22 Jan Retirement Matters

Pension changes you need to know Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Spending Review and Autumn Statement on Wednesday 25 November 2015. For the first time in this Parliament, he did not announce any further radical changes to the private pensions system, giving the Treasury more time to digest the Green Paper consultation from the summer Budget. However, the Chancellor did set out his proposals for the new flat-rate State Pension, Pension credit, basic State Pension increase, a tapered reduction to the amount of the annual allowance for high earners and …

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18 Jan 10 Steps to a Better Retirement

Concerned about the financial aspects of retirement planning? With all the talk and concern about dwindling retirement funds and our shaky economy, many retirees and soon-to-be-retired boomers are concerned about the financial aspects of retirement planning. These are 10 steps to give you a brighter retirement. 1. From 6 April 2015, on reaching the age of 55 you can now use your pension savings in any way you like. The first 25% can be taken as tax-free cash and the remainder used as you wish (all income or capital withdrawals subject to your …

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14 Jan 2016 Tax Matters

Reducing the taxman’s take To minimise the tax you pay, it’s important to be fully aware of the choices you can make before you make them, so planning ahead and taking professional financial advice is essential. With real-terms tax increases the prospect for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to utilise every available tax relief. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) creates many legitimate opportunities for you to reduce the amount of tax you pay. However, you may not be aware of them all, or you may be unsure of how …

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11 Jan Pension Tax Relief

New tapered allowance for high earners   The pension tax relief system is about to be reinvented. The Government announced in the Summer 2015 Budget their intention to cut pensions tax relief for high earners by introducing a tapered annual allowance from 6 April 2016 for individuals with income (including the value of any pension contributions) of over £150,000, and who have an income (excluding pension contributions) in excess of £110,000. The rate of reduction in the standard annual allowance of £40,000 is by £1 for every £2 that the …

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07 Jan New Year’s Resolutions

Setting goals for saving and investing Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? Considering that the most common topics are health and finances, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one of them involves a financial goal. The start of a New Year is the perfect time to take stock and think about how you can improve your financial position. Many of us start the year with good intentions, but things often get in the way as the year progresses. One way to make 2016 a year of real …

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05 Jan Buy-to-let and Second Homes

Higher stamp duty payable from April 2016 Buy-to-let landlords and people buying second homes from April this year will have to pay a 3% surcharge on the stamp duty charged for the property. Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement during his Spending Review and Autumn Statement last year. From April, you will have to pay a 3% surcharge on the stamp duty charged for the property, set to raise an extra £1bn extra for the Treasury by 2021. Buy-to-let landlords are already due to receive a lower rate of tax …

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11 Dec It’s Good to Talk

When was the last time you discussed the family’s finances? The unexpected death of a spouse can lead to considerable financial problems if the surviving partner is not fully aware of the state of the family’s finances. All too often, couples do not fully discuss the implications of the death of a spouse or partner, and this can create additional stress that could easily have been avoided. So it’s worth taking some time out to consider the following areas of your family’s finances. Inheritance Tax (IHT) If you own your …

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08 Dec Carrying Financial Burden into Retirement

Have we become a nation comfortable with debt? Almost one third of retired people were still carrying debt at the point they gave up full-time work according to research[1] from YouGov and Old Mutual Wealth. The findings showed that the average amount of debt held at the point of retirement is £34,500; however, 19% of people had debts of over £50,000, and almost one in ten had debts of over £100,000. Mortgage debt is most common, with 21% of people still owing money on their house when they retire. 14% …

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03 Dec Don’t Panic!

Overvalued Chinese shares come to a shuddering halt after hitting a seven-year peak In August, the Chinese Government attempted to stimulate the economy by devaluing its currency (the Renminbi) and suspending trading on many stocks. The effect of this caused a tsunami throughout both Chinese and global markets, followed by significant falls in global stock markets, including the S&P in the US and the FTSE in the UK. On 24 August, the day many in the media called ‘Black Monday’, the Chinese market was down by 8%, UK markets fell …

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