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Your Family’s Future Page

How parents pass on wealth

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How parents pass on wealth

Leaving it in a Will 88%
Bank transfer/cash 67%
Consulting Financial Adviser 57%
Writing wealth into trust 56%
Putting money into investment 53%
Putting money into a pension for their children 43%

Family focused financial advice

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Often when making financial plans, it can feel like a very individual decision. What you’re actually doing is planning for yours and your family’s future. All families are different. And that’s why it’s really important to involve your financial adviser with the whole family story.

Protecting family wealth

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What will your legacy look like?

Estate planning is about putting your affairs in order, to help make the lives of your loved ones easier. It can help to protect your estate for your beneficiaries and reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax (commonly called IHT for short).

IHT is something many of us don’t know enough about. Simply because we don’t think we need to.

Five key points to consider – Tax year 2022/23

1) IHT doesn’t just affect the wealthy

Traditionally, only the wealthiest in society were affected by IHT. But rising property prices means more and more people are now facing it. It all comes down to the value of your overall estate upon your death. If it’s worth more than your personal nil-rate band (NRB), anything above could be liable to IHT at up to 40%. (If you’re single or divorced, the NRB is £325,000 and if you’re married, in a registered civil partnership or widowed, it’s up to £650,000).

2) There’s also the residence nil-rate band (RNRB) – but not everyone can benefit

If you’re wondering what the RNRB is, this can be used alongside your usual NRB – and was introduced to help more people reduce their IHT liability. Every UK adult has a RNRB of £175,000. But the rules can be more complex than many people realise. Amongst the restrictions, you can only use this allowance if it relates to a property you have lived in, and passed to a direct descendant (such as your child or grandchild – not a friend, niece or nephew).

3) Your estate isn’t just your home

Your savings and investments, car and any rental properties form a part of your estate. Not forgetting any jewellery you have, household furniture or expensive paintings (minus any liabilities, like an unpaid mortgage). After working out the value of your belongings, you may be surprised by how much your estate comes to. It could be worth a lot more than you think. It’s also important to bear in mind that these assets could increase or decrease in value in the future.

4) Annual revenue is expected to keep climbing

The latest IHT figures should be a ‘wake-up call’ for families to think carefully about their tax planning. IHT receipts in the United Kingdom amounted to approximately £5.32 billion in the financial year 2020/21[1].

5) Your could do something about it

There are plenty of perfectly legal steps you can take to protect your family’s wealth from the taxman. The IHT solutions include annual exemptions, allowances, direct gifts and trusts.

Of course, there are many different options to choose from – so it’s important you find one that’s right for you. With this in mind, and the fact that IHT can be a complex subject, you should always obtain professional financial advice to guide you through the complexities – and help you put suitable plans in place.

Worried about Inheritance Tax eating into your estate?

How can you leave a tax-efficient legacy? We’ll help you leave more to those you love most. Although it’s not nice to think about, getting your affairs in order for when you pass away can bring real peace of mind as you get older. To find out more, please contact us to discuss your requirements or visit our Inheritance Tax page.

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.

Source data: [1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/284325/united-kingdom-hmrc-tax-receipts-inheritance-tax/

Improving your financial health

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Staying on track to achieving specific financial goals

All of your financial decisions and activities have an effect on your financial health. To help improve your financial health during this period of rising inflation rates and household costs, we look at three areas that could help keep you on track to achieving your specific financial goals.

Beat the national insurance rise

The National Insurance rise from April this year has gone ahead for workers and employers despite pressure to reverse the decision to increase this by 1.25%, which is aimed at raising £39 billion for the Treasury. From April 2023, it is set to revert back to its current rate, and a 1.25% health and social care levy will be applied to raise funds for further improvements to care services.

One way to beat the National Insurance increase is by taking advantage of salary sacrifice, which means you and your employer pay less National Insurance contributions. Some employers may decide to maximise the amount of pension contributions by adding the savings they make in lower employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) to the total pension contribution amount they pay. This is also a way to make your pension savings more tax-efficient. If you choose to take up a salary sacrifice scheme option, you and your employer will agree to reduce your salary, and your employer will then pay the difference into your pension, along with their contributions to the scheme. As you are effectively earning a lower salary, both you and your employer pay lower NICs, which could mean your take-home pay will be higher. Better still, your employer might pay part or all of their NICs saving into your pension too (although they don’t have to do this).

Review your savings

Accounts and rates

Money held in savings accounts hasn’t grown much in recent years due to historically low interest rates. But with inflation running higher, your savings are now at risk of losing value in ‘real’ terms as you will be able to buy less with your money.

In some respects, inflation can be seen as a positive. It’s a sign of strong economic recovery post-COVID, increasing salaries and higher consumer spending. But it’s bad news for your cash savings. Relying solely or overly on cash might prevent you from achieving your long-term financial goals, which may only be possible if you accept some level of investment risk.

In an environment where the cost of living is rising faster than the interest rates received on cash, there is a danger that your savings will slowly become worth less and less, leaving you in a worse position later on. If you have money in savings, it is important to keep an eye on interest rates and where your money is saved. Rates are low and you will lose money in real terms if inflation is higher than the interest rate offered on your savings account or Cash ISA.

