Growth vs income funds

Choosing your investments? Make sure you understand the differences between funds.

When you begin investing you’ll need to choose a way that suits your goals.

Stocks and shares ISAs give you a tax-efficient way to invest, but you’re limited to £20,000 for the tax year 2024/2025. A personal pension like a SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) also gives you tax benefits but has limits on when you can access it - currently you’re allowed to take 25% tax-free from 55 (57 from 2028). If you’re willing to trade off tax-efficiency for more flexibility over how much you pay in and when you take money out, you could look at a General Investment Account (GIA).  

With each of these you’ll get to choose your investments based on things like how much risk you’d like to take. But there’s also another choice to make: growth or income.

Which one you choose depends on what you’d like to get out of your investment. Do you want to increase its value over time, aiming to take your potential profit in the future? Or would you rather have a regular income earlier on? If it's the former, you should look at growth funds; if it's the latter, it might be better to focus on income funds.

Remember that these different types of funds have their risks. As with all investments, they could go down as well as up and any income from them is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you've put in.

Ultimately, which fund you choose depends on your financial goals and future plans. While this article aims to provide a helpful overview of the differences between growth and income funds, it is not intended to give advice or a personal recommendation. If you need a personalised recommendation based on your personal circumstances, you should seek financial advice. You can find a financial adviser in your area at A financial adviser will usually charge for their services.

What are funds?

Funds allow you to invest in more than one asset at once. An asset is anything with monetary value - things like company shares, property, or government bonds, to name just a few. 

Generally speaking, investing in funds is a way of trying to achieve diversification with your investments. Here’s more about the basics of funds. Find out more about the basics of funds here

Growth funds

Growth funds, also known as accumulation funds, aim to increase the value of your investments over time. The idea is that you’ll be able to sell your investments for a profit in the future – but you’ll need time to weather the ups and downs of the market. 

Growth funds will often focus on buying shares in companies that have potential for growth, like technology companies. In this case, you’re essentially betting that a company will show a good return over time.

Unsurprisingly, growth funds perform best when the economy is growing. The idea is that funds grow at a faster rate than the stock market – but, of course, this isn’t guaranteed.

Are growth funds for me?

You’re most likely to benefit from growth funds if you’re happy to wait until you cash-in on your investment. For pensions, it may be you’re younger and have a long time for your investments to grow before you retire. Or if you want to put some money away in a long-term investment, growth funds could be the answer.

Income funds

Income funds aim to give you regular payments, which come from share dividends and interest. That's why income funds are mainly made up of shares in stable, established companies and bonds, which are fixed-term, loan-based products that pay out interest.

However, when it comes to many pension funds, the aim is long-term saving for a greater retirement pot, so dividends are usually ‘accumulated’ back into your pension rather than paid out as income. 

Are income funds for me?

If you want your investments to pay out to you regularly, it could be a good idea to select an income fund. 

What about tax?

SIPPs and ISAs are tax efficient, so you won’t pay tax on the profits you make on your investments through them.

If you’re investing outside one of those, including via our Investment Account, you may have to pay tax, regardless of whether you choose a growth fund or income fund. The information below applies to funds held in an Investment Account or similar investment.

With both growth and income funds, you'll pay capital gains tax on any increase in value when you sell your investment. The gain may be within your tax-free capital gains allowance, currently £3,000 for the 2024/25 tax year.

You’re also subject to income tax on any interest and dividends you receive. Everyone gets a tax-free dividend allowance – currently £500 for the 2024/25 tax year.

You get a personal savings allowance; how much you get depends on your income. Basic rate taxpayers get a personal savings Allowance of £500 for higher rate taxpayers and zero for additional rate taxpayers.

Some investment returns may be received by funds with tax credits or after tax deductions which cannot be reclaimed. Tax benefits depend on individual circumstances and are subject to change. For the most up to date information, visit

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