Investing for income

Safeguarding your money at a time of low interest rates
How do you generate a reliable income when interest rates are stuck at all-time lows and the Bank of England’s quantitative easing policy of ‘printing’ money is squeezing yields on government bonds (gilts) and other investments? Investors today can still rely on a well-balanced portfolio to meet their needs for income. However, they must be open-minded about the sources of that income and recognise that low-risk income generation is a thing of the past. Continue reading…


Socially responsible investing

Not sacrificing your life principles in exchange for chasing the best financial returns

For investors concerned about global warming and other environmental issues, there are a plethora of ethical investments that cover a multitude of different strategies. The terms ‘ethical investment’ and ‘socially responsible investment’ (SRI) are often used interchangeably to mean an approach to selecting investments whereby the usual investment criteria are overlaid with an additional set of ethical or socially responsible criteria. Continue reading…


Pension freedoms

The most radical changes to pensions in almost a hundred years

In April 2015, the Government introduced the most radical changes to pensions in almost a hundred years. From April last year, individuals from the age of 55 with a defined contribution pension can now access their entire pension flexibly if they wish. Continue reading…


Tax relief and pensions

Annual and lifetime limits
Tax relief means some of your money that would have gone to the Government as tax goes into your pension instead. You can put as much as you want into your pension, but there are annual and lifetime limits on how much tax relief you get on your pension contributions. Continue reading…


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…