5 ways to make your money work harder for you in 2017

It's time to consider whether a savings account is really the best approach

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The New Year is rapidly approaching, and after a rough (and surprising) 2016, it's fair to say that many of us are looking forward to a fresh start. The New Year is also a perfect time to review your financial goals for the 12 months ahead.

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With interest rates now at all-time lows it may seem like saving is a futile act. But there are other ways to wake your money up in 2017. Here are five ways you can make your money work harder for you next year.

1. Lisa

The government's new lifetime savings product the Lisa is on track to be launched next April and this product offers an extremely lucrative opportunity for savers.

The lifetime ISA will be available to savers between the ages of 18 and 40 who can pay in up to £4,000 a year and will receive a government bonus of 25% (£1,000 maximum). The funds saved within a Lisa can only be used for retirement purposes or a first-time house purchase. Savers can continue to pay into the product up to the age of 50 with a cumulative bonus available of £32,000.

2. Savings accounts

Most savings accounts now offer less than 1% per annum in interest but if you do your research, there are products out there that yield more.

For example, the TSB current account offers 3% interest on balances up to £1,500. Additionally, First Direct, HSBC and M&S Bank all offer monthly saver accounts with interest rates of 5%.

3. Stocks and shares

Buying equities could be one of the simplest ways to wake your money up next year. Anyone can do it, they're easy to buy and your money isn't locked-in if you need to sell. Some of the FTSE 100's bluest blue chips now offer dividend yields of more than 5% and the index as a whole offers an average yield of just over 3%. There are also plenty of income funds throwing off 4% a year in dividends.

4. The asset sharing economy

It has never been easier to make a bit of extra money by renting out your existing assets such as cars or even your home. easyCar Club allows drivers to rent out their cars for extra cash when they're not using them. while Airbnb allows homeowners to turn their homes into hotels while they're not staying at the premises.

5. P2P lending

The UK has one of the largest peer-to-peer lending markets in the world and investors and now spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding who or what they will lend their money to.

Funding Circle focuses primarily on small business lending, which can offer higher returns but is also riskier. Landbay organises peer-to-peer mortgages offering an expected return of 3.75% secured against property. Meanwhile, RateSetter offers unsecured lending to everyday customers. Peer-to-peer lending does come with a certain degree of risk and isn't a substitute for savings accounts, so it may not be suitable for all investors.

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Rupert Hargreaves has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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