Latest Blogs

How do you feel about taking a pension at 75?

Is a state pension age (SPA) of 75 looking more likely? Recommendation The SPA should better reflect the longer life expectancies that we now enjoy and be used to support the fiscal balance of the nation. The SPA in the UK is set to rise to 66 by 2020 (Pensions Act 2011), to 67 between […]

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When it comes to funds, the best advice is personal

The recent problems with the suspension of dealings in a heavily promoted UK equity income fund have exposed the blurred line between advice and guidance. According to the Investment Association (IA), there are around 3,500 funds on sale in the UK. The IA sorts these into over 30 individual investment sectors, although about 10% are […]

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Student fees may be coming down

A government-commissioned report has proposed significant changes to the funding of university students in England. Students resident in England (different rules apply in other parts of the UK) pay a maximum university tuition fee of £9,250 per year, financed by a student loan. Further loans to cover maintenance plus interest at RPI+3% mean that at […]

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Pension flexibility: too taxing for many

Recent HMRC statistics highlight the over-taxation of some pension benefits. More than one million people have received flexible pension payments thanks to the rules introduced just over four years ago. HMRC’s most recent statistics, to the end of March 2019, show that 1,113,000 people have withdrawn over £25,600m from their pensions, across 6,136,000 payments. The […]

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How well do you understand inheritance tax?

A survey by HMRC published in May concluded that the public have a relatively poor knowledge of inheritance tax (IHT) rules and lack of confidence in what they do know. HMRC recently commissioned a survey of 947 people who had made gifts in the last two years. To assess knowledge of the IHT system among […]

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Riding out investment bonds

Professional investor interest has been focusing on US government bond yields, with potential lessons for long term investment. On 22 March the US stock market caught a sudden – and brief – chill.  One of the main reasons was the red line in the graph shown above. This shows a yield curve plot, which shows […]

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How long do you want to work for?

As people are living longer, a parallel older-age profile is emerging in the labour force. Labour market statistics for the period December 2018 to February 2019 revealed some impressive results. In the UK, employment of those aged 16–64 was running at 76.1%, the joint highest level ever and up 0.7% on a year ago. Drill […]

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One more twist on buy to let

Buy-to-let investors will be hit by another notch up of the tax ratchet. When George Osborne announced in his summer 2015 Budget a variety of tax changes aimed at discouraging buy-to-let (BTL) investment, they came as a surprise. To ease their impact, the then Chancellor phased in the most significant reform, a revised treatment of […]

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Old case throws up pension protection risk

A European Court decision from 1990 is suddenly raising questions about a key element of pension taxation. On 17 May 1990, the European Court of Justice decided that gender equality should be applied to non-state pensions. The case, Barber v GRE, prompted a major overhaul in UK pension provisions. At the time most pension schemes […]

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Check your April pay slip

Your April pay may look much the same as March’s, but it is worth giving your pay slip a close look. If you are an employee, your April pay slip is always worth checking, even if you pay little attention to the other eleven you receive over a year. The items to check include: Salary […]

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Inflation dips below the Bank of England’s target

UK inflation fell below 2% for the first time in two years.  January 2019 saw the lowest level of inflation since January 2017, with the rate recorded at 1.8%. The data was slightly better than had been expected, with the CPI rate falling to below the Bank of England’s 2% target for the first time […]

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The rise and rise of UK dividends

Dividend payments from UK companies in 2018 once again outpaced annual inflation.   Your income could have increased by more than double the rate of CPI inflation in 2018. Link Asset Services, a leading share registrar, reported a 5.1% growth in total dividend payments of UK companies last year. Their January dividend monitor showed that […]

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