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Monthly Archives :

April 2021

Generation Covid-19

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Financial support to younger members as a direct result of the pandemic.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to more people supporting younger family members financially. New research shows that 5.5 million older family members expect to provide additional financial support to younger members as a direct result of the pandemic[1].

Of these, 15% estimate they will provide an additional sum of £353 in financial aid. The most common reasons given for the payments were to help cover household bills, rent payments, allowing them to move back to the family home or paying off debts. This equates to £1.9 billion  being given to younger family members needing financial support.

Regular Gifts

This COVID-19 specific support comes in addition to regular ongoing financial support provided by older family members. Over a third (39%) of young adults, around 3.3 million people, receive regular financial support from their older family members and depend on it to cover their monthly outgoings.

Older family members provide on average £113 a month, collectively giving £372 million to loved ones each month in the form of regular gifts. While the majority (31%) say they use monthly gifts to save for ‘big ticket’ items like a housing deposit, over a quarter use it to pay for everyday essentials (29%) and a similar number to pay their bills (27%).

Financial Aid

Despite the significant sums handed out, 80% of older family members who gift money feel it is only natural to provide support to their younger relatives and are more than happy to do so. Of the 50% of adults who have received financial aid from a family member, many have sought further support during this year.

16% have utilised the government furlough scheme, 15% moved back to their family home to live rent free and 13% have taken out a one-off
loan. The trend of younger family members moving back home is becoming more common, with the most recent data from the Office for
National Statistics (ONS) showing that over the last two decades, there has been a 46% increase in the number of young people aged 20-34 living with their parents, up to 3.5 million from 2.4m[2].

Gift Money

While the majority (62%) of those who give away money do so knowing they can afford to maintain their current lifestyle, the research  suggests that selfless relatives are occasionally making changes to their own finances to meet the expense. Over a third (38%) of those who gift money to family members have made sacrifices in order to do so. While many (31%) reported cutting back on some day-to-day spending in order to gift money, a fifth (21%) admitted they struggled to pay some bills having helped out a loved one.

Most parents and grandparents will gladly help out when they can, but people are often making personal compromises to provide this support. Giving money to a family member has the potential to be a special experience, but the key is not to lose sight of your longer-term plan.

Property Wealth

There is a risk that people could be underestimating what they need to fund a comfortable retirement, and therefore it’s important to gift sensibly. Utilising property wealth, by either downsizing or using equity release, can often be helpful here as it allows the opportunity to give a living inheritance without touching your income.

These decisions aren’t easy, and the tax rules mean gifting money can be complicated. When gifting, HM Revenue & Customs stipulates you
must be able to maintain your current standard of living from your remaining income to take advantage of tax exemptions and there are
tax implications for anything gifted over the £3,000 annual allowance.

“Bank of Mum and Dad” Open for Financial Support

Younger generations, who stand to be impacted most by the crisis, may need to call on you – the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – for financial support. If this is the case you need to evaluate how any cash calls could impact your own retirement plans. To discuss any concerns that you may have, please contact us.

Source data:
[1]Opinium Research ran a series of online interviews among a nationally representative panel of 4,001 UK adults between the 25 September and 3 October 2020


Combined Finances

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Planning ahead for your financial future together.

Some couples may prefer to keep their finances separate, while others share everything. Whichever method you’ve chosen, when it comes to retirement saving, it’s worth planning together to ensure you’ve made the most of all the allowances and benefits offered to couples.

Your golden years may ultimately be the best of your relationship if you understand each other’s future goals, needs and expectations.

Set your budget

The first step of planning for retirement is to look at how much money you’ll need to cover your outgoings. Start by analysing your current spending, and then identify where your spending
might increase and decrease over the years.

If you have different perspectives on how extravagant your lifestyle will be, it’s best to discuss this openly and early on as you’ll need to come to an agreement. One of you might be underestimating how much you’ll need or overestimating what you can realistically afford.

