Balancing profit and planet – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Striving to use impact to boost investment returns ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, a socially responsible investing approach, seeks to harmonise financial returns with a company’s environmental impact, stakeholder relationships and global footprint. Our planet faces numerous challenges, from climate change to a rapidly growing and ageing population. Understanding and incorporating ESG risks and…

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Investing after retirement – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Preserving wealth for your future lifestyle After a lifetime of hard work, you’ve successfully built a substantial and comfortable retirement account. Congratulations are in order.  You’ve officially entered the golden years of retirement!  Now, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labours, provided you’ve laid the groundwork for a well-prepared retirement.  But investing after…

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Bridging the pension gap – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Urgency for younger generations to access improved financial education The chasm between generations regarding retirement prospects is glaringly apparent, as 78% of individuals believe their predecessors had more favourable pension plans or brighter retirement futures. According to recent research, this data highlights a stark revelation that underscores the urgency for younger generations to access improved…

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It’s good to talk – BLOG – Martin Cornell

How to navigate financial conversations with your family Money, a subject often seen as taboo within family conversations, is surprisingly more entwined in your family’s affairs than you might think. Engaging in frank discussions about financial matters can create opportunities for strategic financial planning, potentially enhancing your family’s financial future. The sooner these discussions begin,…

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‘Time in the market’, not ‘timing the market’ – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

The allure of quick profits and instant gratification In the investing world, the allure of quick profits and instant gratification often tempt some investors to employ a ‘market timing’ strategy. This method involves buying or selling financial instruments based on predictions of future market price movements. Market timing is an active investment strategy aiming to…

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A crucial decade: financial planning in your 50’s – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Maximising your earnings or laying down a robust financial plan As you sail into your 50s, it becomes pivotal to consider your financial strategy. Life has likely found a steady rhythm by now. Children have probably taken flight, becoming financially self-sufficient, and the idea of reducing work hours or even retiring completely starts to surface….

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Strategies to minimise retirement tax – Martin Cornell – BLOG

Many pensioners may face a lurking tax risk as the State Pension grows Many pensioners may face a potential tax pitfall as the State Pension escalates and Income Tax bands remain fixed. Pensioners are set to see a substantial increase in their income next year. The State Pension is projected to rise by 8.5% in…

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Positive impact on financial wellbeing – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Improving your overall life satisfaction and happiness Financial stress is one of the most significant sources of anxiety and discomfort in the modern world. It’s not just about having enough money to meet our needs; it’s also about managing that money effectively and making informed decisions. This is where the concept of financial fitness comes…

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Using your inheritance effectively – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Making informed decisions about managing the funds wisely Inheriting wealth can be both a blessing and a challenge. It presents an opportunity to improve your financial security and accomplish your goals but it also involves managing the funds wisely. Cash flow modelling is essential to help you make informed decisions about using your inheritance effectively….

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Protecting your children and securing their future – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Our health, an invaluable asset, is often overlooked or taken for granted As a parent, ensuring the wellbeing of your children is a top priority. From having open conversations with your partner to creating a Will, there are straightforward measures you can implement to provide them with the protection they deserve. Open the conversation Discussing…

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Combining drawdown with an annuity – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Enjoying a comfortable and sustainable retirement income that gives you the best of both worlds If you’re considering combining drawdown with an annuity, it’s important to obtain professional financial advice to ensure you make the most of both options. Choosing the most suitable investment and calculating the amount of money you can realistically afford to…

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Giving while living – BLOG – Adrian Firth

What will your legacy look like? April brought a host of changes to the UK’s tax regime, with some thresholds for taxes such as additional rate Income Tax being lowered while others, such as Corporation Tax, are increased.  However, the Inheritance Tax (IHT) nil-rate band has remained stagnant at £325,000 since 2009, despite the meteoric…

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Professional financial advice matters – Martin Cornell – BLOG

Making informed decisions about how to best allocate your resources Financial planning is a crucial step towards achieving financial freedom and security. By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate your needs and personal goals, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how to best allocate your resources. With a comprehensive professional financial plan in…

