Tips to minimise the tax you pay

Have you utilised all your year-end tax planning deadline opportunities?

As we near the 2017/18 tax year end on 5 April, if appropriate to your particular situation, we’ve provided some tax planning tips to help you maximise the use of your various tax allowances and minimise the tax you pay.

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Wealth preservation

Reducing Inheritance Tax means taking action now

Without professional advice and careful financial planning, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can become the single largest beneficiary of your estate following your death.

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Financial freedom

Creating and maintaining the right investment strategy

Our life is an endless series of daily choices, and how we manage those choices determines the outcome of our life. We all want financial freedom, but how will we achieve it? Financial goal-setting is the key to building wealth.

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New lease of life

Pensioners embracing the benefits of retirement and new-found time

As with any new life stage, planning often helps a smooth transition from the old to the new. Preparing properly for anything new requires planning and commitment. Spending time on planning now will ensure you enjoy the retirement you’ve worked hard to achieve.

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Market matters

Don’t let current global uncertainties affect your financial planning

It’s important not to let current global uncertainties affect your financial planning for the years ahead. People who stop their investment planning, particularly during market downturns, often miss out on opportunities to invest at lower prices.

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Why being over 40 is the new mid-20s

Healthier lifestyles and feeling happier about financial planning for retirement

An increasing number of middle-aged Britons are getting healthier as they exercise more and eat better than they did when they were younger. Over-40s are turning to healthier lifestyles, with more than half rating themselves as more health-conscious than they were in their mid-20s, according to new research[1].

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Beware of the scammers

Fraudsters employ increasingly advanced psychological tactics to persuade victims to invest

An estimated £1.2bn is lost to investment scams each year, with share sales, wine investments, land banking and carbon credits commonly used by fraudsters to target potential investors.

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Financial Fitness

Time to track and celebrate your wealth goals?

With the Christmas festivities now a distant memory, money matters are firmly on people’s minds this year according to recent research[1].

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How to make the most of your retirement

Steps you could take to increase your eventual income

Even if retirement isn’t far away, there are steps you could take to increase your eventual retirement income. This applies both to your State Pension entitlement as well as to any personal or workplace pension pots.

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Crypto currencies

Don’t believe the hype

Digital or crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple have been causing a financial frenzy over the past months. Bitcoin is the oldest and most well-known crypto currency created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.

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Life events

What will influence your retirement income needs?

Retirement is a time for you to do the things you’ve always wanted. When considering your retirement income needs, you need to consider the types of events you would like to happen after you retire that may impact your budget. Thinking about these early could help you when you’re deciding the best way to take your pension savings.

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Avoiding hidden dangers in retirement

Make sure you don’t run out of money or face a reduced standard of living

Increasingly, more and more pensioners are keeping much of their pension invested after they retire. This means they’re faced with two very different risks when deciding what to do with their savings in retirement in a world of ‘pension freedoms’. Since April 2015, people who reach retirement have had much greater flexibility over how they use their pension funds to pay for their later years.

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Financial resilience

How prepared are you for any financial shocks?

Over three million working couples are classed as ‘double income, no option’ (DINOs), which means they are potentially financially vulnerable if one of the two loses their earnings.

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Creating a financial roadmap

Planning for success can be complicated in today’s world

No two people have identical financial circumstances, which is why it’s essential you have a custom financial planning solution that meets your individual needs and goals. Planning for financial success can be complicated in today’s world. A broad knowledge of everything from complex retirement and investment products to risk management strategies and tax laws is required.

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Unwritten goals are just wishes

Making wise financial decisions and rewarding for your efforts

If you do not know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? This is very true about financial goals. You need to set financial goals to help you make wise financial decisions, and also as a reward for your efforts. Goals should be clear, concise, detailed and written down. Unwritten goals are just wishes.

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Reviewing your needs and goals

Take the time to think about what you really want from your investments

You need to consider what you really want from your investments. Knowing yourself, your needs and goals, and your appetite for risk is a good start.

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Investment objectives – a lifelong process

Protecting your wealth from market ups and downs

A lifestyle financial plan has no value unless it is properly implemented through an appropriate investment strategy. If you’ve got a sufficient amount of money in your cash savings account – enough to cover you for at least six months – and you want to see your money grow over the long term, then you should consider investing some of it.

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Understanding investment risk

Making informed decisions to improve your chances of achieving your financial goals

If you want to plan for your financial future, it helps to understand risk. If you understand the risks associated with investing and you know how much risk you are comfortable taking, you can make informed decisions and improve your chances of achieving your goals.

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Maintaining a diversified portfolio

Spreading risk between different kinds of investments

When you start investing, or even if you are a sophisticated investor, one of the most important tools available is diversification. Whether the market is bullish or bearish, maintaining a diversified portfolio is essential to any long-term investment strategy.

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Investing in a fund

Making investment decisions on behalf of the investor

There are many reasons to invest through a fund, rather than buying assets on your own. At a basic level, investing in a fund means having a fund manager make investment decisions on behalf of the investor.

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Pooled investment funds

Diverse range of funds that invest in different things with different strategies

Pooled investment funds – also known as ‘collective investment schemes’ – are a way of combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments and managed by a professional fund manager.

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With-profits funds

Stock market return linked but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares

If you save regularly or invest a lump sum using a life insurance policy, you might choose to invest in a with-profits fund. These aim to give you a return linked to the stock market but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares. However, they are complex and are not as popular a form of investing as they used to be.

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Investment trusts

Public company aiming to make money by investing in other companies

An investment trust is a public company that raises money by selling shares to investors, and then pools that money to buy and sell a wide range of shares and assets. Different investment trusts will have different aims and different mixes of investments.

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Investment bonds

Life insurance policies where you invest a lump sum in a variety of available funds

Investment bonds are life insurance policies where you invest a lump sum in a variety of available funds. Some investment bonds run for a fixed term, others have no set investment term. When you cash investment bonds in, how much you get back depends on how well – or how badly – the investment has done.

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Lifetime ISA

Helping you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time

The start of the tax year on 6 April 2017 saw the launch of the Lifetime ISA (LISA), which was announced in the 2016 Budget. This new type of ISA is designed to help you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time. To be eligible, you have to be aged between 18 and 39 years old (up until your 40th birthday).

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Stocks & Shares ISAs

Investing in a wide range of different tax-efficient investments

From July 2014, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) can now be used to hold stocks and shares or cash, or any combination of these, up to the current annual limit. An ISA is a ‘wrapper’ that can be used to help save you tax.

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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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