News & Resources

Looming pension pitfall

Recent investigations by the Centre for Economics and Business Research have illuminated a daunting predicament facing the United Kingdom’s pension sector. An alarming £50 billion of hard-earned pension funds could be in jeopardy, lost within neglected accounts or dispersed amongst a myriad of forgotten pots.

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Reliance on Defined Benefit pensions among over 50s

Recent research reveals that a significant proportion of individuals over 50 years old anticipate relying on secure income sources, such as Defined Benefit (DB) pensions, for their retirement funding.

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UK retirees confronting pension shortfalls

UK retirees are encountering significantly smaller pension pots than they had anticipated, with a considerable number expressing regret over not having commenced their savings journey earlier in their careers.

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Employee preferences in Workplace Pension selection

Recent developments have seen the government introduce a Lifetime Provider model for workplace pensions, a move that has sparked considerable interest and debate. Findings from a recent survey reveal a striking preference among employees for their employers to take the lead in selecting their workplace pension provider.

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Insight into current attitudes towards pension investment

A comprehensive survey has unveiled a complex picture of how savers perceive their pension investments. Despite a high level of awareness, with 82% of pension savers acknowledging that their pensions are invested, a mere 26% possess knowledge about the specifics of these investments. This gap in understanding presents a unique insight into the current attitudes towards pension investment among savers.

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Strategic reinvestment of State Pension increases

Following the 8.5% rise in the annual State Pension from 6 April, the redirection of this enhanced income into private pension savings could make sense under certain conditions. The idea of investing one’s State Pension into a personal or Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) might seem at odds with conventional wisdom.

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Mind over matter

In the world of investing, where numbers and market analyses typically dominate, a crucial element often remains veiled in the backdrop – our behaviour. Behavioural investing emerges as a pivotal field, merging the realms of finance and psychology to scrutinise how our emotions, cognitive biases, backgrounds and worldviews intricately influence our investment decisions. It ventures into the less discussed but significant spectrum of how our psychological makeup can mould our financial futures, for better or for worse.

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Overcoming the gender investment disparity

A recent study has spotlighted women and investing, offering critical insights that aim to empower women to take the reins of their financial destinies and forge paths toward a prosperous future. Notably, an impressive majority of women (68%) engage in investment activities at least once a month, with over two-fifths (42%) diligently monitoring their savings and investments via online platforms or apps at least once weekly.

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Unveiling the core principles of investing

In finance, the core investing principles stand as timeless beacons, guiding investors through periods of market volatility towards financial prosperity. These principles, distilled from the wisdom of centuries and the hard-won experience of investment titans, serve not merely as strategies but as foundational truths that underpin the very art and science of investing.

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New pension tax framework

Beginning on 6 April 2024, a pivotal shift in pension benefit taxation commenced. The Lifetime Allowance (LTA) was replaced by a new structure comprising three distinct allowances: the Lump Sum Allowance (LSA), Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA), and Overseas Transfer Allowance (OTA).

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Troubling trend amongst UK workers

In an era where the lines between work and personal life are increasingly blurred, a new study sheds light on a concerning trend among UK employees. Despite advancements in workplace policies and a growing emphasis on mental health and wellbeing, a significant number of workers are still pushing themselves to work even when they are not in full health.

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Generational wealth perspectives

A recent study suggests that a substantial proportion of Generation Z, born from 1996 to 2010, view property acquisition as their principal avenue to amass wealth for their retirement years [1]. This perspective is slightly more prevalent within this demographic than the reliance on pensions, with 33% of Gen Z individuals planning to utilise property as a retirement fund compared to 30% who favour pensions.

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Understanding pension uncertainties

A recent study reveals that a considerable proportion of UK adults, including a significant number nearing retirement, find themselves in a quandary regarding their State Pension entitlements and the commencement of their payments

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Rising trend of unretirement

In recent times, a significant portion of retirees, specifically 14% of those aged over 55, have found themselves re-entering the workforce, driven by the inadequacy of their pensions to meet rising living costs, according to new research.

