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LB financial Solutions https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews Financial News Wed, 02 May 2018 14:37:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Make it a date https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews/?p=2338 Wed, 02 May 2018 14:37:30 +0000 http://www.newsfin.co.uk/news/?p=2338 Keeping your target retirement plans on track
Most over-45s are not making plans to match their hopes for the future, according to research from Standard Life[1]. The vast majority (86%) of those aged 45 or over are already dreaming about escaping their working life for retirement, but only 8% of the same age group have recently checked the retirement date on their pension plans to make sure it is still in line with their plans.

Over half (56%) don’t have a clear idea when they want to retire, and only one in ten (10%) have worked out how much income they’ll need when they decide to stop working. The study also reveals it doesn’t get much clearer as you go up the generations: less than a fifth (17%) of those aged between 55 and 64 have recently checked to see if the retirement date on their pension policy is still fitting in with their plans.

Setting your retirement date on a pension plan does matter
Some people will have set their retirement date when they were in their 20s or 30s, and a great deal will have changed since then, including their State Pension age and perhaps their career plans. It may seem like a finger in the air guess when you’re younger, but the date that you set for retirement on a pension plan does matter. It will often dictate how your money is being invested and the communications you receive as you get nearer to that date.

Why you need to keep your retirement plans up to date

Right support, right time
If the date you plan to retire changes or you simply want to take some of your pension without stopping working, it’s important to tell your pension company. Otherwise, you may not receive information and support about your pending retirement at the most helpful times, as they’ll be basing this on your out-of-date plans.

De-risking investments
Some investment options will start to move your pension savings into lower-risk investments as you get closer to retirement. If you don’t have the right retirement date on your plan, you could be moving into these investments at the wrong time. For example, if you move into them too early, you could potentially miss out on investment returns which could increase the value of your pension savings. But if you move too late, you could be exposing your life savings to unnecessary risk.

Investment pot size
The size of the pension pot you need to build up to maintain your lifestyle when you come to retire will depend on when you plan to do so.

Income for life
If you’re planning to buy an annuity at retirement, which will guarantee you an income for the rest of your life, the amount of income you’ll get will depend on the size of your pot and annuity rates at that time. If you prefer to use your pension savings more flexibly, you can keep your money invested, and take it as and when you need. You’re then responsible for making sure your life savings last as long as you need them to.

Work longer or retire earlier
Reviewing your retirement date regularly as you get older makes real sense, and most modern pension plans enable you to change and update this date whenever you choose. It needn’t be the same as your State Pension age – you might want to work longer or retire earlier. Some people who plan to slow down or stop work earlier are using money from their private pension savings to bridge the gap until they can start claiming State Pension. All you need to do is inform your pension company of your plans, even if they change again in future.

Source data:
[1] The research was carried out online for Standard Life by Opinuium. Sample size was 2001 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was undertaken in November 2017.

A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN GO DOWN, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.

PENSIONS ARE NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55. YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS. THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF PENSION WITHDRAWALS WILL BE BASED ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, TAX LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

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Protecting your estate for future generations https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews/?p=2336 Wed, 02 May 2018 14:37:09 +0000 http://www.newsfin.co.uk/news/?p=2336 Many individuals find the Inheritance Tax rules too complicated
If you struggle to navigate the UK’s Inheritance Tax regime, you are not alone. Whether you are setting up your estate planning or sorting out the estate of a departed family member, the system can be hard to follow. Getting your planning wrong could also mean your family is faced with an unexpectedly high Inheritance Tax bill.

Reluctant to seek professional advice
Findings from a recent survey[1] revealed that many individuals find the Inheritance Tax rules too complicated, but the majority are reluctant to seek professional advice. The research revealed that over three quarters (77%) think the UK’s Inheritance Tax rules are too complicated. Yet despite this, only a third (33%) have sought professional advice on Inheritance Tax planning.

We understand that ensuring your Inheritance Tax planning is tax-efficient is a sensitive subject, and as a result planning opportunities can be missed. Early preparation is the key to success. Taking advantage of alternative methods to secure wealth and to shelter your estate will ensure that more wealth can be passed onto the next generation.

Exempt from Inheritance Tax
Every individual in the UK, regardless of marital status, is entitled to leave an estate worth up to £325,000. This is known as the ‘nil-rate band’. Anything above that amount is taxed at a rate of 40%. If you are married or in a registered civil partnership, then you can leave your entire estate to your spouse or partner. The estate will be exempt from Inheritance Tax and will not use up the nil-rate band.

