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A Pound for Your Thoughts

The £1 coin was introduced on 23 April 1983. If you’d invested one of them in the FTSE All Share, the main UK stock market index, by now you’d have seen a whopping 3,000 per cent return on your investment, an average of a little under 11 per cent each year. But were better returns…

April 15, 2019
 
 
 
 
Pension freedom Q&A

Readers Question: Can I Retire?

This week I’m answering a reader’s question, and it’s one that many of us ask ourselves as we get older: can I afford to retire, and if so what do I do next?

I was contacted by a gentleman, Arthur who wanted to understand his retirement options. Arthur was desperate to retire; frankly he’d had enough of the stresses of working – which is a shame as I like people to work in some form during retirement because work gives us a lot more than just an income; connection and relationships, mental stimulation, purpose to get up each morning. However, he’s been working for his company for over 30 years but is ready to stop.

March 27, 2019
 
 
 

Spring statement and the economic outlook

I was speaking with someone recently about their financial planning and they were really concerned about Brexit. The media’s aim is to get you to buy their paper or stay on their website, and worry makes us do just that. If they told you everything was fine, you wouldn’t pay too much attention. But articles portraying the concerns around Brexit get people to focus… and worry.

It can be hard to see through the headlines; there’s an editorial slant on all the news we read, see and hear. Let’s try to take the emotion out of the subject – regardless of whether you feel Brexit is a good or bad thing – and look at what’s happening in the bigger picture.

March 20, 2019
 
 
 
Financial crisis 10th anniversary

Déjà vu All Over Again

Investment fads are nothing new. When selecting strategies for their portfolios, investors are often tempted to seek out the latest and greatest investment opportunities. Over the years, these approaches have sought to capitalise on developments such as the perceived relative strength of particular geographic regions, technological changes in the economy, or the popularity of different…

March 11, 2019
 
 
 

Jeff Bezos interview

Amazon was the first trillion dollar company in the world ever!  Not many people know who founded the company, or anything about the man behind Amazon, the company that influences the lives of so many of us. Here is one of my favourite interviews with Jeff Bezos, where he opens and speaks freely about so…

January 8, 2019
 
 
 
 
 
 

Brexit & Exchange Rates

It’s predicted that the pound could slide further against the euro because of Brexit. But if you look back over the past decade of exchange rates between the two currencies, the reality is a little different than some headlines would have you believe.

December 14, 2018
 
 
 

Taking Stock: Brexit and the markets

There’s been a lot of economic modelling in the news lately as the Brexit debates roll on. Steering well clear of any politics, what’s the potential impact of next week’s vote in parliament on the markets and our investments? The possibilities outlined by Mark Carney were stark – but it’s important to remember he was talking about the worst-case scenario, the extreme that might occur according to his modelling.

December 4, 2018
 
 
 
 

Christmas markets aren’t the only ones to watch

If you started getting financially organised using my book this year, then you should have set yourself some outcomes in January. Those following the plan should have financial foundations in place, including a will, lasting power of attorney and an emergency reserve of cash. Some people will be in the phase of paying down their debt; others will be considering investments and saving for the future, which often means investing in the stock markets.

November 28, 2018
 
 
 

NHS Pension Scheme to permit voluntary scheme pay

The NHS pension scheme has made a change to the scheme rules to permit voluntary scheme pays. Which schemes offer voluntary scheme pays has been brought to the fore because of the impact of the tapered annual allowance and the need for the individual to have to meet the annual allowance charge personally, in line with the self-assessment deadlines.

November 16, 2018
 
 
 

The Return of the Probate Fiasco

Cast your mind back to February 2016, when the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published a consultation paper proposing a complete change to how probate fees will be charged. Now, a week after a Budget which made no mention of inheritance tax reform, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice has issued a written statement on increases to probate fees in England & Wales.

November 9, 2018
 
 
 
 
Money management for kids

I’ll Help you to Save Scheme

The government have just launched a new savings scheme called “Help to Save”.  It allows you to save upto £50 a month over four years (up to a maximum of £2,400) and receive a 50p bonus for every £1 you save. Find out more about the benefits on this scheme along with how you open an account.

October 19, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Financial planning for couples

Common tragedy clause in a will / charitable legacies

The death of Richard Cousins, a 58-year-old widower who perished in a tragic sea plane accident on New Year’s Eve 2017 along with his two sons, his fiancé and her young daughter, has brought the subject of wills and charitable legacies to the forefront of media and public attention. Richard Cousins was head of the…

September 14, 2018
 
 
 
LISA house

Help ‘me’ to Buy my first home ISA!

According to a recent Government press release, more than 1.2 million people have opened a Help to Buy ISA account. The latest Government statistics show that: the average Help to Buy bonus claim has reached £800, a new record; and 146,753 property completions have been supported by the scheme, which has helped to finance properties worth £25.3 billion…

September 12, 2018
 
 
 
 

Buy to Let continues to slow

In recent weeks there have been rumours, originating initially from The Sun , that the Treasury is contemplating a fresh increase in stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on buy-to-let (BTL) properties. The idea comes at a time when SDLT receipts are showing signs of flagging.

August 28, 2018
 
 
 

Capital Gains ruling on your main residence

In the recent case of McHugh v HMRC, the First Tier Tax (FTT) Tribunal were asked to consider the question of whether private residence relief from capital gains tax (CGT) should be given in respect of any part of a three-year period of ownership that preceded the taxpayer’s occupation of the property.

August 27, 2018
 
 
 
 
 

IR35 – the recent tax case of Christa Ackroyd Media Limited and the Commissioners for HMRC

In a recent tax case, Christa Ackroyd Media Limited and the Commissioners for HMRC, Christa Ackroyd (the taxpayer) lost her appeal against HMRC’s decision that she was caught by IR35. This is the first of what’s expected to be a number of high-profile appeals involving television presenters and IR35. Do you run a personal services company? …

March 11, 2018