Are you heading for retirement? Have you gone through a divorce, separation, or a bereavement and you need to think about financial plans for later life? Do you have elderly relatives who are worried they might not have sufficient income to see them through retirement? It is almost a year since our last retirement blog, and along with potential personal economic impact following the pandemic, some interesting research findings around pension planning theory have been released, so we thought this might ease your concerns. To put it very simply, whenever you start saving for retirement it is never too late!

You might think you need to start planning and making pension contributions as soon as you start work, and it could be too late for you if you have eaten into your savings, without considerations for a pension pot. Indeed, that was what we were taught by the older generations. And we always did what we were told, didn’t we?!

As if 2021 wasn’t life changing enough with the pandemic, there was also the small matter of BREXIT thrown into the mix. For some, there will be an insignificant impact. Certain items may take longer to appear on the supermarket shelves or could disappear altogether. But we’ll soon find alternatives. Some employees may have been impacted to a greater degree, as with some business owners. For others, it could create a challenge, or an opportunity, to reconsider life in the UK and whether that is what they want for their future. Here, I’m talking about tax rules for living abroad, how they have changed, what it means for residency, and how we can assist in your financial planning if living abroad is something you are considering.

There has never been a more important time to be on top of your finances than now. The uncertainty of the past 12 months or so has given the entire world a shake up, and we all know that a testing time lies ahead whilst we recover from the COVID fall out in one way or another. So, perhaps now is also the time for you to start considering seeking guidance around your own finances, to ensure you and your family are secure, and you can survive financially if, God forbid, anything similar were to happen again. Here, I am going to talk through how to find the right financial adviser, and why it is important to find a service which suits your individual circumstances, what to look for and what to expect from a reputable financial adviser, and why Simpson Financial Services could fit the bill and guide your financial planning securely into the future.

This continuation from our tax planning blog is primarily based around financial planning for business in the 2021-2022 tax year. Again, it is general information with tips to gain tax advantages, and is for reference only. It is not provided as bespoke advice or guidance for your individual business.

If you require more detailed information and calculations in relation to any of these tips, our team of Independent Financial Advisors here at Simpson Financial Services can assist with financial recommendations to meet your individual needs and those of your business.

Just recently, I have discussed how the 2021 Budget has impacted various elements of financial planning. Having spoken about ISAs in our last blog, and how we can assist you in getting the most ‘bang for your buck’ during the 2021-2022 tax year, our next couple of blogs are going to share with you some of the top personal and family, property, and business tax planning tips, covering a wider range of scenarios.

With tax comes certain complexities though, so to aid your tax planning, I am going to highlight just some of the ways you can benefit from certain tax reliefs and avoid some of the associated penalties.  

Please note this is not definitive guidance for your individual financial circumstances. To gain the most appropriate and relevant personal financial advice, our team of expert Independent Financial Advisors are on hand to run through a review of your entire financial portfolio, savings, and investments, and future plans. So, please use these tips purely as an overview for your tax planning and not formal financial advice.

Individual Savings Accounts, or ISAs, have changed dramatically since they were first introduced over 20 years ago. From the only two ISA options in 1999, the cash ISA and Stocks and Shares ISA, there are now various other choices, including Junior ISAs for the under 18s, Lifetime ISAs for 18-39s (£4,000 maximum deposit per tax year), Help to Buy ISA (recently partially replaced by the Lifetime option), and the Innovative Finance ISA (specifically for crowdfunding investors).

The cash ISA used to be considered the best of all traditional savings accounts, but as time has progressed and interest rates are now lower than they have been for many years, ISAs overall are being questioned by some for their efficiency, and indeed if they are still worth considering at all as a savings solution.

Whether you decide to go ahead with a cash ISA or any other savings or investment, it should be considered a long-term investment and included within your wider financial planning. The value of your investments can go up or down, and you cannot rely on past investments as an indicator of future financial security.

The economic uncertainty resulting from the pandemic is likely to manifest in various ways over the next few years. One area that we already know has been greatly affected and for which some may even say the timing of the pandemic was ‘advantageous’ from major companies’ perspective, is that of dividend payments.

During 2020, many companies decided the time was right to make the move to cut or completely shelve dividend pay-outs. This was possibly on the cards for some time but was prompted by the Bank of England’s decision to effectively stop all the major UK banks, including those mainly focused overseas, from paying out on almost £8bn worth of dividends and shareholder payments.  

This resulted in UK dividend payments being far less satisfactory than those on a global scale, where during the latter half of the year 12% of global companies cancelled dividends with a further 22% cutting them. The latest edition of Janus Henderson’s Global Dividend Index highlighted the difference between the global and UK figures, with UK seeing a much higher cancellation rate from 32% of companies, in addition to 23% cutting payments altogether.

