Proper tax and financial planning can lower and defer the tax you pay

A review of your financial and tax planning to maximise your net income and your business and family assets should now be high on your agenda prior to the tax-year end on 5 April 2012.

A change in the calendar does nothing to change the investment outlook

One of the principal tenets of spreading risk in your portfolio is to diversify your investments whatever the time of year. Diversification is the process of investing in areas that have little or no relation to each other. This is called a ‘low correlation’.

Taking some practical steps now could mean a more comfortable retirement

People retiring in 2012 expect to live on an average annual income of £15,500 – over £1,000 a year less (6 per cent) than those who retired in 2011. The figures come from Prudential’s unique Class of 2012 research, which provides insights into the financial expectations of Britons planning to retire in the next 12 months.

Your questions answered

The future is always unknown, but when it comes to retirement it pays to be in the know

The end of the tax year is fast approaching and marks a significant period of pension change as a result of the Finance Act 2011. The future is always unknown, but when it comes to retirement it pays to be in the know.

Have you made sure your beneficiaries will be looked after?

Estate planning should start early in life and is for everyone, not just the very wealthy. It is about ensuring control of your estate and planning ahead so there are no uncertainties about how it is managed in the future.

You may decide to use a trust to pass assets to beneficiaries, particularly those who aren’t immediately able to look after their own affairs. If you do use a trust to give something away, this removes it from your estate provided you don’t use it or get any benefit from it. But bear in mind that gifts into trust may be liable to inheritance tax.

Insurance for long-term care means that you pay (either in premiums or a lump sum) for your provider to take care of costs for you. State provision is currently very complicated and typically only assists people once their personal assets have fallen below a certain level. The level of help also varies from one local authority to another.

Parents would rather do without themselves than radically cut back on what they can provide for their children

The annual Cost of a Child Report [1] from protection and retirement specialist LV=, reveals the cost of raising a child from birth to their 21st birthday now totals a record £218,024. This equates to £10,382 a year, £865 a month or £28.44 a day.

Concern among our growing elderly population

The need for long-term care and how it should be paid for is arguably one of the greatest causes for concern among our growing elderly population. Almost half a million people are now in residential care homes, nursing homes and long stay hospitals.

Why your annuity will have to last you for longer

An annuity is an investment which will pay you an income for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. This is achieved by handing over your pension fund to an insurance company in return for an annuity when you retire. The insurer then guarantees to pay you an income for the rest of your life via the annuity.

Not enough action is taken to safeguard the financial wellbeing of our families

Four out of five new parents are risking their children’s financial futures by skimping on life cover, according to new research from Aviva.

Choosing the right strategy in order for you to enjoy your retirement years

After years of saving into your pension fund, you’ve now decided you want to retire and are overwhelmed by the retirement options available. We can work with you to choose the right strategy in order for you to enjoy your retirement years.

Looking to achieve capital security, growth or income?

For the appropriate investor looking to achieve capital security, growth or income, there are a number of advantages to investing offshore, particularly with regards to utilising the tax deferral benefits. You can defer paying tax for the lifetime of the investment, so your investment rolls up without tax being deducted, but you still have to pay tax at your highest rate when you cash the investment in. As a result, with careful planning, a variety of savers could put offshore investments to good use.

Why we are adopting a more mature approach to handling our finances

While 18 is traditionally seen to be the age at which we become adults, as a nation we are beginning to delay taking on the roles and responsibilities adulthood brings, according to new findings from Scottish Widows’ Attitudes to Planning survey.