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Navigating Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax (IHT) represents a significant consideration for anyone looking to pass on assets to the next generation. As of the 2024/25 tax year, IHT incurs a 40% charge on the portion of an estate exceeding the nil rate band of £325,000, excluding transfers to a spouse or registered civil partner.

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Enhancing pension contributions for a brighter future

As we embark on the new tax year, it presents an opportune moment to review your pension savings strategy, setting a solid foundation for future financial stability. Early attention to your private pension at the onset of the fiscal year is not just about cultivating beneficial saving habits; it’s also about ensuring you fully exploit the benefits and allowances available to you.

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Changes to Individual Savings Accounts in 2024

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) offer a versatile and tax-efficient way to save for the future, whether for yourself, your children or grandchildren. Now that we have entered the new financial year, on 6 April 2024, significant changes to ISAs have been introduced.

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Costs of later-life care

The financial implications of care in later life are often underestimated, leaving many unprepared for the substantial costs associated with care homes. Establishing a thorough wealth strategy is key to ensuring financial readiness for long-term care needs.

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Prudence of perseverance in investing

For investors, the perennial question of whether to ‘stick or twist’ with their current investments or pivot towards the perceived safety of cash is fundamental. Numerous factors influence this decision, which plays a pivotal role in the journey towards financial prosperity.

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Britons procrastinate on making a Will

Recent research has uncovered that a staggering 51% of adults in the UK have neither penned a Will nor are they in the process of doing so[1]. This statistic encompasses 13% of individuals affirmatively declaring no future plans to undertake this task.

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Enhancing retirement through lump sum contributions

Recent research findings have brought to light a striking observation: fewer than 10% of adults in the UK contribute occasional lump sums to their pensions. This statistic is particularly surprising given that such contributions could significantly amplify one’s retirement savings.

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Protecting yourself from investment scams

Investment scams are a rising concern, promising potential investors the allure of making a significant amount of money swiftly and effortlessly. These scams often involve minimal to no risk investments in various areas such as financial markets, property, cryptocurrencies, and precious metals and coins.

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Life’s complicated. Getting life insurance shouldn’t be

Significant life changes, such as getting married, having a baby and buying a property, are key times to consider protecting your family’s future. Life insurance assures that your loved ones won’t face financial stress in your absence and this peace of mind is not confined to those earning an income.

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The £26 billion lost pension maze

Navigating the world of pensions can be challenging, particularly when you’ve participated in various schemes or shifted jobs throughout your working life. Pension plans may close, merge or change names as time progresses, adding to the complexity. It might have been rebranded even if you recall your scheme’s original name.

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Proactive retirement planning

A recent study reveals a promising trend among 45- to 54-year-olds in the UK. Six out of ten individuals in this age group are actively working towards bolstering their retirement savings. These mid-lifers are prioritising their future financial stability, implementing changes in their current spending habits to ensure they can support themselves later in life.

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Unpredictability of financial climates

The world of financial markets is a fascinating and ever-changing landscape. Much like the weather, the climate of these markets can shift rapidly. One moment, everything might be calm and sunny, with investors full of optimism and bullish about the future. Then, a storm may roll in the next moment, causing the same investors to scramble for cover and reassess their strategies.

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Postponing retirement

Recent studies indicate that approximately half (49%) of non-retired Britons plan to extend their working lives beyond the age at which they’ll receive their State Pension, equivalent to approximately 19.2 million individuals.

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Jeopardising financial stability

Securing your family’s financial future is a multifaceted responsibility beyond merely accumulating savings and making long-term investments. It encompasses the creation of a comprehensive plan that ensures the wellbeing of your loved ones, even in the face of unexpected adversities.

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The gift of giving

In the unfortunate event of one’s passing, there’s a possibility that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may levy an Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill on the deceased’s estate. The estate’s total value determines the sum due after deducting any debts and applying all possible thresholds. Two thresholds that come into play are the nil rate band (NRB) and the residence nil rate band (RNRB).