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Spring Budget 2023

How the changes affect pensions and taxes The Spring Budget 2023 was delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, on March 15. Among key changes announced were those made to pensions, aimed at making it easier for individuals to save for their retirement and encouraging retirees to return to work. The 2023/24 tax year…

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Impacts of climate change – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Nearly two-thirds of people in the UK more concerned The impacts of climate change have been increasingly felt around the world in recent years. Governments, businesses and citizens alike are urged to take steps to reduce their environmental impact. The reality is that climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of…

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Planning to meet your goals – BLOG – Martin Cornell

How advice can boost your financial wellbeing The professional advice received from a financial adviser can make it easier to understand your financial situation and help you create strategies for better money management. They will be able to provide tailored advice that considers your individual circumstances, goals and needs. They will explain the options available,…

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Chancellor retains State Pension triple lock – Nick Wilson – MINI BLOG

If you’re currently receiving or have been looking into the State Pension, then you’ve probably heard of the ‘triple lock’.  But what is it? The triple lock was introduced in 2010, with the purpose of ensuring that the State Pension doesn’t lose value over time, protecting pensions against the impact of inflation. In the 2022…

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Tracing old and lost pensions – BLOG – Karen Last

Nearly half of pension holders have lost track of some of their pension pots The lost pensions challenge in the UK has grown significantly in recent years, further exacerbated by the pandemic, which resulted in a large proportion of people moving jobs. A recent Pension Policy Institute research briefing calculated the total value of lost…

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Investing for positive change – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

More investors align investments with personal values Over the past few decades, there has been a growing interest and awareness in investing in companies that take into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. This type of investing – also known as sustainable, responsible or impact investing – aims to generate both financial returns and…

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Working 9 to 5 – BLOG – Adrian Firth

More over 65’s are still working than six years ago More people in the UK aged between 65 and 74 are still working compared to six years ago, new research shows[1]. The findings show there’s a marked increase in the number of people over 65 who remain in the workforce compared to 2016, and a…

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What are the signs that you’re ready to retire? – BLOG – Martin Cornell

No one-size-fits-all answer to this question When is the right time to retire? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question – it depends on your personal circumstances. However, there are a few things to consider that may help you decide when the right time for you is. For example, think about your financial situation. Do…

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How to improve your financial health – Ashley Clayden – MINI BLOG

Be organised and in control. For some people, the act of setting a goal is inspiring in itself, but for others there are different emotions such as anxiety and worry over what hasn’t or seemingly cannot be achieved.  If you aren’t sure about where to start, there are a few key things to keep in…

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Ageing and the facts of modern life – Karen Last – BLOG

Private Medical Insurance It is a simple fact of life that as we all get older, we have to grapple with our own mortality and as the general age of the world population increases, quality of life is of a much more acute concern. To put it simply, the older we all get, the more…

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Self-employed vulnerable to financial shocks – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

New research highlights that 81% aren’t seeking financial advice As more and more people reject the traditional working structure in favour of becoming self- employed, some people could be at risk of financial insecurity as they lose out on employee benefits that offer protection in the present, and financial planning for the future. New research…

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Scammers “socially engineer” victims – Adrian Firth – BLOG

17% increase in suspicious or scam-related activity Any of us can fall victim to a scam. Scams are increasingly common and many people are caught out. They can be very distressing, and the impact is often emotional as well as financial. If you’ve been the victim of a scam, remember that you’re not alone. Increasingly,…

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Personal protection – Nick Wilson – MINI BLOG

Personal protection is a key part of any successful financial plan.  Without adequate protection, you and your family could face significant financial hardship if you or your partner were to die unexpectedly or couldn’t work due to an accident or illness.  Having personal protection means that you would not have to worry about money during…

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Fed up with your nine-to-five? – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Sixty is the most popular age to retire early There are many factors that can influence when someone decides to retire. For some, it may be based on health reasons, while others may want to take advantage of government benefits or simply to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. However, one of the most common factors…

