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Retirement Page

Retiring happy

Retire Happy

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Retiring happyPlanning your future has arguably never been more important.

10 tips to enjoy the retirement you want

  1. Review your spending habits and consider if you have the scope to save a little more each month.
  2. Look up your annual benefit statements – you may have saved with more than one employer’s pension scheme.
  3. Think about what financial milestones you’d need to reach in order to increase your pension contributions and review your investment choices.
  4. Find out more about your current pension plan. If you pay in more, does your employer match your contributions?
  5. Track down old pension schemes using the government’s finder service https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details. Or request contact details from the government’s Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193 or by post.
  6. Check that your Expression of Wish form is up to date. This is a request setting out whom you would like to receive any death benefits payable on your death.
  7. Check your State Pension entitlement. To receive the full State Pension when you reach State Pension age you must have paid or been credited with 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions. Visit the Government Pension Service https://www.gov.uk/contact-pension-service for information about your State Pension.
  8. Add up the savings and investments that you could use for your retirement. A pension is a very tax-efficient way to save for your retirement but you might also have other savings or investments that you could use to increase your income when you retire.
  9. If you’re getting close to retirement and the amount you’re likely to retire on is less than you’d hoped, consider ways to boost your pension.
  10. Decide when to start taking your pension. You need to set a target date when you want to start drawing an income from your pension – and remember, you don’t have to stop working to take your pension but you must be aged at least 55 (you might be able to do this earlier if you’re in very poor health).

Please contact us if you require any further information or guidance on your retirement.

An older lady on her iPad planning for her retirement

The Power of a Plan

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

An older lady on her iPad planning for her retirementHow to create a personal financial plan in 8 steps

When thinking about your future financial wellbeing, it can be helpful to consider a plan. It is a good idea to have a clear sense of what you want from life and use this as a guide for making important decisions.

A comprehensive financial plan helps you achieve your goals by analysing your current situation, planning for the future and providing continuous monitoring of progress towards those goals. A well-thought out plan can help you protect yourself from unexpected events that could affect your ability to meet long-term financial commitments. What do you want to do in life? Who are the people who matter most to you? What do you worry about at night?

Step 1: Set your goals

Without them, it’s hard to know what direction you’re headed and even harder to remember where you came from. Critical goals come before needs and wants.

When life changes – and it always does – your goals help guide your financial decisions and focus on what’s important.

Step 2: Make a budget

So you’ve decided to start keeping track of your income and expenditure, but how do you know where to begin? Creating a budget can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the process.

Not only is it important to know how much money is coming in and going out of your household each month, it’s also vital that you understand where that money is being spent. With a budget, you can align what you make with what you spend. With goals set, you can now organise your money.

In fact, when creating your budget, it’s important to remember that there will be some things that don’t fit into your monthly spending plan, and emergency savings make a great way to cover these unexpected costs.

Step 4: Protect your income

Falling ill or having an accident doesn’t have to become a financial burden on you or your family. What if you or your partner got too sick or hurt to work? Or passed away unexpectedly? Could those who depend on you still pay the bills – and save for the future? Planning your financial future isn’t only about savings and investments.

Of equal importance is putting protection in place for you and your family for when you die or if you become ill. Most people have heard of life insurance, but may not know about the different types or about the options for people affected by ill health. No one likes to think of these things. But life can change in an instant. It’s good to hope for the best, but be ready for the unexpected. Insurance helps you do that.

Step 5: Pay down debt

The importance of paying down personal debt cannot be understated. But it can be difficult to prioritise paying down debt while still paying for essential day-to-day living expenses. However, ignoring the significance of personal debt could lead you to major financial trouble in the long run.

Paying off your debts will not only free up cash flow to allow you to save, it will also go towards improving your credit score. The lower your debt-to-income ratio is, the better your credit rating. Your credit rating affects the interest rates that lenders charge you for mortgages, car loans and other types of financing.

