State Pension

New rule changes
The State Pension changed on 6 April 2016. If you reached State Pension age on or after that date, you’ll now receive the new State Pension under the new rules. The aim of the new State Pension is to make it simpler to understand, but there are some complicated changeover arrangements which you need to know about if you’ve already made contributions under the previous system. Continue reading…


Defined benefit pension schemes

Secure income for life
A defined benefit pension scheme is one where the amount paid to you is set using a formula based on how many years you’ve worked for your employer and the salary you’ve earned rather than the value of your investments. If you work or have worked for a large employer or in the public sector, you may have a defined benefit pension. Continue reading…


Using your pension pot

More choice and flexibility than ever before
Following changes introduced in April 2015, you now have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how and when you can take money from your pension pot, but it’s essential to obtain professional advice to decide what the best course of action you should take, as this will be your retirement income for the rest of your life. Continue reading…


Life insurance

Providing a financial safety net for your loved ones
Getting the right life insurance policy means working out how much money you need to protect your dependants. This sum must take into account their living costs, as well as any outstanding debts, such as a mortgage. It may be the case that not everyone needs life insurance (also known as ‘life cover’ and ‘death cover’). But if your spouse and children, partner, or other relatives depend on your income to cover the mortgage or other living expenses, then the answer is ‘yes’. Continue reading…


Whole-of-life insurance

Guaranteed financial protection that lasts for the rest of your life
A whole-of-life insurance policy is designed to give you a specified amount of cover for the whole of your life and pays out when you die, whenever that is. Because it’s guaranteed that you’ll die at some point (and therefore that the policy will have to pay out), these policies are more expensive than term insurance policies, which only pay out if you die within a certain time frame. Continue reading…


Critical illness cover

If the worst does happen, it’s important to make sure you’re financially protected
We never think a critical illness is going to happen to us, especially when we feel fit and healthy, but it can and does. If the worst does happen, it’s important to make sure you’re financially protected against the impact a critical illness could have on you and your family. Continue reading…


Income protection insurance

No one is immune to the risk of illness and accidents
No one likes to think that something bad will happen to them, but if you couldn’t work due to a serious illness, how would you manage financially? Could you survive on savings or sick pay from work? If not, you may need some other way to keep paying the bills – and you might want to consider income protection insurance. Continue reading…


Savvy investors

Time to get wrapped up? How to shelter income and capital gains

For long-term investors, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are a very tax-efficient wrapper that can hold cash savings as well as investments in stocks and shares. Savvy investors are also able to shelter income and capital gains.

The limit on how much can be saved in an ISA each year has doubled since 2009; you can add up to £15,240 to an ISA in the 2016/17 tax year. Cash that you withdraw from a flexible ISA can be replaced during the same tax year without counting towards your annual ISA allowance, which is known as ‘ISA flexibility’. What sets ISAs apart from other savings and investment accounts is that any interest on cash savings, gains from investments or income from dividends are tax-efficient, and you don’t have to declare ISAs on your tax return. Continue reading…


Investment matters post-Brexit

Facing new challenges at every turn to meet long-term objectives

We are now living in a more uncertain world. As correlations between asset classes rise, the right strategy is crucial to preserve capital when markets are falling.

In addition, the result of the European Union (EU) referendum came as a shock to financial markets, and there is likely to be fallout from this historic event for some time. Many investors are now facing new challenges at every turn. So what can you do to manage your investments in current markets? Continue reading…


Pension reforms

How the lifetime allowance reduction could impact on your retirement savings

The Government has introduced comprehensive reforms to the pension rules over the previous few years. One important change, which may have been overlooked by some savers, is the reduction of the lifetime allowance that applies to pension savings. The lifetime allowance is the total amount you can hold within all your pensions without incurring an additional tax charge when you extract money from the pot.

Inflationary increases

The Government has indicated that this allowance will increase each year in line with inflation (CPI) but only from 6 April 2018. It was reduced from £1.25m down to £1m from 6 April 2016. If you have more than £1m in your pension pot or are likely to do so at retirement, you can apply to protect it against reductions to the lifetime allowance. Continue reading…