Instead, the unused nil-rate band is transferred to your spouse or registered civil partner on their death. This means that should you and your spouse pass away, the value of your combined estate has to be valued at more than £650,000 before the estate would face an Inheritance Tax liability.
Here’s our snapshot of the main Inheritance Tax areas you may wish to consider and discuss further with us.

Steps to mitigate against Inheritance Tax

Make a Will
Dying intestate (without a Will) means that you may not be making the most of the Inheritance Tax exemption which exists if you wish your estate to pass to your spouse or registered civil partner. For example, if you don’t make a Will, then relatives other than your spouse or registered civil partner may be entitled to a share of your estate, and this might trigger an Inheritance Tax liability.

Residence nil-rate band
If you’re worried that rising house prices might have pushed the value of your estate into exceeding the nil-rate band, then the new ‘residence nil-rate band’ could be significant. From 6 April 2017, it can now be claimed on top of the existing nil-rate band. It starts at £100,000 per person and will increase annually by £25,000 every April until 2020, when the £175,000 maximum is reached.

Make lifetime gifts
Gifts made more than seven years before the donor dies, to an individual or to a bare trust (see types of trust), are free of IHT. So it might be wise to pass on some of your wealth while you are still alive. This will reduce the value of your estate when it is assessed for IHT purposes, and there is no limit on the sums you can pass on. You can gift as much as you wish – this is known as a ‘Potentially Exempt Transfer’ (PET).

However, if you live for seven years after making such a gift, then it will be exempt from Inheritance Tax. However, should you be unfortunate enough to die within seven years, then it will still be counted as part of your estate if it is above the annual gift allowance. You need to be particularly careful if you are giving away your home to your children with conditions attached to it, or if you give it away but continue to benefit from it. This is known as a ‘Gift with Reservation of Benefit’.

Leave a proportion to charity
Being generous to your favourite charity can reduce your Inheritance Tax bill. If you leave at least 10% of your estate to a charity or number of charities, then your Inheritance Tax liability on the taxable portion of the estate is reduced to 36% rather than 40%.

Set up a trust
Family trusts can be useful as a way of reducing Inheritance Tax, making provision for your children and spouse, and potentially protecting family businesses. Trusts enable the donor to control who benefits (the beneficiaries) and under what circumstances, sometimes long after the donor’s death. Compare this with making a direct gift (for example, to a child) which offers no control to the donor once given. When you set up a trust, it is a legal arrangement, and you will need to appoint ‘trustees’ who are responsible for holding and managing the assets. Trustees have a responsibility to manage the trust on behalf of and in the best interest of the beneficiaries, in accordance with the trust terms. The terms will be set out in a legal document called ‘the trust deed’.

Types of trust you might consider

Bare (Absolute) Trusts
The beneficiaries are entitled to a specific share of the trust, which can’t be changed once the trust has been established. The settlor (person who puts the assets in trust) decides on the beneficiaries and shares at outset. This is a simple and straightforward trust – the trustees invest the trust fund for the beneficiaries but don’t have the power to change the beneficiaries’ interests decided on by the settlor at outset. This trust offers potential Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax benefits, particularly for minor beneficiaries.

Life Interest Trusts
Typically, one beneficiary will be entitled to the income from the trust fund whilst alive, with capital going to another (or other beneficiaries) on that beneficiary’s death. This is often used in Will planning to provide security for a surviving spouse, with the capital preserved for children. It can also be used to pass income from an asset onto a beneficiary without losing control of the capital. This can be particularly attractive in second marriage situations when the children are from an earlier marriage.

Discretionary (Flexible) Trusts
The settlor decides who can potentially benefit from the trust, but the trustees are then able to use their discretion to determine who, when and in what amounts beneficiaries do actually benefit. This provides maximum flexibility compared to the other trust types, and for this reason is often referred to as a ‘Flexible Trust’.

Source data:
[1] Canada Life’s annual Inheritance Tax monitor survey of 1,001 UK consumers aged 45 or over with total assets exceeding the individual Inheritance Tax threshold (nil-rate band) of £325,000. Carried out in October 2017.

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Financial freedom https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews/?p=2334 Wed, 02 May 2018 14:36:48 +0000 http://www.newsfin.co.uk/news/?p=2334 Deciding what to do with pension savings – even if you’re still working
It might seem like a far off prospect but knowing how you can access your pension pot can help you understand how best to build for the future you want when you retire.