Step 6: Save and plan for retirement

Everyone needs to save and plan for retirement. No matter how much you make or whether you have a job, you should always start saving as early as possible. It is important for you to take control of your retirement planning and make decisions regarding your pension. It is often not appreciated that contributing to a pension arrangement can help you build up an extremely valuable asset.

People are living longer and leading more active lives in retirement. As a result, it is more important than ever for you to think about where your income will come from when you retire. Pension saving is one of the few areas where you can still get tax relief.

Step 7: Invest some of your savings

Saving and investing are important parts of a sound financial plan. Whereas saving provides a safety net for unexpected expenses, investing is a strategy for building wealth. Once you have an emergency savings fund of three to six months’ worth of living expenses, you can develop a strategy to grow your wealth through investing.

Investing gives your money the potential to grow faster than it could in a savings account. If you have a long time until you need to meet your goal, your returns will compound. Basically, this means in addition to a higher rate of return on investments, your investment earnings will also earn money over time.

Step 8: Make your final plans

The importance of estate planning is necessary for all individuals, not just the wealthy. Without proper estate planning in place to protect your assets, you could end up leaving large amounts of money to be fought over by your loved ones and a large Inheritance Tax bill.

Your estate planning should sit alongside making your Will, both key parts of putting your affairs in order later in life. Working out the best ways to leave money in a Will before you pass away can help to make the lives of your loved ones easier when you’re no longer around.

I am ready to start a conversation

Financial planning may be complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re committed to ensuring you feel comfortable, informed and supported at each stage of your financial planning journey. To find out more, or to discuss how we could help you and your family, please contact us.

A hard-earned retirement

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Helping you look forward to a hard-earned retirement – with a whole of life financial plan

A potential client approached Ellis Bates with several clear goals in mind, namely to ensure she had cash to live on for her foreseeable future, that she invest and grow her long term savings and to mitigate her inheritance tax liability, and so protecting her daughter’s future position.

During the meeting, the client outlined that she wanted to focus on and achieve long-term growth on her cash savings, in excess of inflation but also needed access to and control over these liquid funds. The Adviser recommended she invest recent monies received from the sale of a buy to let property in an ISA and GIA as step one to achieve a much better return on her cash.

With regards to understanding the structure of inheritance tax (IHT), the Adviser worked with the client to fully understand all her property and land assets, including her smallholding of over 25 acres and for example the agricultural property relief available on her renting out of these facilities.

The Adviser recommended the client boost her pension funds with a SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension), so that funds were moved outside of her estate from an IHT unfriendly environment to help further reduce her IHT liability.

Together they agreed an affordable monthly figure and budget (based on typical income and expenditure) and established a Whole of Life plan written in trust (within said budget), to provide her daughter with a tax-free lump sum to pay HMRC in relation to her future inheritance tax bill.

The client will meet with her Adviser every year, to review progressively moving more funds across to the SIPP and ISA each new tax year for example, thus utilising her annual pension allowance to boost her pension pot and progressively reduce her future IHT liability, whilst also being in control of all of her funds.

Like all clients, circumstances change and annual reviews of estate planning are vital, and this particular client is due to inherit further substantial funds from her mother at some point but will be able to seek expert and timely advice.

Following on from all the discussions, planning and reporting, our client expressed just how much happier she was and how in control of her finances she felt, giving her peace of mind that any complications due to future inheritance or unforeseen changes will be reviewed and assessed with her Adviser and she will be given options and solutions to meet her future needs.

She feels more relaxed about current income, her family’s financial future and is looking forward to a hard-earned retirement.

Women on laptop thinking about retiring from work and not a paycheck

Money’s too tight to mention

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Women on laptop thinking about retiring from work and not a paycheckLooking to retire from work, not a paycheck?

When it comes to retirement insecurity, one concern dominates all others – the fear of running out of money during retirement. And with people living longer than ever before, it’s a very valid concern.

A new report reveals how two-thirds (66%) of adults planning to retire this year risk running out of money[1].

The research found that a 2021 retiree plans to spend, on average, £21,000 a year in retirement – almost £10,000 less than the average UK household income (£29,900)[2].

