Sailing the Seven ISAs – Without Becoming Lost

Posted by siteadmin on Friday 1st of July 2016

There are currently seven types of ISA available to savers, but what are the pros and cons of each?

Basic ISA
An old classic, which comes with a tax-free wrapper, so you don’t pay tax on your income – or your returns. We think everyone should have one, and switching providers helps you remain on the best rates available. If you have a stocks and shares ISA, you can leave the money invested for 5+ years.

Junior ISA
Available to everyone who is aged under 18. You can save up to £4,080 per year, tax free, for each child. Money can remain in the...

Taking a Long-term Investor’s View of Independence from the EU

Posted by siteadmin on Friday 1st of July 2016

On 24 June 2016, as a nation we voted to leave the EU. FTSE100 share values predictably fell by around 10% when British markets opened in the morning, but by lunchtime they’d already recovered half of that fall.

There will be short-term financial market volatility, but pundits are divided over what the long-term effect on trading with European countries will be.

Future-proof your investment portfolio as much as possible
It’s important to realise that many of the recent market fluctuations have been fuelled by influences other than the EU re...

One of a Few to Become a Chartered and Listed Specialist

Posted by siteadmin on Friday 24th of June 2016

Dominic Andersen, director of Scottsdale MoneyWISE has become one of the UK’s few financial advisers to formally graduate as a Chartered Financial Planner, and to be officially listed as a Later Life Specialist Adviser.

Becoming chartered and a listed specialist means studying five substantial modules and two smaller ones. These are topped off with seven exams. Achieving chartered status is higher than industry benchmark accreditation levels for quality of service and expertise, but becoming a listed specialist is beyond even chartered requ...

Parents: University Funding

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

The £9,000 a year maximum tuition fee for new students in England and Wales is for now a fact of student life. Even the limited maintenance grants system in England will end for new students in the 2016/17 academic year, meaning that all maintenance assistance will be by way of loans.

If you have children likely to go to university, it makes sense to consider your funding options.  For example, JISAs are a potentially valuable tool to build up a fund by age 18. For those who prefer a greater degree of control over the student's access to th...

Parents: Tax-free Childcare Payment

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

A new payment for working parents was announced just before the 2013 Budget, and was originally planned to be phased in from autumn 2015. This has now been put back to early 2017, when it will start to be phased in for parents of the youngest children. The new scheme will open to all eligible parents by the end of that year. It will pay 20% of childcare costs up to £2,000 per child, per year for children under 12. Over time the new system will replace the existing childcare vouchers system, which will now remain open for new entrants until A...

Parents: Child Benefit

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

The High Income Child Benefit Charge – the child benefit tax – came into being a little over three years ago. If you or your partner has income of £60,000 or more in the current tax year, there will be a tax charge equal to your total child benefit unless you have taken a decision to stop benefit payment.

Between £50,000 and £60,000 of income, the tax charge is 1% of benefit for each £100 of income above £50,000. The result can be high marginal rates of tax in the £50,000-£60,000 income band. If you have three children eligible for child be...

Retiree/At Retirement: Drawing Your Pension

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

If you are due to start drawing an income from your pension plan, make sure that you take advice about your options. When the new rules were first introduced the government launched Pension Wise to help people through the complexities, but this service only offers guidance, not personal advice: you will still have to make the final decisions. The Pension Wise guidance does not attempt to integrate pension choices with your other financial planning, eg estate planning.

If you think how long you might live with the cost of a wrong choice, it ...

Retiree/At Retirement: Interest Rates

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

Interest Rates: Seven years of half a per cent with no end in sight

When the Bank of England base rate was cut to 0.5% on 5 March 2009, nobody anticipated that it would remain unchanged for the following seven years. Even now, the latest (February) Bank of England Inflation Report says that the money markets are not anticipating a rate rise until the end of this year with base rate failing to reach 1% until 2019. The recent cuts in interest rates to below zero in the Eurozone and Japan and a gloomier economic outlook have prompted the gover...

Retiree/At Retirement: The Pension Landscape in 2016

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

There have been many changes to pensions in the past few years, with another significant set of reforms about to take effect. These include:

  • Three reductions in the standard lifetime allowance bring it down from £1.8m in 2011/12 to £1.25m now and £1m from 6 April 2016. This allowance effectively sets a tax-efficient ceiling for the value of pension benefits.
  • Further increases to State Pension Age (SPA), both legislated for and planned. For women, SPA is now about 63.
  • New rules, which have given much greater flexibility in drawing benefi...

Employees: Pensions

Posted by siteadmin on Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

The pensions landscape has altered dramatically in recent years and will continue to change:

  • If you are not a member of a pension scheme offered by your employer, then at some point within the next two years you are likely to find yourself automatically enrolled in a pension arrangement, with contributions deducted from your pay and added to by your employer. You will be able to opt out, but generally this will only make sense if you have elected with HMRC for some form of transitional protection (including the new fixed protection to be ...