On 6 April 2015, the Government introduced major changes to people’s defined contribution (DC) private pensions. Once you reach the age of 55 years, you now have much more freedom to access your pension savings or pension pot and to decide what to do with this money – even if you’re still working.

Depending on the scheme, you may be able to take cash lump sums, a variable income through drawdown (known as ‘flexi-access drawdown’), a guaranteed income under an annuity, or a combination of these options. This means being faced with the choice of deciding how much money to take out each year and setting an appropriate investment strategy. It goes without saying that your income won’t last as long if you take a lot of money out of the pension pot early on.

What are your retirement income options?
There are many things to consider as you approach retirement. You need to review your finances to ensure your future income will allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want. You’ll also be faced with a number of different options available for accessing your pension. Being faced with such an important decision, it’s essential you obtain professional financial advice and guidance. We’ve provided an overview of the main options.

Keep your pension pot where it is
You can delay taking money from your pension pot to allow you to consider your options. Reaching age 55 or the age you agreed with your pension provider to retire is not a deadline to act. Delaying taking your money may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too.

Receive a guaranteed income for life
A lifelong, regular income (also known as an ‘annuity’) provides you with a guarantee that the income will last as long as you live. A quarter of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free, and any other payments will be taxed.

Receive a flexible retirement income
You can leave your money in your pension pot and take an income from it. Any money left in your pension pot remains invested, which may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too. A quarter of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free, and any other withdrawals will be taxed whether you take them as income or as lump sums. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this. You do not need to take an income.

Take your whole pension pot in one go
You can take the whole amount as a single lump sum. A quarter of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free – the rest will be taxed. You will need to plan how you will provide an income for the rest of your retirement.

Take your pension pot as a number of lump sums
You can leave your money in your pension pot and take lump sums from it as and when you need until your money runs out or you choose another option. You can decide when and how much to take out. Any money left in your pension pot remains invested, which may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too. Each time you take a lump sum, normally a quarter of it is tax-free and the rest will be taxed. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this.

Choose more than one option and combine them
You can also choose to take your pension using a combination of some or all of the options over time or over your total pot. If you have more than one pot, you can use the different options for each pot. Some pension providers or advisers can offer you an option that combines a guaranteed income for life with a flexible income.

Significant effect on the amount of income available
The earlier you choose to access your pension pot, the smaller your potential fund and income may be for later in life. This could have a significant effect on the amount of income available to you, meaning it may be less than it could have been, and it could run out much earlier than expected.
Taking an appropriate income or money from your pension is very complex. We’ll help you access your options. Remember: if you choose to only withdraw some of your money, what’s left will remain invested and could go down as well as up in value. You could also get back less than has been invested. Also, if you buy an income for life, you can’t generally change it or cash it in, even if your personal circumstances change. And the inheritance you can pass on depends on what you decide to do with your pension money.

A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN GO DOWN, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.

PENSIONS ARE NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55. YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS. THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF PENSION WITHDRAWALS WILL BE BASED ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, TAX LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

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2018/19 tax changes https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews/?p=2332 Wed, 02 May 2018 14:36:25 +0000 http://www.newsfin.co.uk/news/?p=2332 New initiatives you need to know
It’s important to consider the tax implications of making financial decisions. The 2018/19 tax year is now upon us, and a raft of new changes have come into force. The good news is that the overall tax burden is little changed for basic-rate taxpayers, but there are number of areas that have changed that should be taken note of.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2018/19 tax year changes and new initiatives.

Personal Allowance
The tax-free Personal Allowance is the amount of income you can earn before you have to start paying Income Tax. All individuals are entitled to the same Personal Allowance, regardless of their date of birth.

In the 2017/18 tax year, the Personal Allowance was £11,500, and it rises to £11,850 in the 2018/19 tax year. This means you can earn £350 more in the 2018/19 tax year than in the previous tax year before you start paying Income Tax. However, bear in mind that the Personal Allowance is restricted by £1 for every £2 of an individual’s adjusted net income above £100,000.

A spouse or registered civil partner who isn’t liable to Income Tax above the basic rate may transfer £1,185 of their unused Personal Allowance in the 2018/19 tax year, compared to £1,150 in the 2017/18 tax year to their spouse or registered civil partner, as long as the recipient isn’t liable to Income Tax above the basic rate.