Just two in five (39%) feel very confident that they’re financially ready to finish working this year, with a third (34%) of women feeling very confident versus two in five (43%) men.

Longer-term financial priorities and plans

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed are planning to reduce their usual spending to support themselves in retirement, while a quarter (27%) will work part-time to help financially. One in five (21%) are planning to sell their home or downsize to fund retirement.

Deciding how and when to retire is one of the biggest life decisions and transitions we make. Longer life expectancy, volatile investment markets and ever-changing regulation can make planning and preparing for retirement feel confusing, not to mention the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s immediate and longer-term financial priorities and plans.

Apprehensions about retiring during a pandemic

Whatever the plan, when it comes to making the decision to retire, most people find it understandably daunting. Even more so if you don’t feel prepared. There are clearly more apprehensions about retiring during a pandemic amongst this year’s retirees. Pensions are without a doubt the most popular option for funding retirement, but it’s important retirees also consider any other savings or assets they can use when deciding whether they can afford to retire or not.

Understanding what money you have for your retirement and how to spend it wisely can be difficult, but that’s where preparation and obtaining professional financial advice can help. Circumstances or priorities may change,  particularly if you’re retiring amidst a global pandemic, but it will be much easier to adapt a plan you already have rather than start from scratch.

Helping you plan to enjoy the future you want

Longer lives, less proactive saving, higher costs of living and a lack of a financial planning are all contributing factors to the risk that many
people may outlive their money in retirement. If you would like to talk to us about your future retirement plan, we can help make sure it’s a resilient one. To find out more, please contact us.

Source data: [1] Consumer research of 2,000 UK adults who were either due to retire in the next 12 months, or had retired in the past 12 months. Research was carried out by Censuswide in February 2021. [2] ONS average household income, UK: financial year 2020
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 tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
Accessing pension benefits early may impact on levels of retirement income and your entitlement to certain means tested benefits and is not suitable for everyone. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
A middle aged couple looking at their laptop to organise their retirement planning journey

Retirement planning journey

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

A middle aged couple looking at their laptop to organise their retirement planning journeyWhat you need to consider at every life stage during your retirement planning journey.

When you’re starting out working in your 20s, you may not be thinking about retirement in 40 years’ time. The same goes for your 30s, 40s and even 50s. There is always something on the horizon you could be saving for besides your retirement.

No matter how old you are, it’s always a good time to review your pension savings and update your retirement plan. Understanding your retirement goals during each decade is key to making sure you are able to enjoy and live the lifestyle you want, and which you’ve worked hard for, when you eventually decide to stop working.

Starting to save in your 20s

Though you’re decades away from retirement, your 20s are an important time for pension planning. That’s because the investments you make in these early years will benefit from the most growth potential.

When you start work, if applicable to your situation, you’ll be automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme and they will start to make contributions on your behalf.

You should definitely not opt out of this – even if you feel you could do with the money now.

Staying on track in your 30s

By your 30s, you may have additional financial responsibilities, such as children and a mortgage. These can make it difficult to dedicate as much money and attention to your pension as you’d like.

One way to stay on track is to review your pension contributions at least once a year and make sure you’re increasing them as your income grows. Another consideration is to check your investment strategy. With decades remaining before you’ll access your pension, you might choose to take a higher-risk approach now, and then gradually move into lower-risk investments as retirement grows closer.

Accumulating in your 40s

If your salary follows a typical trajectory, it is likely to start peaking when you’re in your 40s, making this decade a crucial time for pension accumulation. You should, by now, also have a good understanding of the income required to support your desired lifestyle, which will help you plan your retirement income. Based on this, you’ll know if you need to adjust your pension contributions to save enough.

At this life stage, you might have changed employers several times, so it might be sensible to check that you have all of the details for any old pensions and, if not, look to track them down.

Maximising your contributions in your 50s

If your pension contributions have fallen behind in any of the previous decades, it’s crucial to catch up now. As well as your salary sacrifice contributions, you might consider adding lump sums to your pension to help you reach your retirement goal.