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Health consciousness divide

Living a healthy lifestyle over a prolonged period significantly reduces the risk of developing various diseases as we age. This concept is rooted in the idea that our daily habits and behaviours profoundly impact our long-term health outcomes.

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Pension puzzle

A recent study has identified an alarming discrepancy in financial confidence between genders. It shows that women are 33% more likely to confess to a lack of understanding about their pension operations. This gap in comprehension could be a potential reason why some women seem less inclined to engage with pivotal financial products that promise better future outcomes.

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Young visionaries eye early retirement

The dream of early retirement is alive and well among the younger generation. Still, to realise this dream, they must prepare to bolster their pension savings by an estimated 15%. A recent study has revealed that approximately one-fifth (17%) of youthful savers aged between 22 and 32 aspire to retire before reaching 60. Intriguingly, 70% anticipate retiring before the present State Pension age of 67.

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The impact of disability on financial planning

Disability significantly affects the financial planning of nearly a third of disabled individuals. This was the key finding of a report that highlighted the additional financial burdens people with disabilities in society suffer.

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The ‘Bank of Family’

In the challenging realm of parenting, an unexpected yet invaluable source of support has emerged – our parents and grandparents. Over the past 12 months, almost 42% of these seasoned family members, affectionately termed the ‘Bank of Family’, have assisted younger relatives with childcare.

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Navigating through divorce Money

Entering into marriage isn’t done with the expectation of it ending in divorce, yet this distressing and strenuous event can be a reality for some. Managing finances may not be your immediate concern during such an emotional upheaval. However, obtaining professional financial advice can aid in safeguarding your future financial stability and preserving your wealth.

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Harnessing the power of Green Pensions

Over recent years, our comprehension of the climate crisis has significantly transformed. Countries and organisations are becoming increasingly ambitious with their net zero targets, while many individuals are making lifestyle alterations to reduce their household carbon emissions. However, some remain oblivious that pensions represent one of our most potent tools for making substantial strides towards net zero.

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Pre-year-end tax planning

As we approach the end of the current tax year on 5 April 2024, it’s an opportune moment to examine both your personal and business finances to ensure they are structured to optimise your tax efficiency. Despite the ongoing freeze on many tax rates and thresholds, numerous strategies remain for organising your financial matters tax-efficiently.

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What will your legacy look like?

Once a concern only for the very affluent, Inheritance Tax (IHT) is now an issue for many ordinary families, who may find themselves handing over an unprecedented portion of their estates to the taxman. This shift results from years of house price growth, inflation and stagnant tax thresholds. The Office for Budget Responsibility anticipates that IHT will bring in £7.2 billion in the fiscal year 2023/24.

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Wealth accumulation

With the ever-evolving landscape of investment, it’s not hard to see why it might appear daunting. The investment world is equivalent to a living, breathing entity constantly evolving and changing. It’s a landscape that never remains static, mirroring the dynamic nature of global economies and financial markets.

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Planning for an early retirement

Early retirement typically signifies reaching financial autonomy before the statutory pension age, usually in the mid-60s. In the United Kingdom, retirees can begin drawing their State Pension at age 66. However, this retirement benchmark is set to increase to age 67 by 6 April 2028.

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Managing your finances as a couple

Transparency is the foundation of any strong relationship, which holds true regarding financial matters. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that you and your partner have similar financial habits and attitudes.

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Age is not just a number

Living to the ripe old age of 100 could require an additional £260,000 in pension wealth to ensure a comfortable retirement, compared to someone living until the current average life expectancy, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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How Does Investing Work – and How Do I Start?

There is no single, or simple, answer to the question ‘How to Invest Money?’ But, whether you already have a portfolio or not, we hope that working through the following questions will start you on the path to being better-informed about how investing works.

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Estate Planning: Financial Planning for Your Legacy

The fact that none of us live forever is not a comfortable one to dwell on. But, if you wish to continue to care for your loved ones from beyond the grave, then it is vital to devote time during your lifetime to deciding exactly what happens to your finances, property and possessions once you’re no longer around.

