What's the best way to use up your brand new ISA allowance of £15,240? I reckon a great approach, especially if you're new to ISA investing, is to buy five-to-10 top shares spread across a few diverse businesses. I have three suggestions to start you off:
I'd say a solid FTSE 100 growth share should definitely be among your candidates, and they don't get much more solid than ARM Holdings(LSE: ARM). ARM's chip designs power iPhones and all manner of other mobile computing devices, and sales have been rocketing for years -- there were 4bn ARM-designed chips shipped in Q4 2015 alone!
That's led to an explosive growth in the ARM share price, which has more than six-bagged in the past 10 years. Do you think maybe the growth might be over now? I don't.
ARM shares have actually fallen by 22%, to 931p, over the past 12 months, and that's put them on a forward P/E of just 27, falling to 24 on 2017 forecasts -- and that's the cheapest ARM shares have been for years.
Bearing in mind that the growth of mobile computing is still in its infancy, and that ARM has a progressive dividend policy that easily outstrips inflation, 2016 could be a great year to add ARM to your ISA portfolio.
Then as a contrast, how about something super safe like insurer Prudential(LSE: PRU)? Prudential is well named, as its management style has always put security first -- when other insurers were having to cut their dividends to help strengthen their balance sheets during the financial crisis, Prudential didn't even blink as it never came close to overstretching itself.
Prudential has been paying pretty average dividends of around 3%, but they're typically covered around 2.5 to 3 times by earnings per share, and the company's progressive dividend policy has seen them regularly lifted ahead of inflation.
So you'll almost certainly get dividends every year that easily beat interest from a cash ISA, but there's a very attractive addition to that -- over the past five years, Prudential shares have risen by 87%, while the FTSE 100 has struggled just to keep its head above zero.
The Pru's share price has actually fallen back along with the market over the past year, to 1,443p, and a 12% fall has put them on a forward P/E of 11.5. I think that's a steal.
A long-term ISA will surely benefit from exposure to the mining sector, as metals and minerals are never going to go out of fashion for long. What better time than at what could well be the bottom of the recent downward slide in commodities prices, and what better company to go for than Rio Tinto(LSE: RIO)?
Rio Tinto shares are down 45% over five years, after hefty falls in earnings on the back of sliding prices for iron, copper, aluminium and all the rest of the precious dirt it unearths. But since the start of 2016, iron is up again, copper is recovering, oil and precious metals are picking up... and Rio Tinto shares have put on 52% since 20 January, to 2,331p.
In the meantime, Rio Tinto has tightened up its costs and capital expenditure, and looks like a significantly leaner and more efficient company going into the next five years.
Putting top shares like these in your ISA could even help set you on your way to a cool million. But don't take my word for it, just get yourself a copy of The Motley Fool's 10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market report. It takes you through all you need to know, one step at a time.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ARM Holdings and Rio Tinto. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.