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YouGov pension report – Ashley Clayden – MINI BLOG

According to a recent YouGov report, 44% of 18-34 year olds have made no pension provision at all.  Millennials’ financial priorities seem to be markedly different from those of their parents.  Only 21% of those who do save prioritised saving for retirement, significantly below the number who save for a holiday (32%).  Even saving a…

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Passing on wealth to the next generation – Karen Last – BLOG

30 million parents want to leave wealth in their Will Millions of Britons say they want to plan to pass on wealth to their children and grandchildren in a Will – but fewer than half have written one, according to new research[1]. Failing to plan could potentially lead to a significant Inheritance Tax (commonly called…

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The importance of financial protection – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Millions battling with financial hardship, relationship stress and sleepless nights Fear, worry and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and the resulting…

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How much income will you receive from your State Pension? – Adrian Firth – BLOG

Knowing what to expect can be an important part of planning for life after work How much do you think you’ll need to fund your retirement? Of course, the answer to that question will depend on what you want to do when you stop work. Worryingly, almost half of non-retirees (46%) are unable to identify how…

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Beyond profit – BLOG – Martin Cornell

The consequences of inaction on climate change are now impossible to ignore. Every company has an impact on the world around us. And by investing in them, so do we. Devastating wildfires ripping through several countries, the aftermath of Storm Ida that caused un-imaginable flooding across the northeast of the US, storm Arwen that brought…

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What do your retirement plans look like? – Karen Last – BLOG

Pandemic sparks a surge in over-50s seeking professional financial advice The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has sparked a surge in people over 50 seeking professional financial advice[1]. For many, a sudden shift in their financial status has been overwhelming. Money worries cause people to experience difficulties in lots of areas in their lives, from their physical…

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The power of a plan – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

How to create a personal financial plan in 8 steps When thinking about your future financial wellbeing, it can be helpful to consider a plan. It is a good idea to have a clear sense of what you want from life and use this as a guide for making important decisions. A comprehensive financial plan…

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Change to State Pension triple lock – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Pensioners ‘deeply disappointed’, particularly women and self-employed The earnings benchmark of the State Pension triple lock will be temporarily set aside for next year. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed on 7 September that the State Pension triple lock rule will not be applied for the 2022/23 financial year over concerns of the…

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Pension boost – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Are you claiming all of the generous tax relief you’re entitled to? The unique combination of tax breaks and flexible access available to pensions make them a compelling choice when saving for retirement. One of the key benefits of saving into a pension rather than another type of savings or investment vehicle is the generous…

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Protecting family wealth – BLOG – Karen Last

Start planning your legacy to mitigate or reduce Inheritance Tax If you’ve worked hard throughout your lifetime to grow your wealth, you may hope it will help to safeguard the financial security of your loved ones after you’ve gone. But without careful planning in your lifetime, you could leave them with less than expected after…

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It’s a matter of trust – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Extension of the Trust Registration Service to non-tax paying trusts HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has provided an update on the extension of the Trust Registration Service to non-tax paying trusts. The Trust Registration Service (TRS) was introduced by HMRC in 2017 as part of the UK’s implementation of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive. For…

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The Golden Years – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Be better off in retirement Imagine you’re retiring today. Have you thought about how you’re going to financially support yourself and potentially your family too with your current pension savings? The run up to your retirement may feel overwhelming, but this is an important time for you and your savings. Following the pensions reforms there…

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Grandparents, grandchildren and money – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Sharing your wealth during your lifetime can make a big difference With all of us leading longer lives, you might be considering how you can help your family when it matters most. Sharing your wealth during your lifetime can make a big difference and bring you a lot of joy, particularly for younger generations who…

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Time to look at the ‘big picture’ – BLOG – Karen Last

Discovering the emotional benefits of financial advice No two individuals share the same goals or ambitions. Each person is unique, with their own needs, targets and budgets. So when it comes to managing your money, building wealth, securing your future, and, above all else, drawing up an effective plan for fulfilling your investment objectives, professional…