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Your Last Will and Testament

Making a Will is among the most important things you can do for those you leave behind. It offers legal protection to your partner and your family by setting out what you want to happen to your assets. It is at the centre of effective estate planning.

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Planning for Inheritance Tax

Historically, inheritance tax was only something that affected wealthy people. Today, thousands of families with fairly modest assets are affected because UK property values have risen and now outstrip the IHT threshold. But – with the correct financial planning – IHT can be lessened or even avoided.

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The Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB)

The nil-rate band for inheritance tax is the same as it was in 2009: average house prices have risen massively in the same time. Introduced from 2017, the RNRB aims to ease financial pressure on families who have been hit with huge IHT bills due to the rise in the value of their family home.

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How Do I Avoid Inheritance Tax?

One of the most common mistakes in estate planning is thinking that it only governs what happens to your assets after your death. Proper estate planning looks at your financial situation in the present and then develops a strategy that makes the most of your assets from that point onwards.

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Trusts and Inheritance Tax

There are still a number of situations in which setting up a Trust can shelter an inheritance from tax. They are a way of making a gift without giving up control of the asset gifted (although preserving access to the asset for yourself is more challenging).

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Family Business Transition and Succession Planning

Planning a family business transition (or sale) should be done early: the development of a strategy that will see an owner through retirement and beyond and avoid arguments and even legal disputes is as important as identifying and mentoring a successor.

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What’s the Best Long Term Investment Strategy?

We believe that the best investment strategy aims for a regular and adequate income in retirement: work out what you want that income to be, and plan accordingly. Long term investment is the best strategy for most people because today’s financial environment is uncertain. You should normally expect to commit for at least ten years.

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Asset Classes, or Different Types of Investment

An ‘asset’ is something with a monetary value, and ‘asset classes’ are just the different categories of assets, or types of investment. Starting with cash (a useful benchmark), we take a look at the four most common types of asset and their uses in investing.

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Market Volatility: the Importance of a Diversified Portfolio

All investments are subject to stock and other market forces: there are ups and downs. Changes in the market value of equities is called volatility. It is impossible to remove risk from investing but it is possible to minimise it through portfolio diversification.

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What Personal Insurance Cover Should I Get?

Ill health that stops you earning an income can destroy an existing financial position and ruin future plans. Until you have a significant body of capital to fall back on (or to generate sufficient income), personal insurance is a cost-effective way to avoid short, medium and even long term financial problems.

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Investment Scams & Online Fraud: What to Look For

In recent years the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has become aware of an increase in the number of scammers targeting people with high risk, or even totally fraudulent, investment ‘opportunities’. A look at some common indicators of investment fraud.

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Life Insurance Cover: for the Nasty Things in Life

Anyone who provides financially for others (whether singly or jointly) should ask themselves what would happen if they were to die suddenly and prematurely, leaving family behind. Life insurance cover can be arranged to provide for mortgage payments, inheritance tax, and more besides.

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Socially Responsible and Ethical Investment Explained

Socially responsible investments do not need to be either more expensive or more risky. Morgan Stanley evaluated 10,000 funds and managed accounts and concluded that (whether on an absolute or risk-adjusted basis) sustainable investments across all asset classes performed at least as well as their traditional counterparts.

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ESG Investments vs Impact Investments: The Difference

You could be forgiven for thinking that ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) and Impact Investing are the same thing, because many people use these terms as if they are interchangeable. There is, however, a fundamental difference. We’ll take a look at each and explain how they differ.

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Planting Giant Sequoias to Offset Carbon Emissions

We’re very proud to have made our own small contribution to such a worthwhile project.

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Nick Wins ‘Financial Adviser of the Year’ 2021

Nick Combes won the much coveted FINANCIAL ADVISER OF THE YEAR award last night at the black tie event held in the London Hilton on Park Lane, London. 

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News Flash: book recommendation

We are proud to share with you a soon to be published new book by Kat Lister: ‘The Elements’.

