased in to replace CTFs, CTFs could be saved in cash like a savings account or invested in shares, with any gains in the form of interest, dividends or growth free of tax.
September 2020 marks the 18-year anniversary of the introduction of CTFs and the start of the CTF generation coming of age and being able to access their money. Many will be either unaware or simply forgotten that they may have a Child Trust Fund they can lay claim to.
Given the current economic uncertainty, the ability to access a Child Trust Fund come be welcome timing for some. For those who do not need the money right now, a Child Trust Fund could provide the foundations of a rainy-day fund or form the beginnings of a future investment pot.
Whatever your circumstances may be, the first step is to track down forgotten Child Trust Funds, by going to the HMRC website at https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds and following the steps:
- Log in with your government gateway user ID and password. You will need to sign up if do not have one.
- Answer a few personal questions to determine if you are the trustee of your child’s trust fund.
- HMRC will send you details of who your child’s trust fund provider is via post within 3 weeks of receiving your request.
- HMRC will contact you for more information if you’ve adopted a child or if a court has given you parental responsibility for them.
What are you waiting for? Happy 18th Birthday – now that’s something to celebrate!