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It’s good to talk – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Getting financial help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic The coronavirus pandemic has not only dealt a blow to the UK economy, many people and families have unfortunately experienced financial hardship. According to a recent survey, 31% of the population say they are struggling with their finances due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic…

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Planning for a relaxing retirement – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Time to get back to dreaming about stopping work. Not dreading it? Life changes when you retire – and so does how you spend your money. Whatever your plans, it’s important to keep on top of things and think about the lifestyle you want. It’s also worth noting the average life expectancy at age 65…

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Why cash may not be king – BLOG – Martin Cornell

How much of your wealth do you currently hold in cash? One paradox of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is that even as businesses have shut down and jobs have disappeared, some British households have on average been saving more money than they usually do, due to lower spending, according to new research[1]. But the choice…

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‘No desire to retire’ generation – BLOG – Karen Last

Why working and retirement are no longer binary terms Giving up the 9-to-5 doesn’t necessarily mean stopping work. Many people are now considering staggered or flexible working. It can suit some individuals who have caring responsibilities or health issues, or those thinking about retiring in the next few years. When you picture yourself in your…

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Why seek professional advice? – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Tackling problems, creating a plan, dealing with challenges Whether you’re starting out or are well into your wealth creation journey, professional financial advice helps you to define your goals and the path to getting there. It gives you a map and ongoing support to help you take control of your future. Everyone has different goals…

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Sustainable investment in a post-Covid world

Interest in sustainable investing and ESG (environmental, social and governance) has never been greater with the Covid-19 pandemic adding to concerns such as the climate crisis and the dumping of plastic in the sea. Whether David Attenborough’s TV documentaries, protests by the Extinction Rebellion, or policy recommendations from bodies such as the UK Committee on…

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Care in later life – BLOG – Martin Cornell

As we get older, the care and support we eventually need is also likely to change. Perhaps we’ll need some extra help to stay independent in our home, or we may consider moving to a smaller property or a care home, or we may have already started caring for someone else.

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Divest or engage? – BLOG – Adrian Firth

ESG matters are increasingly important in both retirement and investment planning Environmental, social and corporate governance issues are increasingly in the news, with some high-profile companies facing public scrutiny, corporate action or litigation. In a world where doing good means a better, more sustainable future, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have become an essential…

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ISA returns of the year – BLOG – Karen Last

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) enables you to save in a simple, tax-efficient way, while generally giving you instant access to your money.

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Estate protection – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Preserving your wealth and transferring it effectively Estate planning is an important part of wealth management, no matter how much wealth you have built up. It’s the process of making a plan for how your assets will be distributed upon your death or incapacitation. As a nation, we are reluctant to talk about inheritance. Through…

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Applying for a three-month mortgage payment holiday – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Mortgage borrowers who have been adversely affected financially by coronavirus (COVID-19) may want to consider requesting to take a mortgage payment holiday on their residential or buy-to-let mortgage for up to three months to help their financial situation. The Government’s policy is aimed at easing the stress some borrowers will be facing during the pandemic outbreak.

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How would you pay the bills if you were sick, injured and couldn’t work? – BLOG – Martin Cornell

Income protection insurance There is a growing unease about the economic fallout of coronavirus (COVID-19), with many businesses laying off contractors and putting staff on extended leave, as well as natural worries about contracting the disease. What this crisis has shown is that being unable to work can quickly turn our world upside down. No…

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COVID-19 has made more people think about the importance of making a will – BLOG – Karen Last

What are you waiting for? The coronavirus pandemic has made more people think about just how crucial it is to make a Will and to ensure that it is kept up to date. Everyone should have a Will, but it is even more important if you have children; you own property or have savings, investments,…

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Pension scammers: spot the warning signs – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Don’t lose your life savings or be persuaded to invest in high-risk schemes Don’t let scammers enjoy your hard-earned pension proceeds. Anyone can be the victim of a pension scam, no matter how savvy they think they are. It’s important that everyone can spot the warning signs. Latest figures show that nearly one in ten…

