Making solid financial resolutions

Grow your money and live the life you want

The New Year is the perfect time to overhaul your life for the better, and one excellent place to start is by making solid financial resolutions that can help get you closer to your money goals, whether it’s increasing your retirement savings or setting enough money aside for a down payment on a house.

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Reach your financial goals

Helping you realise your retirement vision

We’ve now entered a new age of retirement planning with the introduction of pension freedoms. Your retirement is likely to be the most important time in your life you’ll even plan for – you could be retired for 20 years or more.

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Will you make provision for all those you hold dear?

Getting your affairs in order and planning what you want to pass on to loved ones

Writing a will may seem daunting, and with everything else we should be thinking about it becomes just another chore on the to-do list. It’s especially important for cohabitating couples to have a will, as the surviving partner does not automatically inherit any estate or possessions left behind.

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Sleepwalking into retirement

Lack of pension knowledge among UK adults

The UK’s middle-aged workers could be sleepwalking into retirement poverty. Four in ten people aged between 40 and 65 cannot accurately estimate their total pension savings for retirement.

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‘Sandwich’ generation

Not having enough money for retirement is the biggest concern

Average life expectancy has generally been increasing, and for the ‘sandwich’ generation, saving for their retirement is clearly a big concern – and with plans to contribute financially to support their children and parents, it’s perhaps no wonder.

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ISA returns of the year

Taking control over where your money is invested tax-efficiently

A new tax year is nearly upon us – and that means, for all diligent savers and investors, you should make sure that you take full advantage of your current Individual Savings Account (ISA) tax-efficient allowance.

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Do you have a financial back-up plan this year?

Be prepared if life throws something unexpected your way

Unforeseen life events and circumstances can potentially impact your finances in a number of ways. Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK and it is becoming more common among those of working age.

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Planning the future you want

Pension freedoms bring optimism and adventure to retirement

Will I ever slow down? Do I have the right plans in place? Retirement is a chance to do more of what you enjoy. figures released as part of LV=’s tenth annual State of Retirement report[1] indicate that, far from winding down, retirees are making the most of their time, with signs that pension freedoms have made people even more likely to feel this way. Half (49%) of retirees now say they view their post-work years as an exciting phase of life, with many using their free time to learn, see and experience new things.

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Investing for the future

Higher inflation and near-zero interest rates mean the responsible thing to do could be to invest rather than to save

Many of us have been brought up to believe that saving is the responsible thing to do. But in today’s environment of low interest rates and rising inflation, savers may need to consider becoming investors to prevent the erosion of their assets.

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Countdown to retirement

Matching the living standards of those who have already retired

Retirement can mean different things to different people. Understanding how much it will take to provide an income for yourself and potentially a spouse, while also ensuring you are able to leave something behind for your loved ones after your death, is essential. Continue reading…

Millennial outlook

Pension saving high up on the list of workplace priorities

Workers from the so-called ‘millennial generation’ are putting pension saving high up their list of workplace priorities. Nearly six in ten (57%) people in their first ten years of work considered the quality of their current employer’s pension scheme before deciding whether to take the job, and they will also assess any potential new employer’s pension scheme before moving jobs in the future, according to research from Prudential[1].

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The bank that likes to say ‘yes’

Repeated payouts to children could have a detrimental impact on your own long-term saving

Many parents who are in a position to do so would want to provide financial help to their children. However, in many cases, this financial support ends up being gifts from Mum and Dad rather than the loans from the Bank of Mum and Dad they start out as.

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Funding your future lifestyle

Think about the level of risk you might be willing to take with your hard-earned cash

We all dream of a more prosperous financial future, but how do you turn this into a reality? With interest rates on savings accounts stuck at low levels, it’s difficult to get any real growth on your money over the long term.

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Retirement roulette

Millions of older workers pin hopes on downsizing, inheritance or lottery win

Older workers are finding themselves caught in a position of retirement roulette, as many are relying on external factors such as a downsizing, an inheritance or even a lottery win to be able to afford a comfortable retirement, according to Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report.

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Frugal habits!

How our spending might change in retirement

Living longer is a good thing, right? Most people would probably agree with that. Living longer means more time to enjoy all the world has to offer and more time to spend with cherished family and friends – and everyone wants at some point to stop working and enjoy their retirement.

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‘Miss List’

With retirement in your sights, what do you think you’ll miss?

Spending time with family, easily having a shower or bath and driving a car are the top day-to-day moments that most people would miss if they could no longer do them. However, seven in ten (69%) people – over 36 million[1] people – fail to associate good health with being able to do activities like these, according to research released by Bupa Health Clinics which surveyed over 4,000 people across the UK.

