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Monthly Archives :

February 2021

Wealth needs managing now more than ever

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Achieving your financial goals through investing, and one size does not fit all Even as we hope to put the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the rearview mirror in 2021, uncertainty regarding both the virus and Brexit is likely to continue to weigh on the UK and global economies as well as on our personal finances during this year. While we hope volatility is less elevated this year, financial markets and the economy could still remain at the mercy of COVID-19 developments.

Setting specific investment goals is key

Understandably investment volatility can make it easy to focus on the short term and those temporary peaks and troughs. Setting your specific investment goals is important to keep you focused when you need it and will enable you to build a portfolio to get you where you want to be. Investment strategies should include a combination of various investment and fund types in order to obtain a balanced approach to risk and return. Maintaining a balanced approach is usually key to the chances of achieving your investment goals, while bearing in mind that at some point you will want access to your money.

Market factors that determine volatility

Market volatility can be nerve-racking, even for the most seasoned investors. Many different factors can impact market volatility, sending values of investments in either direction. Some of the most common factors that determine the volatility of the market include investor concern, political events, natural disasters and major events in foreign markets. But it’s important to keep matters in perspective. Avoid making rash decisions and focus on your long-term goals. Keep investing as you normally would. Also don’t attempt to pick the market bottom or the turnaround to jump in. Fight the impulse to think you can.

Riding out the market ups and downs

Investments don’t always go in a straight line – they have the potential to react and recover from short-term market events. Rather than looking at short-term volatility, it pays to look at the bigger picture. Over the long term, investments will usually deliver returns that allow you to grow your wealth. Looking at a twelve-month snapshot of your investment portfolio may show that investments have underperformed but look back over the last five or ten years, and you’ll hopefully be on track.

Tolerance for risk

One of the first steps in developing an investment strategy is to identify your tolerance for risk as an investor, referred to as your ‘risk profile’. Every investor has a different risk tolerance with
regard to their investment selections. Making investment decisions can depend on your personality as well as the goals you are investing towards. Weighing up the level of risk you’re willing to be exposed to can be challenging. Whether you’re reviewing your pension or building a personal investment portfolio, balancing risk is a crucial part of the process.

Well-allocated investment portfolio asset classes

During volatile times, asset classes such as stocks tend to fluctuate more, while lower-risk assets such as bonds or cash tend to be more stable. By allocating your investments among these different
asset classes, you can help smooth out the short-term ups and downs. Portfolio diversification may reduce the amount of volatility you experience by simultaneously spreading market risk across many different asset classes. By investing in several asset classes, you may improve your chances of participating in market gains and lessen the impact of poorly performing asset categories on
your overall portfolio returns.

Diversification to protect and grow investments

Diversify, diversify, diversify – in other words, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ – is sage investing advice. In addition to diversifying your portfolio by asset class, you should also diversify
by sector, size (market cap) and style (for example, growth versus value). Why? Because different sectors, sizes and styles take turns outperforming one another. By diversifying your holdings according to these parameters, you can smooth out short-term performance fluctuations and mitigate the impact of shifting economic conditions on your portfolio.

Time to reach your financial goals?

There’s always a purpose behind financial investments. What’s yours? For many of us, building a nest egg feels like a natural thing to do. Perhaps it’s performance. Or preserving your wealth for the next generation. Or maybe you want your investments to reflect your values. What’s important is that you understand your situation and your financial goals. To discuss accessible ways of investing that could help you make your money work harder, please contact us.

Don’t miss the ISA deadline

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Saving and investing for a future that matters. Yours. Each tax year, we are given an annual Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance. This can build up quickly, letting you accumulate a substantial tax-efficient gain in the long-term.

The ISA limit for 2020/21 is £20,000. The proceeds are shielded from Income Tax, tax on dividends and Capital Gains Tax. To utilise your ISA allowance you should do so before the deadline at midnight on Monday 5 April 2021. We’ve answered some typical questions we get asked about how best to use the ISA allowance to help make the most of the opportunities as this tax year draws to a close.

Q: Can I have more than one ISA?

A: You have a total tax-efficient allowance of £20,000 for this tax year. This means that the sum of money you invest across all your ISAs this tax year (Cash ISA, Stocks & Shares ISA, Innovative Finance ISA, or any combination of the three) cannot exceed £20,000.

Q: When will I be able to access the money I save in an ISA?

A: You can take money out of your Cash ISA but how much, and how often, depends on which type of ISA you have. If your ISA is ‘flexible’, you can take out cash then put it back in during the same tax year without reducing your current year’s allowance. Your provider can tell you if your ISA is flexible.

Stocks & Shares ISAs and Innovative Finance ISAs don’t usually have a minimum commitment, which means you can take your money out at any point. That said, you should invest for at least five years. As such, if you’re looking to use your money within the next few years, you should probably keep it in a Cash ISA. There are different rules for taking your money out of a Lifetime ISA.

Q: Can I take advantage of a Lifetime ISA?

A: You’re able to open a Lifetime ISA if you’re aged between 18 and 39. You can save up to £4,000 each tax year, every year until your 50th birthday. The government will pay an annual bonus of 25% (capped at £1,000 per year) on any contributions you make.

Q: What is an Innovative Finance ISA?

A: An Innovative Finance ISA allows individuals to use some or all of their annual ISA allowance to lend funds through the Peer to Peer lending market. Peer to Peer lending allows individuals and companies to borrow money directly from lenders. Your capital and interest may be at risk in an Innovative Finance ISA and your investment is not covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Q: What is a Help to Buy ISA?

A: A Help to Buy ISA is a government scheme designed to help you save for a mortgage deposit to buy a home. The scheme closed to new accounts at midnight on 30 November 2019. If you have already opened a Help to Buy ISA (or did so before 30 November 2019), you will be able to continue saving into your account until November 2029.

Q: I already have ISAs with several different providers. Can I combine them?

A: Yes you can, and you won’t lose the tax-efficient ‘wrapper’ status. Consolidating your ISAs may also substantially reduce your paperwork. We’ll be happy to talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of doing it.

Q: Can I transfer my existing ISA?

A: Yes, you can transfer an existing ISA from one provider to another at any time as long as the product terms and conditions allow it. If you want to transfer money you’ve invested in an ISA during the current tax year, you must transfer all of it. For money you invested in previous years, you can choose to transfer all or part of your savings.

Q: What happens to my ISA if I die prematurely?

A: If you die, the money and investments you hold in an ISA will be passed on to your beneficiaries. After your death, your ISA will retain its tax benefits until one of the following occurs: the administration of your estate is completed or the ISA is closed by your beneficiary

Still unsure what’s right for you?

Tax-efficiency is a key consideration when investing because it can make such an enormous difference to your wealth and quality of life. If you want to understand more about our ISA options please contact us.

Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Innovative finance ISA (IFISA) is not protected under the financial services compensation scheme. This means your money could be at risk if you save with an IFISA company that goes bust.