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Will I have enough money through retirement? – BLOG – Adrian Firth

Mismatch between retirement expectations and actual reality Retirement is a chance to do more of what you enjoy. When it comes to planning for your retirement, you need to think about what you’d like your life to be like. There is no set retirement age in the UK any longer, so you can carry on…

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Financial support – Martin Cornell – BLOG

Looking after your lifestyle during a time of uncertainty Nobody wants to worry about how they’ll pay the bills if they become sick or injured and can’t work. But illness or injury can strike at any time and can lead to serious financial trouble. The latest government figures[1] report the dramatic increase in the likelihood of…

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What’s your magic number? – Adrian Firth – BLOG

Your five-year plan to a comfortable retirement Retiring is a huge life event. And the very concept of retirement is changing with phased retirement becoming more common. The way we access our pension is now a lot more flexible, and it’s no secret that in the UK we’re living longer than ever before which means…

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The Launch of the Scottish Widows Women and Retirement Report 2019 – BLOG – Karen Last

Karen Last attended an event hosted by journalist and TV presenter Kirsty Wark recently where the 2019 Scottish Widows Women and Retirement Report was launched.  Karen found some of the findings made very interesting reading so we have a brief resume below. Scottish Widows first began surveying women’s retirement preparations 15 years ago.  There has…

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5 Reasons Entrepreneurs should have Private Medical Insurance – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

(and why it’s provision should always be included in your Business Plan) Establishing a new company can be a very exciting time for you, your family and your employees and undoubtedly it can also be a stressful experience.  In and amongst the plethora of protection policies that you will need to implement, from income to…

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Retirement longevity – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Your destiny is now in your own hands If you are in your 50s or 60s, your thoughts are probably turning towards retirement. When should you retire? How much money do you need? In trying to answer these questions, you face a problem. Because of longevity trends, we are on average living longer. With longevity…

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Goldilocks economy – Martin Cornell – BLOG

How to prepare your portfolio for inflation Very low or very high inflation is damaging to the economy. The aim is usually to try and keep the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) at 2% in order to maintain a ‘Goldilocks Economy’ – not too hot, not too cold. Over time, inflation can reduce the value of…

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Inheritance Tax – Adrian Firth – BLOG

Inheritance Tax No longer something that only affects the very wealthy Inheritance Tax is no longer something that only affects the very wealthy, but the good news is that there are ways to limit the amount of Inheritance Tax your family may potentially face. When someone dies, Inheritance Tax is charged on their estate above…

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In brief – self-employed want government pension saving help – Karen Last – BLOG

Self-employed workers want government help to save for retirement and would back new laws to expand auto-enrolment or to make saving for retirement compulsory, new research shows[1]. More than half of self-employed workers questioned want the law changed to encourage them to save for retirement – 27% would support the expansion of auto-enrolment to cover…

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New tax year – the key changes you need to know – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

You want to pay the minimum amount of tax legally possible. We want that for you, too. The 2019/20 tax year started on 6 April, and in general taxpayers will have more money in their pocket after increases to allowances came into force. However, there are a few losers, in particular those selling shares and…

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Keeping it in the family – Martin Cornell – BLOG

Careful financial planning can reduce or even eliminate the Inheritance Tax payable   Inter-generational planning helps you put financial measures in place to benefit your children later in life, and possibly even your future grandchildren, so it’s important to start planning early. You may want to keep an element of control when passing on your…

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Seven things you didn’t know a financial adviser could do for you – BLOG

Financial advisers used to have bowler hats, carry a briefcase and sometimes wear a carnation (think Mr Banks in Mary Poppins).  But a lot has changed since then. We no longer use a mangle to dry our clothes, send messages via fax machine, or rent videos from shops. Likewise, financial advisers no longer just want…

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Pension Unlocking – Leigh Clayden – BLOG