How often have you thought about retiring to the coast? Buying a dream property in the country or even buying your first home? Or adding to your family bolt holes with their future inheritance in mind? Well, the good news is, you could do it sooner than you planned. Because it’s not too late to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, which has been extended until 30th June - and there are further benefits available after that date.

It’s fair to say, we are all getting slightly fed up now of hearing about the Pandemic, especially as we are finally seeing ‘green shoots’ appearing all around us. But one thing the past year or so has done for us is make us think more about what is important in life now. Not waiting until the time is right, or until we retire, or until we have everything lined up perfectly.

And it could be perfect timing, not only with the temporary stamp duty holiday, but also with the recent introduction of the Government Mortgage Guarantee Scheme (MGS), with the Treasury agreeing to reimburse a portion of any losses the lenders experience in the case of a repossession.

Do you remember the good old days, when you could buy a whole bag of sweets for less than 10p? Yet now, a pic ‘n’ mix in the cinema is nearly as much as the ticket to see the film! Why? The simple explanation is inflation.  

Over the years, our favourite penny sweets have disappeared, replaced by something that looks half the size for more than twice the price.

If you are of that age, now is the perfect time to start considering how the anticipated rise in inflation is likely to impact your family, job, and spending patterns.

And it’s also the perfect time to review your financial situation, to make sure your financial planning remains on track – for now and in years to come.  

Here, we are going to look at inflation in easy-to-understand terms, and how we can help you prepare for what is anticipated.

You’ve spent your working life planning for your future. You’ve carefully considered your retirement. But what about your ‘estate’ and financial security for your beneficiaries after you have passed away? Our Independent Financial Advisers here at Simpson Financial Services will give you peace of mind that your loved ones need not lose out under the financial burden of Inheritance Tax.

We will work with you, so you could enjoy the fruits of your labour with your loved ones. But also ensure that your financial planning leaves them in the best possible place to avoid huge tax payments and maximise the benefits of their inheritance.

2020 brought us many challenges. Working from home. An upsurge in baking sourdough bread at home, of all things. Along with many other new opportunities. And, although possibly unsurprisingly, there is now talk of a Baby Boom in 2021. But with this comes the question as to how many families are ready for this lifestyle change. If you are joining this anticipated baby Boom, have you started to consider financial planning for maternity leave?

Do you know the costs of parenthood? What does maternity leave mean to you? Have you thought about your options, and how it will leave you financially as a family?

This blog explains the key factors around maternity leave, maternity pay and how our financial planning experts can make sure you are in a financially stable position ahead of time. Afterall, this should be a positive, happy time for you and your family, so financial preparation every step of the way will make your pregnancy and parenthood so much more enjoyable.

Are you are totally settled and happy in your current family home but could do with a little more space? Or have you have spent so much time at home recently you can see how your home could do with updating with a refurbishment. Maybe you think downsizing is your only option if you are struggling with monthly outgoings.  Or, as is the case for many of our clients, have you have managed to increase your savings during the pandemic? Whatever your current circumstances, now might be the ideal time to review your finances and consider re-mortgaging your home.

We would love to help you find the right option.

The pandemic has created challenges that the country has never experienced. You might think that re-mortgaging is out of the equation for you. Especially if you have been impacted by job risk or furlough.  

Are you feeling stuck in a rut in the corporate world, or worried about your job? Have you been made redundant?  Or, has your furlough made you think about things very differently? Do you have some amazing ideas, but are unsure how to make your dream a reality? Are you ready think about setting up on your own? If the answer to these questions is “yes” then this blog may help you prepare to step out of your comfort zone, get all your ducks in a row, and set you on your way to starting a new business!

If you are confident in your “why” and you have the passion and resilience to get back up after any setbacks; you have the financial backing in place; and the support of those around you; then you are at least part way there.

But even if you are only starting to consider a new venture at this stage, whilst it may be a huge step, it need not be too overwhelming with the right guidance.

The past 12 months has probably impacted your business in one way or another. Especially if you have had an exit strategy in place for some time or are just starting to consider leaving your business.

So how do you know when the time is right, and that you have everything in place to ensure a successful sale to prospective new owners, and a comfortable life for you and your family?

When you started out in business, planning an exit strategy may not have been high on your agenda. Hours, days, and weeks of consistent hard work have gone into your business, sometimes only able to see as far ahead as the next month-end or maybe even weekend! Certainly, no thoughts to the distant future.

With 2020 having been so unstable and challenging, making resolutions for 2021 might seem a little over optimistic. But if you have managed to get through the year of the Pandemic unscathed and are already deciding how you can improve in 2021 in other ways, then perhaps New Year financial planning might not be such a bad thing to add into the equation.

Here are a few of suggestions which might mean you can end 2021 in a better financial position than you are starting: