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How to blow your investments on a great party

selling an IsaWhat would you want to do for your 50th birthday? It’s a real milestone this one, a half-century. Terrifying, because it means you’re officially old, but also a real achievement in getting this far. A celebration is definitely called for.

If money was no object, I’d fill a private jet with my pals and take us all off to a tropical beach. Or maybe do a city break: roof-top cocktails in Manhattan. And what about all those traditional luxury travel options: the Orient Express, the Queen Elizabeth (QE2), India’s Palace on Wheels? Yes please!

Cash being crucial, the reality is more like a marquee in the garden. Even with just close friends and family, it’s about 40 to 50 people. And, if you have caterers, plus all the drink and perhaps a DJ, the cost can tot up to several grand.

Fortunately, my 50th is a couple of years away so I’ve plenty of time to save up. Or – there’s another option. I could shave a few quid off my investments. Naughty, naughty. But that’s the beauty of the Isa as opposed to a pension: you can get your hands on the money when you want.

Normally I wouldn’t fritter my savings away on anything so frivolous as a party. But I was (very pleasantly) surprised when I looked at my portfolio recently. I knew stock markets were riding high but I hadn’t realised the spectacular impact on my own investments. My Europe fund, for example, has doubled in less than two years while my US tracker fund is up some 60%.

A financial fiesta! Or is it? Actually, the latest boom is making me worried. When share prices move up this quickly, it usually means a bust is on the way. Yet another reason, then, to turn my paper profits into hard cash.

I was just about to push the sell button when Mr Minted reminded me that I can transfer shares investments into cash inside the Isa. If I sold the Isa, I’d lose the tax benefits on the Isa money. By transferring, I keep the perks. Embarrassing! As a financial journalist, I should’ve remembered that. As well as the fact that while you can transfer parts of previous years’ Isas, any Isa money invested in the current year has to be moved in total.

I could leave the cash on my fund platform but Hargreaves Lansdown pays such terrible rates I’d be stupid not to look elsewhere. So that’s a load of new paperwork. The other problem is getting the timing right. If I transfer into cash now, shares will probably keep going up and I’ll miss out. That’s a risk I’m prepared to take. This stock market party won’t last for ever and anyway, who else is going to pay for my mine?

Check out our guide to investing for beginners here.

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Saturday, 20 April 2019