Treasury enjoying a tax bonanza from pension withdrawals Following changes introduced in April 2015, you now have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how and when you can take money from your pension pot. You can use your pension pot(s) if you’re 55 or over and have a pension based on how much…

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BLOG from SIFA – Lasting Powers of Attorney – avoid a lifetime legacy of worry

Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney in the UK Around 31 million British adults have no will according to a recent survey by Which? There is a regional split in those without a will – 42% of adults in England say they have a will, 35% in Wales and 31% in Scotland.  The reasons quoted…

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Protecting your identity – Adrian Firth – BLOG

Common ways fraudsters can steal your personal information Identity theft is frighteningly widespread. No one can prevent all identity theft, and cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated in their attempts to steal your identity. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes in your name….

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Independence plan – Karen Last – BLOG

Least financially resilient group delay life milestones due to financial insecurity Life can get complicated when you hit your early thirties, which means your finances are starting to get serious. You might be in the middle of countless transitions, like moving up in your career, starting a business, buying a home, getting married, having children…and…

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Key aspects influencing retirement decisions – BLOG – Leigh Clayden

Should I stay, or should I go now?!  Whatever you want to do when you retire, the better prepared you are, the more rewarding it will be. It’s important to assess the key aspects that will influence your retirement, as the decisions you make can have a real impact on your savings. There are some important considerations…

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Impact investing with positive outcomes – Karen Last – BLOG

Impact investing without sacrificing returns or profits For those looking to make the world a better place, but not wanting to sacrifice returns or profits, impact investing aims to support a positive social or environmental impact as well as looking to achieve compelling financial returns at the heart of sustainable investing. The term ‘impact investing’…

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This time next year we’ll be ‘million-heirs’ – Martin Cornell – BLOG

Larger individual wealth and expectation of substantial inheritances With estate planning, you can decide what happens to your money and possessions – even your pets – if something happens to you. But estate planning is useful in other ways too: it can help you minimise any Inheritance Tax liability and ensure your wishes are carried…

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Planning for a bigger retirement income – BLOG Adrian Firth

Looking forward to having more time to explore faraway places Today, with more Britons living longer and healthier lives, the concept of retirement is much different to what it was only one generation ago. For each retiree, retirement is different. Perhaps you’re looking forward to having more time to explore faraway places, or maybe you…

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Cultivating the art of patience – Martin Cornell BLOG

Sticking with a long-term commitment to your investments If you want to give your investments the best chance of earning a return, then it’s a good idea to cultivate the art of patience. The best returns tend to come from sticking with a long-term commitment to your investments. The longer you’re prepared to stay invested,…

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People delaying retirement – Leigh Clayden

Access to health and well-being support in the workplace There is now a clear trend of people working for longer and delaying their retirement. Although some are staying in work out of financial necessity, others want to keep working because they value the mental and social stimulation their job brings. One of the primary concerns…

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BLOG from SIFA – Interest rates are set to rise

Interest rates are set to rise. The Bank of England has signalled its intention to raise interest rates, and other central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, are likely to be making a similar response to rising inflationary pressures.  After years of easy money following the financial crisis ten years ago, they are concerned to…

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BLOG FROM SIFA – Market timing and “ETFs”

“Exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) make no sense unless they are vehicles for market timing”.  So wrote investment commentator John Authers in the Financial Times on 24 February 2018.  So how does one square the fact that ETFs have become the “hottest investment product” with the FT’s comment that timing the market is generally regarded as…

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Powers of Attorney fee refunds

If you registered a power of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 you could be eligible for a partial refund from the Ministry of Justice. The level of the refund will depend on the fees that were paid and will include 0.5% interest.  This applies to both Lasting Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers…

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Equity Release – want or need? – Karen Last

Those considering equity release will generally fall into one of two categories…. Firstly, they need the money for regular or occasional expenses, and have no way of finding that money elsewhere. Secondly, they want to use the money built up in their home before they pass on. (It is useful to note that clients can…

