Planning ahead can give you the peace of mind that your loved ones can cope financially without you

No one likes to think about it but death is the one certainty that we all face. Planning ahead can give you the peace of mind that your loved ones can cope financially without you and, at a difficult time, helps remove the stress that monetary worries can bring.

Don’t overlook your most important assets, the people who drive your business

Every business has key people who are driving it forward. Many businesses recognise the need to insure their company property, equipment and fixed assets. However, they continually overlook their most important assets, the people who drive the business – a key employee, director or shareholder.

Keeping pace with the growing size of an ageing population

The funding of long-term care remains one of the biggest public policy challenges facing the government. As the baby-boomer generation grows older, it is estimated that spending on social care needs to double in real terms over the next twenty years just to keep pace with the growing size of the ageing population.

How would you pay the bills if you were sick or injured and couldn’t work?

Protecting your income should be taken very seriously, given the limited government support available. How would you pay the bills if you were sick or injured and couldn’t work? Income protection insurance, formerly known as ‘permanent health insurance’, is a financial safety net designed to help protect you, your family and your lifestyle in the event that you cannot work and cope financially due to an illness or accidental injury preventing you from working.

Providing financial protection with cover that lasts for the rest of your life

Whole-of-life assurance policies provide financial security for people who depend on you financially. As the name suggests, whole-of-life assurance helps you protect your loved ones financially with cover that lasts for the rest of your life. This means the insurance company will have to pay out in almost every case and premiums are therefore higher than those charged on term assurance policies.

You can’t rely on always being there for those who depend on you

It’s essential to have the right sort of life assurance in place. You can’t rely on always being there for those who depend on you. There are various ways of providing for your family in the event of your premature death, but term assurance policies are the simplest and cheapest form of cover. The plans have no cash-in value or payments on survival as their design is limited to protecting your family. However, you could also use term assurance in relation to estate planning and for the payment of mortgages or other debts.

Providing a financial safety net for your loved ones

Whether you’re looking to provide a financial safety net for your loved ones, moving house or a first time buyer looking to arrange your mortgage life insurance – or simply wanting to add some cover to what you’ve already got – you’ll want to make sure you choose the right type of cover. That’s why obtaining the right advice and knowing which products to choose – including the most suitable sum assured, premium, terms and payment provisions – is essential.

Bringing your pensions under one roof

Pension transfers can be complicated and you should always seek professional financial advice before going ahead. Remember, whether a transfer is suitable or not will very much depend upon your individual circumstances and objectives.

A new, simple, low-cost pension scheme

In December 2006, the former Government published a White Paper outlining its workplace pension reforms, including proposals for NEST (the National Employment Savings Trust) – previously called Personal Accounts. This led to the Workplace Pension Reforms set out in the Pensions Act 2008. These reforms aim to increase individuals’ savings for retirement.

Options available when an occupational pension is not provided

Your employer is currently required to offer you the chance to join a pension scheme if they currently employ five or more employees. If an occupational pension is not provided, then this would normally be a Stakeholder Pension Scheme or alternative Personal Pension Scheme. The requirement for employers to provide access to Stakeholder Pension Schemes is regulated by the Pensions Regulator.

Contributing a preferential sum into an employee’s pension plan

Salary sacrifice (sometimes known as ‘salary waiver’) in the context of retirement planning is a contractual agreement to waive all or part of an employee’s salary in return for the employer contributing a preferential (equivalent) sum into their pension plan.

How the new rules could affect your retirement provision

From 6 April 2011, private sector Final Salary Pensions need only be uprated in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Typically, CPI runs below RPI and, consequently, over time this could mean some final salary members experience a reduction in their retirement income.

Joining your employer’s scheme

Occupational pension schemes vary from company to company. Your scheme is likely to be one of two general types, Final Salary related or Defined Contribution Scheme.

Figures show the lowest company pension levels since the 1950s

The number of private sector workers with a company pension has fallen to its lowest level since the 1950s according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of the total private sector workforce of 23.1m, only 3.3m – some 14 per cent – are in a company scheme. This contrasts starkly with the public sector, where almost nine in ten will receive a pension.

Nearly half the working population are not saving enough

Only 51 per cent of British workers are saving adequately for old age, according to the latest annual Scottish Widows pension report.