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It Pays to Plan: Personal Income Protection Insurance

A recent YouGov survey indicated that more than one in five couldn’t stop work for more than a few months without defaulting on their mortgage or rent – and double that number would be in trouble after four weeks. Fewer than one in twenty have income protection insurance: don’t be one of them!

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Business Owners Not Doing Enough To Protect Income

Most self-employed people are at greater risk of hardship should they become ill than those who are in PAYE employment, yet far too few actually have income protection insurance in place. IP cover means that – should injury or illness strike – then business owners don’t have to choose between financial hardship and working whilst ill or not fully recovered.

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Income Protection Insurance: Things You Should Know

If you want to be certain of protecting your standard of living if you fall ill, Income Protection insurance is essential. We answer some of the more frequently-asked questions about how these polices work, including what underwriters look for, and how your policy choices affect not only your premiums but also the extent of your cover.

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Protecting Your Health: Critical Illness Insurance

The last thing you need to worry about if you are diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer is your ability to continue to provide for yourself and your family. A Critical Illness insurance policy protects your financial health, leaving you to focus on your treatment and recovery.

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Alternative Investments & Specialist Sectors

Among investment companies returning over 5% you will frequently find those who concentrate on specialist sectors. The new asset classes these holdings introduce to your overall portfolio can also help with diversification. We look at five sectors that investors have been turning to recently.

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Unit Trusts vs Investment Trusts

Both Unit Trusts and Investment Trusts offer a way to spread risk by holding a diverse range of assets via one investment – but the nature of the ultimate investment(s) will dictate the risk an investor takes. We take look at the similarities and differences, and the pros and cons.

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High Earner Tax Reduction & Investment Strategies

Recent government initiatives have introduced tax breaks on a number of different savings and investments vehicles. With the right advice and planning it is possible to channel earnings into investments and savings whilst lowering your Income Tax bill. This article looks at the ways those on high incomes can invest tax-efficiently.

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Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs): the Rules, the Types

Anyone with even a passing interest in savings and/or investments should ensure that they take advantage of Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). These are government-legislated ‘wrappers’ designed to protect their contents from the taxman. A look at the benefits, and an introduction to the different types.

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ISA (Individual Savings Account): Your Questions Answered

What is an ISA? Can I have more than one? How long do I have to wait to access equity inside my ISA, and do I pay tax on dividends or profit share from it? Can I transfer my ISA? What’s the situation as far as Inheritance Tax goes? We answer these common questions.

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Meet LISA, the Lifetime ISA

The LISA is a remarkable savings and/or investment vehicle: you can earn 25% interest on a monthly deposit of £333 each month, on top of any interest paid over time by your LISA provider. This hybrid ISA is intended to help younger people save for their first home and their retirement at the same time.

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The Stocks & Shares ISA: Tax-free Investments

Of all the financial misconceptions we encounter, one of the most common is the idea that ISAs are just products. An ISA is best thought of as a renewable tax-free allowance. Many people use theirs for cash savings, but it is also possible to use an ISA to shelter a share portfolio, or collective investment funds.

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Junior ISAs: a Welcome Boost

Many people in a position to give their children or grandchildren a financial head start don’t realise that a will is not the only way to help younger members of the family at important times in their lives. Junior ISAs provide a way to take gifts to younger family members out of any Inheritance Tax calculation.

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A Pension or an ISA – What’s Best for my Retirement?

For most people, the answer is ‘both’. There’s really no need to set pensions against ISAs as they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. We take a look at tax efficiency, opportunity for growth, ease of withdrawal of funds, and considerations with regard to inheritance.

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Strategy for financial well-being

Government guidance body launches five goals
A new UK-wide strategy to transform the country’s financial well-being in a decade has been launched by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) under its government mandate

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Discover a clearer financial future

Professional financial advice tailored to you
It’s often a common fallacy that only those that are wealthy have any need for professional financial advice

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Unlocking property wealth

An increasing number of people aged over 65 are using equity release products to pay off debts and mortgages. Many people in the UK might be ‘property rich’ but want or need more than they have saved to enjoy the lifestyle they want. And with more people living longer, there are, on average, more years to fund.

