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

The Autumn Statement and controlling your tax bill

The Chancellor’s national insurance contribution (NICs) ‘giveaway’ is no match for his income tax ‘takeaway’. 

The central surprise in Jeremy Hunt’s second Autumn Statement was a major reduction in NICs. 

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UK house prices continue to fall

Since early 2022 rising mortgage rates have taken their toll on house prices.

Whether you're selling, buying, or just keeping an eye - this one's for you.

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4 mistakes you might be making with your insurance policies

Your protection policies - home insurance, life insurance, critical illness protection, and many more – should never be an afterthought. It’s very easy to leave them until later, but the stakes are high and they’re crucial in doing exactly what they say on the tin; protecting you, your family, your home, your business. We’ve been helping clients find the best protection for their needs for almost 20 years, and we’ve spotted a few common mistakes along the way.   

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Have you got your Lasting Powers of Attorney sorted?

The digital revolution has almost reached the administration of lasting powers of attorney (LPA).

Picture the scene: You’ve got all your ducks in a row, and your LPA is sitting beside your Will. This will simplify matters considerably for your family. But have you actually?

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Why savings rates aren’t always what they seem

National Savings & Investments has launched two top of the savings league table one-year bonds, but the headline rates might not be your net return.  

In August, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) raised the return of many of its offerings, from the Direct ISAs to the Green Savings Bond. However, all eyes have been on the new rates for the one-year Guaranteed Growth Bond (GGB) and Guaranteed Income Bond (GIB). 

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State pension: Will the ‘triple lock’ survive the next election?

The future of the triple lock is uncertain ahead of a 2024 general election, and with state pension increases potentially outpacing inflation next April. 

What’s the triple lock? 

Under the triple lock, the basic state pension received in retirement rises each year in line with whichever is the highest out of three factors: wage growth, inflation or 2.5%. Both the old and new state pensions are subject to it. 

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Should I defer my state pension?

Most people choose to draw their state pension as soon as possible – especially as the goalposts keep moving. The state pension age has changed every year since 1987, and it’s still on the move.  

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Can you afford the retirement you want?

More than 30% of people are facing a struggle during retirement, according to new research. 

If you’re not currently feeling the “cost of living crisis”, you’re in the minority. The unhappy combination of high inflation, stealthily increased taxation and limited earnings growth is having far reaching effects. The crisis should pass in time, but as we’re in the depths of it we often forget that it was only just over two years ago (July 2021) that inflation was just 2.0% - the Bank of England’s target. 

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What not to do when interest rates are high

Your questions, answered by our experts. 

Have you been wondering whether you should sell your investments to benefit from high interest rates in a savings account? Perhaps you’re seeing a 2% return on your investments, but you can get 6% in cash ISAs, and it feels sensible to cash out and enjoy the 6%. You can always buy equities again when the market has recovered – right?  

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Is the Bank of Mum and Dad in crisis?

One of the major providers of property finance is facing difficult questions thanks to rising mortgage rates. 

There’s a group that’s estimated to have provided £8.8 billion of residential property finance to 170,000 first-time buyers in 2022 alone. They have no high street presence and no oversight from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Bank of England. 

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Smart saving: How to minimise your interest tax bill

You’re putting aside money regularly, your savings pot is growing, and you’re earning decent interest on it. But are you ready for the tax bill? 

There’s a chance that the way you’re saving isn’t working in your best interest - pun intended. This is because the interest you earn in most savings accounts is subject to tax. The amount you’re taxed depends on your income, because you can earn an amount of interest tax-free, depending on your Income Tax band – this is called the Personal Savings Allowance (PSA).  

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4 ways to align your business and personal finances as an MD

Aligning your business and personal finances benefits your company and your lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to leverage your position as a Managing Director and/or business owner for the benefit of your personal financial goals (that make great business sense too). You can find four of them below. 

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Why are savings rates lower than the current interest rate?

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report is here, and analysis reveals savers are being short-changed. 

The weighty Monetary Policy Report is issued every three months by the Bank of England to set out the economic analysis and inflation projections that its Monetary Policy Committee uses to make their interest rate decisions. While that might sound like a cure for insomnia, it often includes some valuable insights into the Bank’s thinking and how UK plc is functioning. 

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Further delays to the Pension Dashboard Programme

Have you heard of the Pensions Dashboard Programme? Back in 2016, the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority said; “[The Treasury] should challenge the industry to make a pensions dashboard available to consumers by 2019, bringing together industry and consumer representatives to help them set direction and drive progress.” This was in the wake of the introduction of pensions flexibility and the replacement of the old state pension scheme with the single-tier new state pension. 

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One month left for voluntary NICs...

If you’ve got gaps in your national insurance contributions (NICs) record, then mark 31st July on your calendar. This deadline serves as a reminder for you to consider making voluntary contributions.  

Since the introduction of the new state pension in April 2016, several adjustments have been made to the rules regarding pension entitlement and NICs. Understanding these changes is essential to ensure you make informed decisions about your pension provision. 

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