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Pensions in divorce

Preparing for an independent future should a relationship break down

When disputes arise within families, emotions run high and rash decisions are made. This is why divorce is an arena fraught with acrimony. But seven in TEN couples don’t consider pensions during divorce proceedings, leaving some women short-changed by £5 billion[1] every year. Research shows that more than half of married people (56%) would fight for a fair share of any jointly owned property, and 36% would want to split their combined savings.

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Inheritance Tax

Planning could save a family hundreds of thousands of pounds payable

Effective estate preservation planning could save a family a potential Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds. IHT planning has become more important than ever, following the Government’s decision to freeze the £325,000 lifetime exemption, with inflation eroding its value every year and subjecting more families to IHT.

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Residence nil-rate band

Owning a residence which is left to direct descendants

The Inheritance Tax residence nil-rate band (RNRB) came into effect on 6 April 2017. The RNRB provides an additional nil-rate band where an individual dies on or after 6 April 2017, owning a residence which they leave to direct descendants. During the 2017/2018 tax year, the maximum RNRB available is £100,000. This rises in £25,000 increments in subsequent tax years until it reaches £175,000 in 2020/2021, after which it will be indexed in line with the Consumer Prices Index.

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Lifetime transfers

Potential implications of such gifts with regard to Inheritance Tax

Some people like to transfer some of their assets whilst they are alive – these are known as ‘lifetime transfers’. Whilst we are all free to do this whenever we want, it is important to be aware of the potential implications of such gifts with regard to Inheritance Tax. The two main types are potentially exempt transfers (PETs) and chargeable lifetime transfers (CLTs).

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Making a Will

Failure to take action could compromise the long-term financial security of the family

If a person wants to be sure their wishes will be met after they die, then it’s important to have a Will. A Will is the only way to make sure savings and possessions forming an estate go to the people and causes that the person cares about. Unmarried partners, including same-sex couples who don’t have a registered civil partnership, have no right to inherit if there is no Will. One of the main reasons also for drawing up a Will is to mitigate a potential Inheritance Tax liability. Continue reading…

Trusts

‘Ring-fencing’ assets to minimise or mitigate Inheritance Tax

Appropriate trusts can be used for minimising or mitigating Inheritance Tax estate taxes and can offer other benefits as part of an integrated and coordinated approach to managing wealth. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Once the trust has been created, a person can use it to ‘ring-fence’ assets.

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Lasting power of attorney

Taking control of decisions even in the event you can’t make them yourself

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) enables individuals to take control of decisions that affect them, even in the event that they can’t make those decisions for themselves. Without them, loved ones could be forced to endure a costly and lengthy process to obtain authority to act for an individual who has lost mental capacity.

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Wealth preservation

Planning steps to consider when passing wealth in the most tax-efficient way

Whether you have earned your wealth, inherited it or made shrewd investments, you will want to ensure that as little of it as possible ends up in the hands of HM Revenue & Customs. With careful planning and professional financial advice, it is possible to take preventative action to either reduce or mitigate a persons beneficiaries’ Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill – or mitigate it altogether. These are some of the main areas to consider. Continue reading…

Protect the things that mean the most to you

Cohabiting families risking their family’s financial future

The lifestyle of our loved ones may be seriously compromised if we die. However, very worryingly, more than 2.4 million cohabiting families across the UK – the fastest-growing family type in the country – do not have life insurance, potentially leaving their loved ones open to financial problems once they pass away, according to new analysis[1]. Continue reading…

Turbocharge your pension

Will you be able to afford the retirement lifestyle you want?

If you’re still working, what kind of life would you like to lead when you’ve said goodbye to the 9-to-5? Saving for your retirement is essential if you want the financial freedom to enjoy your later years. After all, you’ll still want to do all the things you love now – and probably a few others too. Continue reading…

Growing care costs

Ageing population faces significant funding crisis

As part of Budget 2017, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an extra £2 billion of funding for social care and paved the way for major changes to how people pay for it. But people in the UK are still underestimating the cost of elderly care by £7 billion every year[1], according to new research from Scottish Widows’ independent think tank, the Centre for the Modern Family. Continue reading…

Don’t worry, be happy

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]. Continue reading…

Market sentiment

Reaching your long-term investment goals

It is impossible for investors to predict the future. Short-term losses can be unsettling, but holding steady through the ups and downs is the best way to reach your long-term investment goals. A key to successful investing is to remain focused on your long-term objectives and not let short-term trends distract you. Holding onto your investments when times get tough is a proven strategy for staying on track. Continue reading…

Your wealth. Your legacy

Families shying away from difficult conversations

If you have significant assets, you may be wondering whether Inheritance Tax (IHT) affects you. Worryingly, some families appear to be shying away from difficult conversations, as almost half (47%) of UK adults say they have never discussed inheritance matters, according to new research[1]. Continue reading…