If you plan to do this, make sure that you’ve checked what your annual allowance for this tax year is, and how much unused annual allowance you have from the last three years. This will determine how much extra you can contribute and receive tax relief on. For the tax year 2021/22 the annual allowance is £40,000. This includes both contributions paid by you and contributions paid by your employer.

Alternatively, if you’ve stayed on track with all your pension contributions and your savings are at a very healthy level, you might need to take steps to manage your Lifetime Allowance. Currently, the maximum you can accrue within your pensions in your lifetime is £1,073,100, so if you’re anywhere near that number you should seek professional financial advice.

Preparing to retire in your 60s

In the decade before retirement, some people may choose to take a lower-risk investment strategy with their pension savings than in previous years. While this may limit the potential growth of your investments, it can also reduce fluctuations in value, which can help you to plan your retirement income with more confidence.

You’ll also need to weigh up your options for accessing your pension. You might want to take a lump sum or several lump sums, or you might want to take a regular income. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and decisions you make now will affect your income throughout your retirement.

Advice for any age

With so much going on in your life – from family and work to pursuing your passions – retirement planning may not be your priority. But it’s your pension and overall financial situation that will allow you to keep up your current lifestyle and enjoy your golden years. Speak to us today and make sure your plans are on track for the retirement you want.

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 tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
Accessing pension benefits early may impact on levels of retirement income and your entitlement to certain means-tested benefits and is not suitable for everyone. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
Man on the phone planning to achieve his retirement plans sooner

Boost Your Pension Savings

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Man on the phone planning to achieve his retirement plans sooner

Planning to achieve your retirement goals sooner

Are you ‘mid or late career’ or planning to retire within ten years? If the answer’s ‘yes’, then you probably want to know the answers to these questions: Will I be able to retire when I want to? Will I run out of money? How can I guarantee the kind of retirement I want?

But, for many different reasons, planning for retirement is a commonly overlooked aspect of personal financial planning and this can often lead to anxiety as your age of retirement approaches. We’ve provided four ways to boost your pension savings and help you achieve your retirement goals sooner.

Review your contributions

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. If you want to boost your retirement savings, the simplest solution is to increase your contributions. You may think you can’t afford to, but even a slight increase can make a big difference.

For those lucky enough to receive a pay rise in line with inflation every year, increasing your pension contributions by just 1% could add thousands to your eventual pension pot. The reason why a relatively small increase in pension contributions can result in such a large increase in the value of your pension pot is because of the power of compounding.

The earlier you invest your money, the more you benefit from the effects of compounding. Adding more money to your pension pot by increasing your contributions just makes the compounding effect even better.

Review your strategy for retirement

A missed opportunity for many pension holders is failing to choose how their pension is invested. Some people leave this decision in the hands of their workplace or pension provider.

Firstly, you should know that you don’t have to hold a pension with the provider your employer has chosen. You can ask them to pay into a different pension, allowing you to choose the provider while considering the type of funds they offer and the fees they charge.

Secondly, many pension providers will give you several options for investment strategies. If you’re in the default option, you could achieve higher returns with a different strategy (though this will usually mean taking on more investment risk). Note that this may not be appropriate in all circumstances, particularly if you are close to retirement.

Know your allowances

When you save in a pension for your retirement, the government adds tax relief on top of the money you contribute, helping you to grow your savings faster. However, there’s a limit to the amount of contributions you can claim tax relief on each year, which is called your ‘annual allowance’. It’s currently £40,000 (tax year 2021/22), and in some cases may be lower.

If you want to contribute more than your annual allowance into your pension in one tax year (for example, if you’ve received a windfall and want to put it aside for the future), it’s worth knowing that you can use any unused allowance from up to three previous years.

So, if you have £10,000 of unused allowance in each of the past three years, that’s another £30,000 you can claim tax relief on this year. The tax relief on this amount would be at least £7,500, depending on your tax band.

Trace lost pensions

Usually, starting a job with a new employer means starting a new pension. And, when that happens, some people may overlook the pension they had with their last employer. As a result, many people have pensions with previous employers that they’ve lost track of – and rediscovering them can give a huge boost to your retirement savings.

