News & Resources

Employee benefits

Employee benefitsTake your pension to the max

Pensions have long been seen as a tax-efficient form of investment. The contributions that you pay into your pension will benefit from tax relief and aren’t subject to tax while they’re invested in your pension pot (although the tax credit paid with dividends can’t be reclaimed by your pension scheme). Contributions to your employer’s pension scheme (including any additional voluntary contributions you make) can be made from your gross pay before any tax is … Read the rest

One of life’s unpleasant facts

Protecting your assets to give your family lasting benefits in an uncertain world

Inheritance Tax (IHT) in the UK is a subject that was once something that only affected very wealthy people. It may be one of life’s unpleasant facts but today it affects more people than ever, partly due to the rise in the property market that has not been matched by a corresponding rise in the IHT threshold.

Taxing times
The threshold is currently just £325,000 – any … Read the rest

‘Am I diversified enough?’

What’s positive for one investment can be negative for another

Different types of investments are affected in different ways by factors such as economics, interest rates, politics, conflicts, even weather events. What’s positive for one investment can be negative for another, and when one rises another may fall. This interlinked movement between assets is known as ‘correlation’.

Different assets
Portfolios can incorporate a wide range of different assets, all of which have their own characteristics, like cash, bonds, equities (shares … Read the rest

Sandwich generation

www.esmartproducts.co.uk-hFilling in the family gaps

With an ageing population and increasingly more children living at home for longer, more and more people are joining the ‘Sandwich Generation’, having to fund family at both ends of the spectrum, such as their parents and children as well as themselves.

Pressure to keep earning
It is estimated that over a million Britons are now members of the Sandwich Generation and the pressure is on them to keep earning, in order to fund the … Read the rest

Workplace challenges for older workers

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One in three could not carry out current jobs past their traditional retirement age

Employers estimate up to a third of their staff would struggle to continue in their current jobs past traditional retirement ages, research for MetLife Employee Benefits[1] shows. Its nationwide study found HR directors believe that, on average, 31% of their current workforce would not be able to perform their jobs adequately once they reach normal retirement ages, even though 54% of them expect an increase in … Read the rest

New Intestacy Rules aim to make things simpler and clearer

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Why the consequences could be far-reaching for you and your loved ones

Significant changes to existing intestacy rules came into force on 1 October 2014 in England and Wales, with the aim of making things simpler and clearer. The consequences could be far-reaching for you and your loved ones, and while there are increasing entitlements for surviving spouses and registered civil partners, the changes highlight the importance of making a Will to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Radical Rule

Read the rest

Pension Freedom

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The most radical reforms this century

In Budget 2014, Chancellor George Osborne promised greater pension freedom from April next year. People will be able to access as much or as little of their defined contribution pension as they want and pass on their hard-earned pensions to their families tax-free.

For some people, an annuity may still be the right option, whereas others might want to take their whole tax-free lump sum and convert the rest to drawdown.

Extended choices

‘We’ve … Read the rest

Ed to run the Paris Marathon 2015 – for the British Red Cross

ed_marathonEd has entered the Paris Marathon. This is his first marathon, so training has already begun. Now living in France, it seems only right that Paris be the first of hopefully many more marathons to come for Ed!

If you would like to donate to the British Red Cross and support Edthen please follow this link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EdHolder

Any tips you might have are very welcome, so please feel free to email us if you have any marathon … Read the rest

A new era for pensions

A new era for pensionsThe changes announced by George Osborne in his 2014 Budget have turned established assumptions about pensions on their head.

Ever since personal pensions were introduced in 1988 for those who did not enjoy the benefit of occupational schemes, a basic condition of tax relief has been that pension savings should ultimately be converted into a secure income, usually in the form of an annuity. That requirement is now to be abandoned, with far-reaching implications for personal finance and indeed the … Read the rest

Alternatives to pensions

Businessman looking at arrowsWhereas final salary schemes, of which very few remain in the private sector, place the onus of providing a given level of retirement income on the employer, the value of defined contribution (DC) schemes is determined by the investments into which the contributions are directed. Risk has thus been transferred from employers to individuals.

Consequently, whether they like it or not, all members of DC schemes are investors, and it is this context that the Chancellor is also increasing the … Read the rest

A new deal for savers

Tax Free ISA investmentThe Chancellor’s 2014 Budget was designed to assist “the doers, the makers and the savers”, and it contained major and unexpected improvements to both pensions and savings.

Individual Savings Accounts are to be re-named New ISAs (‘NISAs’ – much nicer!) and all existing ISAs will become NISAs. As from 1 July 2014 the amount which can be invested is to be increased to £15,000 p.a. (from the current £11,520) and the range of permitted investments is to be increased.

Contributions … Read the rest

ISAs and inheritance tax

The tax-efficiency of ISAs makes them the obvious medium for non-pension investment in stocks and shares. However, ISAs cannot be transferred by the holder or held in trust, and consequently they will suffer the full impact of inheritance tax on the death of the holder.

WHEN IT COMES TO PENSION ANNUITIES, IT PAYS TO SHOP AROUND

Saving for your pension is only half the battle for a comfortable retirement. As a new comparison website from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows, annuities — the income for life you receive in exchange for your pension pot – vary enormously between providers. Accepting what your pension company offers can leave you thousands of pounds worse off.

THE IDEAL PLATFORM FOR INVESTMENTS

With the economy now getting back on track and markets improving, it could be time to review your investments to take advantage of new opportunities. Monitoring those investments can be a great deal easier if you have a platform.

WHO CARES?

We are all living longer. According to current research, 50% of babies born now could live to see the grand age of 100. Unfortunately, longer life does not always mean longer independent living. More of us could need to fund long term care, for ourselves, parents or spouses.

IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO START A PENSION?

The experts say the ideal time to start putting money into a pension is as soon as you start earning. That said most of us don’t live in an ideal world – so is there anything we can do if we’ve left things late?

You’ve paid your money, now take your choice

You and a generous taxman have been paying into your pension for many years and, unless it is a final salary scheme, you will need to choose – as retirement approaches – what to do with the accumulated ‘pot’. Some important decisions will have to be made about the pension set up best suited to your needs. Put very simply, there are two alternatives, but there are various possible options under each of them. You can either buy a lifetime annuity or opt for the alternative of ‘drawdown’. Needs vary and choosing the right way to enjoy the benefits you have worked for during all those years is a big issue requiring expert input from a qualified adviser.