UK parents spend £28 billion on nation’s under-fives each year

UK parents spend around £35,000 on their children by the time they reach their fifth birthday, according to research released by Aviva. This adds up to a total of more than £28 billion[1] spent on the nation’s 4 million under-fives each year.

Inside the minds of savers and investors

Now in its third edition, the latest BlackRock Investor Pulse survey takes an in-depth look at Britons’ attitude to money and provides a fascinating insight into the minds of savers and investors.

Sorting out finances high on most people’s list

Britons are determined to become more financially savvy about their saving and spending habits this year, with three quarters (76%) of adults admitting they are prepared to moderate their lifestyle, according to a new survey by Standard Life.

It’s not just about picking investments wisely, it’s holding them in the most suitable place

Now that we’ve entered a new tax year, if you are already planning how you are going to fully utilise your current Individual Savings Account (ISA) tax-efficient allowance, it’s not just about picking investments wisely – it’s also important to make sure you hold them in the best place. With this in mind, the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has taken a look at investment company performance data when the full ISA limit is invested. If you had invested a lump sum of £15,000[1] into the average investment company ten years ago, you would now have £38,323.50. This is £6,433.90 more than the same investment in the FTSE All-Share, which would generate £31,889.60.

Year-on-year rise in the number of long-term savers

The UK is becoming a nation of savers, with three quarters (74%) of people saying they are currently saving, research from Scottish Widows has revealed.

What gives specialist sectors an advantage?

The hunt for income has shown no sign of slowing. Alternative assets in areas such as infrastructure, debt and property can offer a high level of income, and, being illiquid assets, they are particularly suited to being held in a closed-ended fund. Indeed, of the 49 investment companies yielding over 5%, 32 (65%) are from specialist sectors[1]. What gives these specialist sectors an advantage when it comes to yield? Why would investors consider these specialist sectors as part of their income portfolio?

Narrowing the knowledge gap for investors

Record-low interest rates are rarely out of the news these days. With UK investors struggling to achieve a decent income from traditional investment sources, it might raise a few eyebrows to learn that less than half can correctly explain the term ‘income investing’.

Companies which have increased their dividends each year for at least 20 years

Interest rates recently marked a sixth year at a record low of 0.5%. Therefore, it is noteworthy that research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) shows that a fifth (21%) of AIC member investment companies which have been in existence for more than 10 years have raised their dividends for at least 10 years in a row.

Living with several pending risk events, liquidity and risk appetite go with the territory

The fundamental environment in emerging markets remains stable. As the market has grown accustomed to living with several pending risk events, liquidity and risk appetite have been creeping back up. Buyers of emerging market mutual funds have been returning to the asset class after the commencement of the ECB’s version of QE.

When was the last time you revisited your investment goals?

It’s vital to know why you’re investing. The first step is to have a good think about your financial situation and your reasons for investing. Whatever your personal investment goal may be, it is important to set your time horizon at the outset, as this will impact on the type of investments you should consider to help achieve your goals. It also makes sense to revisit your investment goals at regular intervals to account for any changes to your personal circumstances.

Exposure to a range of assets through a single investment

In performance terms, the attraction of investment trusts is consistently evident. They allow you to pool your money with that of other investors to get exposure to a range of assets through a single investment and are listed companies that issue a fixed number of shares quoted on a stock market, such as the London Stock Exchange.

Divergent monetary policies and growth trends could be key themes of 2015

The return of volatility – as valuations and investor complacency remain elevated – will make it vital for investors to consider hedging against downside risk and cut back on ‘me too’ investments this year, according to the BlackRock Investment Institute’s (BII) 2015 Investment Outlook.

Sorting out our finances is high on our list of priorities in 2015

The British population is determined to get more savvy about their saving and spending habits in 2015, with three quarters (76%) of adults admitting they are prepared to moderate their lifestyle, according to a new survey by Standard Life.

Legally minimising or mitigating taxation on current and future tax liabilities before 6 April 2015

Tax planning is a very complex area covering many forms of tax. No one likes paying more tax than they legally have to, but one of the challenges of wealth is the high taxation it attracts. For some individuals the need for specialist professional advice has never been greater. With the current tax year end rapidly approaching, we’ve provided some tax planning areas for you to consider before 6 April 2015.

Time is running out if you want to make the most of your tax-efficient savings allowance

If you are keen to take advantage of the New Individual Savings Account (NISA) allowance, now increased to £15,000, and make the most of your tax-efficient savings, time is running out. You only have until 5 April to fully utilise your 2014/15 NISA allowance, after which it will be lost forever.