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How many types of ISA can you name? (Clue: You will need more than the fingers on one hand!)

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) have come a long way over the past 18 years, to the extent that there are now multiple versions available. Knowing them all will not only come in useful at a future pub quiz, but could be very useful when it comes to your financial planning. With the maximum annual contribution now £20,000, there are more options than ever available to you, giving you plenty of tax-free places to keep your money. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to…
23rd June 2017

The Queen’s speech: How will it affect your personal finances?

The 2017 Queen’s speech was delivered after a General Election that has left the Conservative party without a majority. This has forced Theresa May to drop many of the big manifesto promises. So, what stays? What has been cut? And how will your personal finances be affected? Brexit Unsurprisingly, Brexit dominated much of the Queen’s speech, with eight of the 27 bills being brought forward covering subjects such as: Repeal Bill: Introduced to convert EU law into UK law. Customs Bill: Ensures that the UK…
22nd June 2017

Six reasons why your house isn’t your pension!

Those people who know me (or who frankly take one look at my photo on our website) will soon realise I don’t have much hair. Part of the reason, aside from genetics, is that every time I hear someone say: “my house is my pension” I feel compelled to pull out a lump in frustration. I tend to hear it most often when house prices are rising. That means, over the past few years, I’ve heard it a lot. The Nationwide House Price Index shows…
16th June 2017

Seven ways to cut the Inheritance Tax paid when you die

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax that raises more emotion than most. To some, paying tax on your assets after death, when taxes have been paid during your life to accumulate them, is just wrong. For others, Inheritance Tax is a way of redistributing wealth, avoiding privilege and power being passed from generation to generation. These differences were never starker than in June’s General Election; with the Conservatives promising to retain the status quo, whilst the Labour manifesto contained plans to push up Inheritance Tax…
9th June 2017

What’s the biggest threat to your investments? (Hint: it’s probably not what you think it is)

If we asked you what the biggest risk to your investments were, how would you answer: Inflation? Trump? Stock market crashes? War? Recessions? Brexit? Oil prices? Global warming? If you answered “yes” to any of those you would, we are afraid, be wrong. The answer is you. Ok, before you take offence, maybe not you, at least if you have listened to us, but investors generally, and more specifically the decisions they make. Markets, by their very nature, rise and fall in value. The natural…
16th May 2017

Eight things to do in the years before you retire

We all have different reasons for calling time on our working life, or at least slowing down. Maybe you want to see the world, experience new things or spend more time with the grandchildren. You might just have had enough of the 9-5 grind; it’s not only Dolly Parton who was looking for a change! Whatever the reason, retirement is probably the biggest financial decision of your life. It needs to be planned carefully, a process which should ideally start many years before you decide…
16th May 2017

How has Inheritance Tax changed?

George Osborne proposed, well before he became Chancellor in 2010, that the Inheritance Tax nil rate band be increased so most people would never pay it on their main residence. A few weeks ago, that started to become a reality. Of course, the irony is that Mr Osborne is no longer Chancellor and a promise that started before he got the job only became reality (in part, at least) after he had left. How do the new changes work? We each have a nil rate…
9th May 2017

Pension and dividend tax changes dropped as election looms

Confusion reigned this week as the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, revealed that two measures previously announced in his Budget will not go ahead. For now, anyway. Mr Hammond’s Budget, delivered in early March, will be remembered for the proposed National Insurance rise for self-employed workers. A few days later, following protests and a media backlash, he changed his mind. It now seems that two other measures, which would have affected pensioners and shareholders, will now not go ahead. Contribution cut Prior to the Budget, the Money…
27th April 2017

Why a pension of £1 million might not be enough to retire on

Does a pension pot of £1 million make you rich? Better off than most for sure, but rich? That’s probably a debate for another day. What is certain though, is that building up a large pension triggers several problems. Many of which you might not be aware of. Here are three which spring immediately to mind, and the solutions. Problem 1: A tax on your pension fund One of the key reasons pensions are attractive is their tax-efficiency. Contributions qualify for tax-relief and the growth…
21st April 2017

How will it affect your personal finances?

The answer to that question depends on two things; the outcome of the election and how you react to the inevitable instability it will cause. At this early stage, the most likely outcome seems to be a Conservative victory, with an increased majority. At least that’s what a certain Mrs May, of Number 10 Downing Street, has gambled on. Logically, if this is the case, Mrs May, and the Chancellor Philip Hammond, will be emboldened to drive through changes to domestic policy, whilst negotiating Brexit.
20th April 2017

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