Category Archives: Financial Goals

Financial Goals category

April Market Commentary

Introduction

We have commented before on the difficulty of ‘hitting a moving target.’ Sometimes in writing this commentary you run the risk of what you write being overtaken by events, and that has never been more true than this month. In the short time between us publishing notes and you reading them it is possible that the Brexit section will be different.

Given the fact that Brexit continues to dominate the news headlines it’s tempting to think it is the only important story. Nothing could be further from the truth. There were clear signs that the US/China trade dispute might be moving to an end, and it was an interesting month in the US with clear pointers to a sea-change in the car industry – something that has worldwide implications.

In the UK we had Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement, the usual gloom from the high street and continuing good news on employment. Continue reading

The ‘ISA Cappuccino Plan’: Why it pays to start early

Picking up a cup of joe from your favourite coffee shop can be a great way to start the day, but if you’re spending £2.50 a day, five days a week, that soon adds up. You might say that £50 a month is a small price to pay for kicking off the morning with caffeine, but if you were to put that £50 into a stocks and shares ISA, you could see some real results.

In only five years, you could be looking at a pot worth £3,307.61, after 10 years £7,303.68 and with 15 years under your belt, that’s £12,131.51 – just think how much coffee you could buy with all that interest!

Researchers at Fidelity are putting this information out to encourage people to start what they’re calling an ‘ISA cappuccino plan’; a simple saving plan to help you properly invest in your future. It’s not just about trading your flat whites for a home-brew cafetiere though, as Emma-Lou Montgomery, Associate Director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International, explains; “We all are guilty of frittering away money without realising we’re doing it, whether it is on coffees or even Uber journeys. It’s important to stop and think about what you are spending your money on, identifying where you could make small changes to save some cash.”

It’s just not realistic to expect everyone to have a lump sum with which to start up their ISA portfolio, but by depositing cash little and often, it doesn’t take long to build up an ISA pot that can bring you some considerable interest. Emma-Lou Montgomery continues, “A monthly saving plan where you drip-feed money into your investments regularly is a great way to get the ball rolling. This approach will also mean that you benefit from a process known as pound-cost averaging; where you automatically buy more units in your investments when prices are low. The benefit is that you will be cushioning your ISA portfolio against dips in the stock market by buying a variety of prices and spreading your ongoing investments over a period of time.”

It’s starting to sound like a no-brainer, so why not think about where you might be frittering away any disposable cash. You might not be a coffee drinker, but if you’re buying your lunch every day, you could save £100 a month by preparing it at home, and we don’t need to tell you how much money can be saved and invested by cutting down or cutting out a smoking habit. The earlier you get started, the better your results will be!

Saving for retirement: what’s the magic number?

It’s easy to push saving for your retirement to the back of your mind. Future events have a habit of feeling very distant, until they arrive. It can be a difficult thing to keep track of too; with nobody helping you along the way or checking up on your savings, putting a retirement plan in place can be a lonely experience. Continue reading

November Market Commentary

October was, to put it mildly, an eventful month. It was a month which saw the majority of markets on which we report down steeply, as fears of higher interest rates in the US combined with worries about the US/China trade war. There was, however, one market that went up sharply: Brazil elected a new president – a man who, I suspect, will feature prominently in future commentaries.

In the UK, the Prime Minister survived the latest round of calls for her head, and the Chancellor delivered his Budget a month earlier than everyone had expected. Continue reading

What do ESG and impact investing mean for investors?

Sustainable investing has grown rapidly over the last couple of decades. Investors are increasingly committed to the social and environmental impact of where they put their hard- earned money. Getting good financial returns and having a positive impact on the world are not mutually exclusive. Impact investing and ESG investments allow investors to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, as they say

American financial association SIFMA estimates the market size of sustainable investments to be $8.72 trillion. That figure was calculated in 2016, so it’s likely to be substantially larger than this now. Continue reading

What do you need to consider regarding a defined benefits pension transfer?

Pensions freedoms introduced three years ago mean that people are able to do what they like with their retirement savings. If you are on a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme you may be offered the opportunity to transfer out of your pension scheme in return for a fixed sum.

DB schemes promise savers a certain level of income after retirement, such as a final salary. Transferring out means that you will usually be offered between 25 to 30 times your annual pension value as a lump sum. However, it could be as much as 40 times. For instance, someone on a £10,000-per-year pension could be offered between £250,000 and £400,000. Continue reading

Are children’s pensions as good as they seem?

Pensions for children? Surely that’s taking planning ahead to a whole new level?

Nonetheless, if you can afford it, putting money aside in to a pension for your children or grandchildren can be a sensible option.

Under the current rules, you can put £2,880 a year into a junior self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or stakeholder pension, on their behalf. Even though the child won’t be a taxpayer, 20% is added to the amount in tax relief, up to £3,600 per annum. If you think about it, that can result in quite a significant amount over the years, taking compound growth into consideration. Continue reading

The end of LISA? Time to get your lifetime ISA before it disappears

The new girl on the block, in terms of saving products, seems like she may not actually be around for much longer. LISA, or the lifetime ISA, is being threatened with abolition by a Treasury committee, having only been on the market for 16 months.

The LISA allows those aged between 18 and 50 to save up to £4,000 a year towards a pension or a first home tax free, with the promise of a 25% government bonus capped at £1,000 a year. Continue reading

Is buying a state pension top-up worthwhile?

As part of your overall financial planning, one item that is worth considering is your state pension and whether you are on track to get the full amount. If not, it is possible to buy top-ups, which could boost your payout by £244 a year for life.

The 2017/18 voluntary payment, under the Class 3 National Insurance top-up scheme, costs £741 and will get you nearer to, or over, the threshold for the maximum state pension payout – currently £164.35 a week. Such an opportunity can be particularly relevant for those who have contracted out of part of the state pension at some point previously during their working life. Continue reading

Record numbers make the most of pension freedoms

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Plan for Retirement?

The people have spoken and they love freedom! Recent figures show withdrawals in the 2017-18 year were worth £6.7bn, the highest figure since the pension freedoms reforms were introduced in 2015.

Before the change in legislation, the majority of pensioners would purchase an annuity with their pension pot, which would guarantee them an income for life.The pension freedoms now mean that those over the age of 55 have access to their savings and more choice and flexibility over how they fund their retirement. Continue reading