Remember to plan for different circumstances. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy a decades-long retirement together, but your finances might look very different if one of you were to fall ill or die. It might be unpleasant to discuss but is essential to plan for.

Assess your finances

Next, look at the income you’ll both have from the State Pension and any private pensions. Set aside some time to trace pensions from previous workplaces that you might have forgotten about
or not known an employer was paying into, as many people find extra cash that way.

Make sure you understand all of your options for withdrawing your pensions, as the amount you get back from your pension depends, in part, on which option you choose. Consider, for example, whether you want to take a tax-free lump sum of up to 25% of your pension savings at the start of your retirement, and how best you could use that.

If you have any debts or savings you haven’t mentioned to your partner, it would be wise to open up about these now.

Top up your savings

If your existing pension savings won’t provide the income you think you’ll need, look at ways to address the shortfall. Could you make some lifestyle changes now to save more for later?

If one or both of you have less than 35 years on your National Insurance record, you can make voluntary contributions to receive more State Pension.

It’s worth obtaining professional financial advice about using both of your pension allowances, and whose pension it is more sensible to contribute to. You both have an ‘annual allowance’, which is £40,000 in the 2020/21 tax year, or 100% of your income if you earn less than £40,000.

This means with the current annual allowance limit, someone paying Income Tax at the standard rate of 20% would receive a maximum sum of £8,000 of pension tax relief towards their pension pot. If you pay tax at the higher rate of 40% you would receive up to £16,000 of tax relief, while those in the additional rate band of 45% would currently receive £18,000 of tax relief.

Need help with your retirement plan?

It’s important to carry out any financial planning exercise together, holistically, as a couple. If you don’t fully understand your options or want to boost your pension savings, speak to us to discuss your circumstances.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The financial conduct authority does not regulate tax advice.

Responsible Investing

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Responsible, sustainable and environmentally friendly investing is here to stay. But, while demand is growing among all age groups, genders and income bands, some savers and investors are missing their biggest opportunity for responsible investing, which is through their pension.

We all want to make responsible choices as more of us are becoming aware of global challenges, such as environmental issues, human rights and climate change. We’re also starting to care more about how our behaviours affect the planet and society.

Future Success

Taking ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors into consideration when investing is becoming more mainstream. It is acknowledged that companies that act responsibly to their employees, the environment and the public have a better chance of future success than those that don’t. Investing in these companies is a logical approach financially as well as ethically.

Many pension holders understand this approach and see the value of it. In a recent survey, more than one-third of respondents said that the option to invest their pension only in sustainable companies is important to them[1]. Nearly two-thirds said having clearly branded funds for investing in environmentally and socially responsible companies is important.

Pension Investments

The same survey suggests that pension holders feel that sustainable investing isn’t just important, but interesting. More than half of respondents said that a fund focused on clean energy and lowering carbon would make them more interested in their pension. A similar number felt that way about a zero-plastic fund.

But while pension holders feel these issues are important and interesting, that isn’t yet affecting the way they invest. Most people don’t manage their pension investments themselves, instead leaving their pension invested in the default options set by a provider chosen by their workplace. So, more than two-thirds of pension holders do not know how sustainable their pension is.

Environmentally Friendly

Many pension holders don’t know that they can choose their own funds, and therefore that they can choose sustainable or responsible funds. Around half are unaware of ways to ensure their
pension is environmentally friendly. Clearly, there is a large audience of individuals who would like to invest their pension more sustainably and responsibly but don’t know where to start. There are plenty of options, but without specialist experience, it can be difficult to select those that are truly responsible and environmentally friendly and will also deliver the financial return you’re seeking.

Investing with purpose

Responsible investors essentially take responsibility for the impact that the companies they invest in have on the world. Speak to us about what responsible investing options are available in your pension scheme and for advice on how to help your money have the greatest impact. We look forward to hearing from you.

Source data: [1] https://adviser.scottishwidows.co.uk/assets/literature/docs/2020$09-responsibleinvestment.pdf
A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected the interest the rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.