Yep, it's that time of year again folks. Everyone from money saving experts on the TV to financial gurus in newspapers, magazines and the internet will be giving their annual lecture on using up your ISA allowance. You'll no doubt be aware by now that if you don't use this year's allowance by midnight on Wednesday, you'll lose it forever.
Here's an idea
Many people will argue that there simply isn't enough time to set up an ISA account and pick out appropriate investments. Certainly, picking out suitable companies to invest in isn't something that should be done with haste. Indeed, careful consideration should be given to the options before parting with your hard-earned cash. So here is my simple advice to those who don't have the time to go stock picking ahead of Wednesday's deadline.
Do a little research to find a suitable ISA provider. There are plenty of websites offering advice and comparisons on most of the main providers, so that shouldn't be too difficult. Then simply open up an ISA account and park your money there, and leave it as cash until you have more time to go stock picking. That way you can pick out suitable investments at your leisure even AFTER the deadline. Simples...
There is another reason why many people fail to use their ISA allowance each year - FEAR. Many people, especially those who are new to investing are simply too frightened to risk their cash on the stock market. They've heard the experts talk endlessly about the uncertainties around Brexit, the Trump administration, political and economic turmoil, and decided to 'play it safe' and not invest at all.
But I'm here to tell you that you can still put your money to work by investing in quality companies that will continue to tick over regardless of the known unknowns that we are about to face. I'm talking about low-risk defensive companies that provide our everyday needs such as power and water. We will continue to need these utilities regardless of what Brexit or Donald Trump decide to throw at us.
Power to the people
Let's start with power. As the largest London-listed utility company, National Grid(LSE: NG) is responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity and gas in the UK. With no direct competition to worry about, many believe it's the lowest-risk company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Shareholders are rewarded with an attractive dividend which rises at least by the rate of inflation each year, with generous shareholder payouts that currently yield 5%. In my view that makes National Grid the perfect long-term defensive play for stability in a worry-free ISA.
Let it flow
Another defensive blue-chip that I've long been a fan of is United Utilities(LSE: UU). The company provides water and wastewater services for a captive audience of around 7m people and 400,000 businesses in the North West of England.
Like National Grid, United Utilities aims to increase its dividend at least in line with inflation for the foreseeable future. At current levels this equates to a healthy yield of 4%. That's not too shabby given the group's low-risk ultra-defensive qualities. Just sit back and let the income flow.
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Bilaal Mohamed has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.