Shift longer term savings into equities

During times of high inflation, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. For example, if your investment goals are short term, you may not need to worry much about how inflation is impacting your money. But if you’re investing for the long term, inflation can have a larger impact on your portfolio if it’s sustained – although high inflation that only lasts for a short period may end up just being a blip on your investment journey.

If you have large amounts of money sitting in cash accounts one way to beat inflation is to invest some of your money in a long-term asset that will appreciate with time, thus increasing your buying power over time. There are many ways to invest your money, but most strategies revolve around one of two categories: growth investments and income investments.

Historically, equities have offered an effective way to outperform inflation. Cyclical stocks – like financials, energy and resources companies – are especially well-suited to benefit from rising prices. These sectors typically perform better when the economy is doing well, or recovering from a crisis. Depositing funds into your investment portfolio on a regular basis (such as monthly from salary) can help you invest at different prices, averaging out the overall price at which you get into the market. Known as pound-cost averaging, this can help you smooth out any fluctuations caused by market volatility over the long term. While volatility will always exist, it can be managed and reduced by taking this approach.

Would you like advice on how to improve your financial health? Speak to us to find out how we can help.

Festive gifts that teach children the value of money

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Why parents should look to Christmas investment gifts instead of toys.

With the festive season approaching, have you thought about gifting your children or grandchildren something different this year? Giving them a good start in life by making investments into their future can make all the difference in today’s more complex world.

Lifetime gifting is not only a good way to set up children for adulthood but is also a way of mitigating any Inheritance Tax concerns. However, what’s clear is that not all saving products for children are made equally. With interest rates at historic lows, if you are looking to put money away for a child to enjoy when they grow up investing is by far the best way to maximise your gift.

Significantly higher returns

Some people remain worried about the volatility of investing but, with an 18-year horizon, putting money to work in the market can give significantly higher returns than products such as Premium Bonds.

One option to consider is a Junior Individual Savings Account (JISA). These were introduced in the UK on 1 April 1999 as a long-term replacement for Child Trust Funds (CTFs). If a child was born between 2002 and 2011, they might already have a Child Trust Fund, but these can be transferred into a JISA.

Save and invest on behalf of a child

If the CTF is not transferred, when a child reaches 18 they’ll still be able to access the money. Or they can choose to transfer it into a normal Cash ISA. A JISA is a long-term savings account set up by a parent or guardian and lets you save and invest on behalf of a child under 18 without paying tax on income or gains.

With a Junior Stocks & Shares ISA account, you can put your child’s savings into investments like funds, shares and bonds. Any profits you earn by trading investment funds, shares or bonds are free from tax. Investments are riskier than cash but could give your child a bigger profit, and the value of a Junior Stocks & Shares ISA can go down as well as up.

Money in the account belongs to the child, but they can’t withdraw it until they turn 18, apart from in exceptional circumstances. They can start managing their account on their own from age 16.

Financial education from a young age

The Junior ISA limit is £9,000 for the tax year 2021/22. If more than this is put into a Junior ISA, the excess is held in a savings account in trust for the child – it cannot be returned to the donor. Friends and family can also save on behalf of the child as long as the total stays
under the annual limit.

When your child turns 18, their account is automatically rolled over into an adult ISA . They can also choose to take the money out and spend it how they like. It is therefore important to ensure that children are given financial education from a young age so that when they can get their hands on the funds they use them wisely.

Been putting off planning for your child’s future?

Many parents, guardians and grandparents want to help younger members of the family financially – whether to help fund an education, a wedding or a deposit for a first home. If you are asking yourself ‘How can I start saving for my child’s future?’, using a Junior Individual Savings Account could be a good place to start. You don’t need a big lump sum to get started. In fact, contributing regular smaller amounts is a good way to start. To find out more, please speak to us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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. The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Younger couple on a boat thinking about their financial future

Steps towards a better financial future

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Younger couple on a boat thinking about their financial futureSteps towards a better financial future – grow, protect and transfer your wealth

Financial planning is a step-by-step approach to ensure you meet your life goals and achieve a better financial future. Your financial plan should act as a guide as you move through life’s journey. Essentially, it should help you remain in control of your income, expenses and investments so you can manage your money and achieve your goals.

Life rarely stands still. Priorities shift, circumstances change, opportunities come and go and plans need to adapt. But regular discussion and reviews are the key to keeping on top of things. This means adapting your plans when things change, to keep you on course.

1. What are my financial goals?

Generally, people’s financial goals change as they progress through different life stages. Here are some themes which might help you  consider your own goals:

  • In your twenties, you may want to focus on saving for large purchases, such as a car, wedding or your first home
  • In your thirties, you may be planning for your family, perhaps school fees or your children’s future
  • In your forties, your focus may move to retirement planning and growing your wealth
  • In your fifties, paying off your mortgage and feeling financially free is likely to be a priority
  • In your sixties, it is usually about making sure you have enough money to retire successfully
  • In your seventies, your attention may turn to inheritance planning and later-life care

Other plans may also include starting your own business, buying a second home or travelling the world. Of course, everyone is different, so you might have a goal in mind we haven’t mentioned.