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Don’t worry, be happy – how to build a sustainable retirement income plan – Martin Cornell

How to build a sustainable retirement income plan It is impossible to consider retirement, and our experience of it, without also considering how we’ll pay for it. But almost 30% of people over the age of 55 are unsure if they will be able to retire on their current savings, according to new research[1]. Four…

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Equity Release – friend or foe? – Karen Last

Equity release is a much-maligned subject. Sadly, older style equity release mortgages were not as clear and transparent as modern equivalents and they received some pretty damning press coverage. The good news is that they are a heavily regulated product now, and only specially trained and authorised advisers can give advice in this field. The…

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BLOG – Get ‘wrapped’ up – autonomy to make your own investment decisions – Leigh Clayden

Autonomy to make your own investment decisions Some people don’t want a pension company deciding how their pension savings are invested – they want to control where their money goes and how it grows. For people wanting to have autonomy to make their own investment decisions with their retirement savings, a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)…

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BLOG SIFA News – The value of on-shore trusts

On-shore trusts were very popular for family wealth planning until 2006, when inheritance tax law was changed. Until that date, the only transfers of assets into trust which incurred a charge to tax were transfers into discretionary trusts, which give trustees the right to select the beneficiaries.  Now, any transfer into trust other than a…

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BLOG SIFA News – How HMRC catches cheats

HMRC’s efforts to clamp down on the “hidden economy” focusing on small businesses and particular professions which might benefit from undeclared income. The Financial Times has reported that the number of UK wealth managers providing offshore investment services to their clients reduced by 20% between 2015 and 2016, although two-thirds of the major managers still…

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BLOG SIFA News – Tax advantages of marriage

The number of unmarried cohabiting couples more than doubled in the 20 years between 1996 and 2006, from 1.5 million to 3.2 million. However, research commissioned by law firm Mills & Reeve found that 35% of a sample of over 1,000 cohabiting couples either assumed that they had the same rights as married couples or…

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BLOG SIFA News – Never had it so good?

In 1957 the then Prime minister Harold Macmillan told his electorate “You’ve never had it so good”. In retrospect, the claim has been vindicated by subsequent experience, though it could be said to have sown the seeds of the general election result. As Richard Buxton of Old Mutual has pointed out, the fact is that…

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BLOG Untying the knot. Divorcees twice as likely to have no savings – Martin Cornell

A daunting part of a separation or divorce for most couples is sorting out the finances.  Financial disputes can be a major stumbling block in the divorce process and could take longer than the divorce itself. This is the business side of divorce, and it may be the most important financial event of your life….

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BLOG SIFA News – trusts, pension transfers, premium bonds and reclaiming expenses

Reasons for setting up a trust A trust is a legal arrangement which enables a person (‘the settlor’) to transfer the legal ownership of property, shares or cash to another person (‘the trustee’) to hold on behalf of a third person or persons (‘the beneficiary’). The main reason for setting up trusts is for the…

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BLOG Getting your affairs in order – Karen Last

Getting your affairs in order – what you have and what you want to happen to it Everyone should have a Will, but it is even more important if you have children, you own property or have savings, investments, insurance policies or you own a business. The very act of having a Will drawn up…

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BLOG Looking to the future

Cost of essentials is the most common perceived threat to over-55s While the rising cost of essentials is the most common perceived threat to over-55s’ standard of living over the next five years, concerns over falling returns on savings have risen to the highest point in almost three years, Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report reveals….