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Currency Fluctuations and International Investing

Exchange rates are often a major consideration when investing. We look at Foreign Exchange Risk: what it is, what drives it, how it can affect your investment portfolio and what can be done to minimise it.

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Future retirement security

More younger women opting out of pensions
Young women are putting their future retirement security at risk by opting out of their workplace pension[1]

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Retirement savings longevity

Are you facing a pensions challenge?
We all want to ensure we have sufficient funds when we retire so we can spend our time the way that we want to

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Retirement options

£19m released each day since pension freedoms launch
In his 2015 Spring Budget, then-chancellor George Osborne introduced sweeping changes to the way that pensions are taxed

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Divorcees risk losing out on pensions

Dividing this asset is of vital importance to avoid pension poverty
Divorce is an emotional and stressful period for those who have to go through it

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Planning for tomorrow

Will my retirement income be enough to live ON comfortably?
The questions our clients almost always ask us are: ‘Will I be able to retire when I want to? Will I run out of money? How can I guarantee the kind of retirement I want?’

Worryingly, it’s been well documented that many Britons aren’t saving enough in their pension for their retirement

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Time to give your pension pot a boost?

Planning ahead for the financial future you want Planning for retirement can be both exciting and daunting

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Top 4 tips for good tax planning

What should I consider before the end of this tax year?
The end of the 2019/20 tax year is fast approaching, and there are a number of valuable allowances and reliefs that will be lost if they are not used before the deadline

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Inflation, and its Effects on Savings and Investments

What is inflation? What causes it? How is it measured, and what effects does it have on my personal finances? This article answers these questions, and also quickly runs through some of the methods that are used to stay ahead of inflation via investing money instead of saving it.

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Retiring abroad

Prior preparation is key for a smooth transition into your new life
It’s a dream for many that after years of hard work, it’s finally time to travel to far-off lands and enjoy your retirement without worrying about finances

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Pension consolidation

Simplifying and maximising retirement benefits
The employment landscape has evolved significantly over the last few decades, and changing jobs multiple times before retirement is now very much the norm

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Women better prepared for retirement

Record high despite £78k pension pot gender gap
Women in the UK are better prepared for the future than ever before, with 57% now saving enough for their retirement – the highest proportion recorded in 15 years

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Retirement matters

There’s a lot to look forward to
In your 50s, it’s important to make retirement planning a priority if you haven’t done so already

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Tax savvy

Savers should think twice before using their pension to purchase property
From age 55, you have the flexibility to choose how you take money from your pension

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Mind the gap

Self-employed would back new laws to expand retirement savings
For the self-employed, even if the will to save for retirement is there, the way can be problematic

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Bullish millennials

Putting money to work earlier allows more time for savings to grow
Millennials are more bullish than any other generation about their retirement savings, a major new study has found[1]

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How do I plan for my retirement?

Self-employed business owners face unique challenges
Saving for retirement can be more challenging when you are self-employed, as there is no one to organise a pension for you and no employer making contributions on your behalf

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Life after work

Plan for the future you want
Early retirement is no longer defined as the moment when you stop working forever

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Wealth uplift

Calculating the value of financial advice
Quantifying the value of financial advice has always been a challenge because people who receive financial advice have different characteristics to those who do not

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How prepared are you for retirement?

Planning ahead helps ensure that you’re on track
You work hard to enjoy your current lifestyle, but are you doing enough to ensure that you will continue to enjoy it in retirement? Many of us live for today, but saving into a private pension plan can help you retire sooner rather than later

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Age is just a number

What rising life expectancy could mean for you
We know that age is just a number, and for different people it means different things

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Pension freedoms

Retirees now have a whole host of new options
The pension freedoms, introduced on 6 April 2015, have given retirees a whole host of new options

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No guarantee can be given that the information provided is accurate in the present or the future. It is not intended to constitute either a statement of applicable law or financial advice, and responsibility cannot be accepted for any subsequent loss following activity or inactivity by any individual or organisation. Indeed, such information should NOT be acted upon without first receiving appropriate and specific professional advice.