You can trace old pensions by getting in touch with the provider. Look through any documentation you still have from your past employers to see if you can find your pension or policy number. If you can’t, you can contact the provider anyway and they should be able to find your pension by using other details, such as your date of birth and National Insurance number.

If you’re not sure who the provider is, start by asking your previous employer.

Will your achieve the retirement you deserve?

When the future is unclear, the thought of retirement may well feel more daunting than exciting. We’ll advise you on how to build the wealth you need to achieve the retirement you deserve. Don’t leave it to chance – to discuss your requirements, please talk to us.

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 tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.

Retirement Clinic

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Answers to the myths about your pension questions. If you are approaching retirement age, it’s important to know your pension is going to finance your plans.

Pension legislation is extremely complex and it’s not realistic to expect everyone to understand it completely. But, since we all hope to retire one day, it is important to get to grips with some of the basics. It’s particularly helpful to become aware of the things you may have thought were facts that are actually myths. Here are some examples.

MYTH: The government pays your pensions

FACT: The government pays most UK adults over the pension age a State Pension, which is currently:
– Retired post-April 2016 – max State Pension of £179.60 a week
– Retired pre-April 2016 – max basic State Pension of £137.60 a week (a top-up is available for some, called the Additional State Pension)

Not everyone is eligible for the full amount, which requires you to have at least 35 qualifying years on your National Insurance record. If you have less than ten qualifying years on your record, you’ll receive nothing. Even if you receive the full amount, you’ll usually need to supplement it with your own pension savings.

MYTH: Your employer pays your pension

FACT: Most people are automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. Your employer is usually required to pay a minimum of 3% of your salary into it and you must also pay a minimum of 5%
of your salary.

If you keep your contributions at the minimum level, it might be difficult to save enough for retirement. As life expectancies grow longer, your retirement can be almost as long as your working life. It’s therefore important to put aside a portion of your earnings to create a pension pot that will enable you to receive the income and live the lifestyle you want during retirement.

MYTH: You can’t save more than your lifetime allowance

Fact: There is a lifetime allowance on the benefits you can access from your pension, which is currently £1,073,100 (tax year 2021/22). That doesn’t mean that you can’t withdraw any more after that, but it does mean that you’ll pay a tax charge of up to 55%. However, there are ways of withdrawing the money with a tax charge of 25%.

MYTH: Your pensions provider’s default fund is suitable for everyone

Fact: Most pension default funds will start out with a high-risk strategy and steadily move your capital into lower-risk investments, such as bonds and cash, as you get closer to retirement. This is to reduce volatility in the value of your investments so that you can have a higher degree of confidence in how much you’ll eventually end up with.

If you don’t plan to purchase an annuity, you don’t necessarily need to reduce volatility before retirement. You may be leaving some of your money invested for several more decades, in which case a higher risk strategy may be more  appropriate.

MYTH: Annuities are outdated

Fact: There was a time when almost everyone bought an annuity when they retired, and that time has passed because there are now alternative ways to access your pension savings. But annuities still have a useful role for generating a retirement income and can be an appropriate product for some people. Unlike other pension withdrawal methods, such as drawdown, an annuity offers a fixed income for life, so there’s no risk of your money running out. That’s a crucial benefit for many pensioners.

MYTH: Your can’t pass on a pension

Fact: If you’ve used your pension savings to purchase an annuity, the income from this will usually cease when you die. But if you have pension savings that you haven’t used to buy an annuity (for example, if you’ve been taking an income through drawdown), what’s left can be passed on to a loved one.

If you die before the age of 75 there will usually be no tax to pay by the beneficiary. Otherwise, they will need to pay Income Tax according to their tax band.

Look after your future

There’s a whole lot to think about when you’re planning for retirement. Is it worth paying into private or workplace pensions? Are you saving enough? Which investments should you choose? All these unanswered questions can make planning feel a little overwhelming. To review your situation or consider your options, please contact us – we look forward to hearing from you.

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 tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
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