Check out our latest thoughts and insights on a variety of financial topics

State pension age rise for anyone born after 1978

The State pension age (SPA) should rise much faster than planned, accordng to an independent report. 

Despite the next SPA rise beginning in less than two years (with the phased increase to 67 ending April 2028), neither of the main political parties are likely to say much about further SPA changes in their upcoming election manifestos. 

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Changes to the child benefit tax rules

The recent Spring Budget brought a few surprises – one of them being the change to how child benefit is taxed for higher earners. 

The high income child benefit charge (HICBC or ‘hicbic’) was introduced in January 2013 to reduce child benefit payments for higher earners. It was considered an arbitrary piece of legislation by some as the charge was triggered where one individual had income exceeding £50,000. A couple with income of £49,999 each were unaffected, but a single parent with income of £60,000 lost all their child benefit. 

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Key announcements from the Spring Budget 2024

Last week’s Spring Budget was almost certainly the last before the election, and whilst it delivered a lot of expected headlines, there were still a handful of small surprises. 

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The problem with working past State Pension Age

Recent research on planned retirement ages has produced some unexpected and perhaps unrealistic results.  

A recent survey revealed that almost half of Britons under 66 who had not already retired were expecting to continue working beyond the age at which they would start to receive the State pension. The average age at which many said they would finally be able to ‘clock off’ was 72.  

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Women in finance: Inspiring inclusion with equal opportunities

International Women’s Day 2024 is all about inspiring inclusion. When it comes to finance, we believe that representation is crucial in driving change; the more women are seen working within traditionally male environments - especially at senior leadership levels - the more inclusive those environments tend to become.  

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How much money do you need in retirement?

New research has put some surprising numbers on the income needed in retirement. 

Each year since 2019, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has set about answering the question of how much retirement costs for couples and single retirees.

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Start your new tax year planning early

There are a range of changes taking effect when the new tax year begins on the 6th April that could impact your financial planning. 

The start of the new tax year will see many allowances and tax bands frozen once again. In reality, these freezes are tax increases as the government has effectively allowed inflation to determine how much greater a proportion of your income and estate should pass to the Treasury. Had the allowances and bands all been increased in line with inflation, then they would be rising by 6.7% for 2024/25, using the standard yardstick of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to the previous September. 

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4 considerations when looking for independent financial advice

Whether you’d like assistance with your family budgeting, want to know if you can afford to retire early or need help getting a mortgage, great financial advice can be life changing. But with so many IFA firms out there, how do you know where to go? 

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The Spring Budget 2024 comes early

A date to note in this year’s calendar is the early Spring Budget on Wednesday 6 March. 

The Treasury issued a press release in the time between Christmas and the New Year revealing the Spring Budget date, a week earlier than in 2023. The unusual timing of the announcement may seem strange, but there were two inter-linked reasons which could explain it:  

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Inflation expected to fall in 2024

At the start of 2023, the Prime Minister pledged to halve inflation. The goal was reached, but how much credit can he take for the achievement?  

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How much money do I need to get financial advice?

When it comes to managing finances, many people believe that working with a financial adviser is a luxury only for the wealthy. The common misconception is that you need to have a hefty bank account or a net worth in the millions to even consider seeking professional financial guidance. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Most people can afford and benefit from seeking the services of a financial adviser; they just may not realise it yet.

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Multi award-winning financial advice in Leamington Spa

It’s been an incredible start to 2024 for team SFS; we’re thrilled to announce that our Head of Paraplanning, Alex James, has won the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)’s Young Achiever of the Year Award. 

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How are current interest rates affecting mortgages?

It’s tricky to navigate the world of mortgages and ever-changing interest rates. But fear not – we're here to demystify – we sat down with Independent Mortgage Adviser, Chris Le Marquand, to get his take on the current market. 

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The gift of finance this Christmas – and the tax implications

It’s that time of year again when financial gifts may be given... and HMRC is watching.  

Tax is never far away from anything you do and making gifts to children at Christmas is no exception. There are a few key tax areas you should bear in mind. 

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Generational attitudes to retirement planning

A survey of 6,000 people, aged 18 to 80, revealed starkly different views on retirement across the generations.  

According to the Office for National Statistics, the median age of the UK population in mid-2021 was 40.7 years, up from 39.6 in mid-2011. Perhaps that gradual ageing and the impact of Covid-19 on working patterns explains why there is a steady flow of research reports on attitudes to, and experiences of, retirement.

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