To start with, let me say that I am very new to investing- have no prior experience of it...
Last year, I opened a stocks & shares ISA for the first time (it is a Lifetime ISA), and my intention for this money is to put it towards a deposit for my first property (as well as using it to save for retirement)- which I would hope to be buying some time within the next 5 years or so.
I appreciate that this is very short term in terms of investing in the stock market- my reason for opening it was primarily to make use of the 25% government bonus that will be added to its value when I put the ISA towards the deposit on a property (£4000 max annual contribution- £1000 max annual government bonus).
When I first opened the account, I opened it with the minimum value that was possible, and then topped it up to the maximum contribution before the end of the financial year.
The ISA that I opened is an 'automatic' one where the provider does all of the investment for me, based on an assessment of my approach to risk that they carried out using a questionnaire when I opened the account. Over the course of the time that I've had the account open, I have seen its value rise and fall (roughly 5% either way from the amount I initially invested).
Last year, I made my deposits into the account at 'random' times (just when I could afford to), without really taking into consideration whether that was a good time to be making the deposit or not.
This year, I want to try and 'maximise' the deposits I make into the ISA, but I'm not really sure how best to do this/ what to take into consideration, etc before I actually make the deposits.
Some of the things I'm uncertain on would be:
Is it best to make a deposit at a time when the stock market is low (i.e. the value of my ISA at this point in time is likely to be less than the value of what I've actually contributed to it)?
Is it best to deposit the full amount in one go, or to make smaller deposits at different times?
If it's better to make more smaller deposits rather than one large deposit, how can I judge when is good to make a deposit, and how much I should deposit at that particular moment?
I appreciate that some of this might be subjective (i.e. based on an individual's approach to risk, their own personal circumstances, etc), so what I'm looking for here is advice on how I can decide these things for myself?
I am in my late twenties, so can afford to take some risks, and save probably 50-60% of what I earn at the moment.