2. Are my goals short, medium or long term?

You are likely to have a mixture of short-term (less than three years), medium-term (three to ten years) and long-term (more than ten years) goals. Moving to a larger property might be a short-term goal, while saving for your children’s university fees might be a medium-term goal and retirement planning a long-term goal (depending on your life stage).

You’ll need different strategies, and different saving and investment risk levels, for each of these goals.

3. How hard is my money currently working?

If your cash is currently in a savings deposit account, the interest rate you’ll likely be receiving is probably not going to be sufficient to keep your money growing as quickly as inflation is rising over the longer term. So your savings could eventually lose buying power in real terms over the years ahead.

If you want your money to grow faster, you might want to consider allocating a portion of your savings towards  investments. This may involve more risk than a savings account, but the amount of risk involved will be dependent on you and what you are looking to achieve, so you decide. Obtaining professional advice will ensure you choose investments at a risk level that suits your preferences.

4. Have I paid off my debts?

It’s not always wise to start investing if you have debts that you need to pay off (excluding longterm debts like student loans and mortgages).
That’s because overdrafts, credit cards and other short-term debts can charge you more in interest than you could expect to gain in  investment returns. In most instances, it will benefit you more in the future to become debt-free before you start to grow your wealth.

5. Am I making the most of my tax-efficient allowances?

All UK taxpayers receive certain allowances to help with saving and investing. For example, you may already have an Individual Savings Account (ISA) and be taking advantage of your annual allowance. You also have a capital gains allowance, a dividends allowance and a pension annual allowance. All of these will help you to grow your wealth faster, if you know how to use them.

Tax allowances can be complex though, and they can change without much notice, so if you’re not careful you risk an unexpected tax charge. If in doubt, talk us to review your options.

6. What are my retirement plans?

A key factor in any financial plan is the date you plan to retire, as that typically marks a turning point from accumulation of wealth built up throughout your working life, to the reduction of wealth as you start to spend your savings and pass your assets on to loved ones. Ensuring that those two elements of your life are well balanced is an important part of the financial planning process.

Are you planning with a purpose?

Once you’ve answered these six questions for yourself, your financial plan will start to take shape. But you might still have more questions about how to reach a particular goal, how to reduce a potential tax bill, how to invest without taking on too much risk, how to pay off your debts or how much money you’ll need to retire successfully, in which case we can help. Please speak to us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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. The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Funding Your Child’s Future Lifestyle!

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Financial Planning for your child’s future lifestyle. Early preparation in life is key to becoming financially independent.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues into a second year, we’re learning more and more about its financial impact. While many individuals and families are struggling up and down the country, there is a particular strain placed on the parents of adult children.

A recent survey showed that 50% of adults with children over the age of 18 have provided financial help to them due to the pandemic[1]. Children may be staying in the family home for longer, since universities are unable to operate as they usually would, and some young people have decided to postpone their studies.

Young professional lifestyle

Those who have finished their degrees, who might usually migrate to city centres for a taste of the young professional lifestyle, are instead moving back in with their parents until this becomes a viable option again.

Young workers who are inexperienced or unskilled may struggle to secure their first job or may be particularly vulnerable to redundancy. Even if they are not living at home, they may have needed to seek support from older family members.

Providing financial help

As most forms of entertainment were closed for a significant portion of the last year, many young adults have seen their spending drop. But their costs still potentially included rent, utilities, phone bills, food and petrol. Many also turned to their parents for help to buy equipment they needed to work or study at home, such as computers.

The survey highlighted that some parents who have provided financial help have spent an average of more than £400 a month.

Higher household costs

Adults over the age of 30 have been less likely to need financial help. 43% of parents with children aged over 30 reported that they were helping them financially, compared to 61% of parents with children aged 18-29.

But the cost of helping someone who is older has been higher. Those parents who have been providing support to the over-30s spent, on average, more than £500 a month. These adult children are less likely to be living with their parents and tend to have higher household costs.

Ranked by spending

Some parents have offered far more than the average of around £1,300 in support. The top 2% of parents, when ranked by their spending, have parted with over £3,300 monthly. This includes help with their children’s everyday expenses, contributions to savings accounts and pensions, and potentially help to rent or buy a home. Many parents have been prepared to offer this level of financial support to adult children if they’ve been able to.

If you have found yourself in this position you may need to examine your budget carefully and ensure that your other financial priorities, such as paying off debts or saving for retirement, are not suffering as a result. Preparing your children early in life to be financially independent is essential. If not, your retirement plans may need to include funding your child’s future lifestyle and we can provide help with your financial planning.

Time to take stock of your situation?

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted both the physical and financial health of many families. If your finances have been blown off course and you would like help with financial planning, please contact us to review where you are.

Source data: [1] https://www.lv.com/about-us/press/1-in-50-parents-spend-over-10k-supporting-grown-upchildren-in-pandemic