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

Are utility bills about to fall with return of Ofgem price cap?

An announcement in late May will herald a fall in gas and electricity bills from July. (Source: Ofgem, Cornwall Insights.) 

Last year the Ofgem price cap rise dominated headlines with its 54% increase – from £1,277 a year to £1,971. This leap caused a flurry of government measures, including £150 council tax rebates, followed by a universal £400 payment and the introduction of an Energy Price Guarantee (EPG). 

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Father’s Day, later life care and sandwiches... (yes, really.)

First up, happy Father’s Day. To all the dads, grandads, dads-to-be, step-dads, biological dads, adoptive dads, and father figures – we appreciate you. Your role as any of these likely entails taking care of small to medium-sized humans – or fully grown adults – in one way or another. And while you’ve probably got some combination of feeding, watering, advising, supporting, and memory making down to a tee, you may not have thought about how later life planning fits in to the ‘dad’ of it all. 

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Will the bank deposit protection rise?

Is the maximum protection for bank deposits overdue for an increase?  

The figure of £85,000 is one you might have regularly seen in articles (or some adverts) about bank deposits. It's the maximum deposit value in an authorised deposit-taking institution that is covered by the Financial Service Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If the deposit is in joint names, the £85,000 is doubled. However, there's a trap to watch out for – more than one bank may operate under the same banking license. For example, the Halifax’s license also covers the Bank of Scotland, Birmingham Midshires and St James Place Bank.  

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A long tax year for the self employed?

Calling all self-employed: Did you know that the 2023/24 tax year might be longer than you think? 

If you’re self-employed, until 2023/24, you’ve normally been taxed on the profits made in the accounting year that ends in the tax year. For example, if your accounting year ran to 30 April, then in the last tax year, 2022/23, you’re taxed on the profits for your accounting year ending on 30 April 2022 – a few weeks after the start of the tax year. 

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An inheritance fit for a king

This weekend, King Charles will be coronated – and it’s got us thinking about inheritance. Behind all the pomp, pageantry, and Victoria sponge cake is a man inheriting his mother’s estate. And what an estate it is too. 

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Earth Day 2023: ‘Invest in our Planet’ with ESG

April 22nd marks Earth Day, the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. The theme of Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in our Planet’ - so naturally it caught our attention. As a firm of Independent Financial Advisers, ‘investing’ is core to our business. But did you know that you can invest in a sustainable future? 

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Pension tax rules change in Spring Budget

New measures affecting pension allowances announced in the March Budget could mean your retirement planning strategy needs to be reviewed.

If Jeremy Hunt did produce a ‘rabbit-out-the-hat’ in his Spring Budget, it was the announcement of the effective abolition of the pensions lifetime allowance (LTA) from 2023/24.

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Suits to soup kitchen: Our Helping Hands takeover

Helping Hands Community Project is a charity based in Leamington Spa, who do essential work providing support for the homeless and vulnerable in our local areas.  

When the team here at Simpson Financial Services heard there was an opportunity to get stuck in and help, we lay down our calculators and donned our aprons.  

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Automatic enrolment and pension contribution reforms

A new government bill indicates that a change to the automatic enrolment minimum age, and increases to workplace pension contributions, could be on the horizon.  

Private members’ bills rarely get far in the parliamentary process. They all too easily fall by the wayside, as second and any subsequent readings of a bill must take place on a Friday – a back-to-constituency day for most MPs – and be concluded before 2:30pm.  For a bill to stand much chance of success, it therefore needs the support of the government.

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A trio of Budget measures for childcare

The Budget announced three important changes to childcare provisions in England, but one trap remains.

The cost of childcare has become a hot topic in recent years. Despite increasing demand, in March 2022 the number of childcare places available had little changed since August 2015.  

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Looking forward to a Happy New Tax Year?

The new tax year starts on 6 April, heralding a raft of changes that will make an early tax review of the year ahead a wise move.

There is always plenty of attention given to planning for the end of the tax year, making use of allowances that are otherwise lost at midnight on 5 April. A March Budget normally adds to the focus as speculation mounts about what might change even before the tax year ends. Much less attention is paid to planning for the start of the new tax year, but that can be just as valuable an exercise.

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Hannah Stanley wins Young Achiever of the Year Award

We’re thrilled to announce that Hannah Stanley, a dedicated and passionate member of our team, has recently been honoured with the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Young Achiever of the Year Award. 

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Recently, we wrote about the rising rate of inflation, and how we saw 2021 coming to a close with inflation sitting at its highest level in almost 30 years, at 5.4%. What was not so clear, though, is just how much the effect of rising inflation in real terms is having, and will continue to have, on your individual financial circumstances.

The ‘2021 Inflation Components’ otherwise known as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) “basket of goods,” are included within the overall inflation calculation.

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From an all-time low of just 0.1% in March 2020, to its highest figure in decades, it is fair to say that the security blanket around the inflation rate has been well and truly pulled from under us.  

Our team at Simpson Financial Services often finds that changes such as the rate of inflation and cost of living are not fully understood. Nor is the impact that increasing inflation can have on long-term savings and overall financial planning.

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It’s hard to believe that we are a month on from Christmas and New Year already. Other than when the next Bank Holiday and this year’s Jubilee celebrations are, where else are your thoughts drifting this year? Well, sorry, but you are going to have to come back from dreaming about your long hot summer holiday for now, because the tax year-end is almost upon us. And whilst it might not be top of your favourite things to do, if you are not already forging ahead, personal tax planning and efficient financial calculations now could be more beneficial than you may think.

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