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BLOG Mid-life savings crisis – Martin Cornell

Mid-life savings crisis – it’s good to talk about your options Put simply, retirement planning is about how you look at your future, but more than a million Britons are facing a ‘mid-life savings crisis’ as they near the age of 40 with no retirement savings, according to research from Zurich. A third (33%) of…

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BLOG Navigating your investment options – Leigh Clayden

Navigating your investment options – how professional financial advice can prove invaluable Few of us really have the time or inclination to understand the vast number of different investment products available on the market and consider what the best options are to suit our particular objectives. To do this effectively, it would need to become…

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BLOG The Autumn Statement in brief from SIFA

The new Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was brief, and Philip Hammond made clear that this will be his last.  He does not favour the idea of flagging up in advance changes which are likely to be formalised in the Spring Budget.  Nevertheless, the Statement provided food for thought. Pensions Only one change was announced in relation…

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BLOG Securing more of your wealth

Securing more of your wealth – you don’t have to be wealthy for your estate to be liable for Inheritance Tax Protecting your estate is ultimately about securing more of your wealth for your loved ones and planning for what will happen after your death to make the lives of your loved ones much easier….

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BLOG Why now is the time to review your pension

Why now is the time to review your pension – taking an active interest in your retirement savings Millions of savers currently spend very little time reviewing their pensions, with more than a quarter of savers (28%) admitting to never reviewing their retirement savings, while almost a fifth (19%) of those with a pension said…

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BLOG Retirement Freedoms

Retirement freedoms – what are the income options for your pension?  Deciding what to do with your pension savings is an important step we will all have to take. Following changes introduced in April 2015, you now have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how and when you can take money from your…

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BLOG Financial planning for the future

Financial planning for the future – why it’s important to know your start and end points Reaching wealth goals and achieving personal ambitions are major objectives of the financial planning process. In order to make plans for the future, you need to know where you are today and where you want to be in the…

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Preserving wealth for future generations BLOG

Preserving wealth for future generations – should you review your situation with further changes on the horizon? Inheritance Tax (IHT) affects not just the very rich – other people may be liable without realising it. Few taxes are quite as emotive – or as politicised – as IHT. Give your family lasting benefits The structures…

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Lifetime ISA v pension v ISA BLOG

Lifetime ISA v pension v ISA – as from April 2017, a new variant of the ISA will become available to investors under the age of 40, namely the Lifetime ISA, or ‘LISA’. Investors’ contributions will be limited to £4,000 p.a., but unlike standard ISAs, LISA investments will be topped-up by the Government with a…

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How will the new mortgage regulations affect me? BLOG

On the 21st March 2016 new EU-wide rules will come into force that are designed to protect consumers who are taking out credit agreements for residential property. These rules, known as the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD), are far reaching and driven by two key considerations: That an owner-occupier’s own home is at risk, so there…

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Offshore shenanigans BLOG

Offshore shenagigans – politicians are inevitably exposed to public scrutiny, and times have changed since a Chancellor of the Exchequer, none other than Winston Churchill, was able to run up massive debts and unpaid bills without public knowledge or censure.  The eternal truth, however, was expressed in the words of the press Baron Lord Northcliffe,…

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Q: I’m self-employed. How does this impact on my mortgage application?

Adrian Firth, Clayden Financial IFA, answers this question posed by Property Writer, Charlotte Smith-Jarvis   (East Anglian Daily Times) Being self-employed brings many challenges and with 4.62 million people now registered as self-employed, an increasing number are experiencing difficulties in obtaining mortgage funding. On April 26, 2014, the regulator (the Financial Conduct Authority) introduced new rules for…

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Brexit: the financial implications BLOG

Brexit: the financial implications – highlighting the uncertainty around the EU Referendum The outcome of the In/Out EU referendum on 23 June is far from certain. The bookmakers still suggest that the ‘In’ campaign should prove successful, but, with months of political posturing ahead, we have been considering what the financial implications of a Brexit…

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Estate Matters BLOG

Estate Maggers: Structuring your affairs efficiently means starting the correct planning early enough Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable by some people that, for the most part, could have been avoided. If you want your estate to go to your loved ones with the minimum amount of IHT payable, you should obtain professional advice. There are…

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Pension Planning Apathy BLOG

More than ten million pots are being left largely un-monitored Individuals are living longer, meaning that savings have to fund a longer period of retirement. However, there has been a well-documented decline in pensions saving over time. Many people do not think about retirement as they consider it’s too far in the future and almost…

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