Tag Archives: Financial Advice

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!

Inheritance Tax – Could there be a better alternative?

Inheritance tax is enormously unpopular to say the least. A YouGov poll found that 59% of the public deemed it unfair, making it the least popular of Britain’s 11 major taxes. What’s more, the tax has a limited revenue raising ability, with the ‘well advised’ often using gifts, trusts, business property relief and agricultural relief to avoid paying so much.

 

As it stands, the tax affects just 4% of British estates and contributes only 77p of every £100 of total taxation. This puts the tax in the awkward position of being both highly unpopular and raising very little revenue. At the moment, the inheritance tax threshold stands at £325,000 per person. If you own your own home and are leaving it to a direct descendant in your will, this lifts the threshold by an additional £125,000 in the 2018-19 tax year (the nil-rate band), to £450,000. Anything above this is subject to a 40% tax.

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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

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

Aretha Franklin: The ‘Queen of Soul’ who died without making a will

On 16 August, Aretha Franklin passed away, aged 76, in hospice care after battling pancreatic cancer. She didn’t leave a will. This leaves her four sons and other family members to work out her total assets and divide them amongst themselves.

After the mourning process, the practical concerns around a death take hold. When someone dies without a will, these are much more complicated to resolve. And when the person concerned is a celebrity, these complications have an unfortunate tendency to play out on the public stage. Continue reading

Funding care home costs with a care home ISA

If you’re under 60, funding your future care might not be top of your agenda. Garden improvements, good restaurants and holidays probably rank slightly higher, as well as saving for your pension if you’ve not yet retired.

However, the government could be proposing a new ISA in order to encourage people to start saving for their later life care. Recent leaked government documents suggest that the government is considering a Care ISA as part of its forthcoming green paper on social care. 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

4 top tips to protect yourself against pension scammers

You may well have seen the headlines that victims lost an average of £91k each in pension scams last year. Worryingly, in a recent survey, 32% of pension holders aged 45-65 said they were unsure how to verify if they were speaking to a genuine pensions adviser. Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They can be articulate and sound highly knowledgeable. They will have designed seemingly attractive offers to try and persuade you to transfer your pension pot or release funds from it, which they will then invest in high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds or forestry – or simply steal it directly. Continue reading

What makes seeing a financial adviser like having an MOT?

We’re all used to taking our cars for their MOT, aren’t we? Before we book it in for the test, we may well get a mechanic to check the vehicle over to make sure it will pass with flying colours. It’s a useful time to put in new brake pads, check the suspension and make sure the lights are all in working order. Continue reading

Are you keeping track of your pension pot?

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Plan for Retirement?

Keeping track of your pension pots can feel like a full time job at times, particularly as we head towards a world where the average person will have eleven different jobs over the course of their career. It’s becoming increasingly uncommon for people to stay in the same job throughout their employment. In fact, we’re now seeing that 64% of people have multiple pension pots; that’s up 2% since October 2016. While that in itself is not a worry, what is more troublesome is that of that 64%, 22% have reportedly lost track of at least one of those pots.

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