Higher-rate threshold
The threshold for people paying the higher rate of Income Tax (which is 40%) increased from £45,000 to £46,350 in the 2018/19 tax year. This new figure also includes the increased Personal Allowance.

Dividend Allowance
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced in the Spring Budget 2017 that the Dividend Allowance would reduce from £5,000 to £2,000 from 5 April 2018.

Any dividend income that investors earn above the £2,000 allowance will attract tax at 7.5% for basic-rate taxpayers, while higher-rate taxpayers will be taxed at 32.5% and additional-rate taxpayers at 38.1%.

This may impact on shareholders of private companies paying themselves in the form of dividends, for example, rather than salary. Investors with portfolios that produce an income in the form of dividends of more than £2,000 a year, which are held outside ISA or pensions, will also be affected by the reduction in the allowance.

National Insurance Contributions (NICs)
NICs be charged at 12% of income on earnings above £8,424, up from £8,164 until you are earning more than £46,350, after which the rate drops to 2%. It’s the same in Scotland.

Auto enrolment contributions
Auto enrolment contribution rates have increased for employees and employers. In the previous 2017/18 tax year, the minimum pension contribution rate was 1% from the employee and 1% from the employer, which provides a 2% contribution. However, from 6 April 2018, the contribution rate increased to 3% for employees and 2% from the employer, totalling 5%.

Pension Lifetime Allowance
The Lifetime Allowance increased from £1 million to £1.03 million in the 2018/19 tax year. This is the maximum total amount you can hold within all your pension savings without having to pay extra tax when you withdraw money from them.
If the total value of your pension savings goes over the Lifetime Allowance, any excess will be taxed at a rate of 25% in addition to your marginal rate of Income Tax if drawn as income, or 55% if you take it as a lump sum.

State Pension
There has been a 3% rise for the old basic State Pension and the new flat-rate State Pension. If you’re on the basic State Pension (previously £122.30 per week), this has increased to £125.95. The flat-rate State Pension has increased from £159.55 to £164.35 a week.

Inheritance Tax
The residence nil-rate band (RNRB) has risen from £100,000 to £125,000. The RNRB enables eligible people to pass on a property to direct descendants and potentially save on death duties.

Capital Gains Tax
Capital Gains Tax is charged on profits that are made when certain assets are either transferred or sold. There’s no tax to pay if all gains made in a tax year fall within the annual Capital Gains Tax allowance. For the 2018/19 tax year, this will be £11,700 (it was £11,300 for the 2017/18 tax year).

Buy-to-let landlords
Changes mean that only 50% of mortgage interest will be able to be offset when calculating a tax bill, compared with 75% previously. τ

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Retirement wealth https://www.lbfinancialsolutions.com/financialnews/?p=2330 Wed, 02 May 2018 14:36:03 +0000 http://www.newsfin.co.uk/news/?p=2330 What’s the right answer for you?
The first increase in minimum automatic enrolment (AE) workplace pension contributions came into effect on 6 April[1]. According to research from Scottish Widows, however, one in five Britons (20%) – amounting to more than ten million people – say they’ll work until they’re physically unable to, while one in 20 (6%) – another three million people – say they expect to work until they die.

While the increase in AE workplace pension contributions will help people narrow the gap in their retirement savings, there are many who need to be doing more to ensure a comfortable retirement. The research shows that 44% of people are not saving its recommended 12% of their salary towards retirement each year[2], which is more than double the new minimum AE contribution level of 5%.

Expectation to continue working at least part-time
In addition, the findings also reveal that more than half (51%) of Britons expect to continue working at least part-time past retirement age, and a fifth (18%) say that working beyond the age of 65 will be a necessity rather than a choice.

Only a quarter (24%) expect to have completely retired by the time they’re 65, the research reveals. Young people are least hopeful of this being a possibility, with only one in 20 (5%) of 18-24-year-olds expecting to retire by the age of 65, but this proportion doubles among 25-34-year-olds (11%) and triples among 35-44-year-olds (16%).

Delaying retirement – make it a choice, not a necessity
Nearly one in five (18%) people say they’ll work longer than they want to because they worry about their level of saving. Just under a third (32%) of 25-54-year-olds worry they haven’t been saving enough in their early years, and two fifths (39%) of people fear running completely out of money in retirement.

Interestingly, women are more concerned than men about the cost of later life. Just over two fifths (43%) of women are concerned that they’ll run out of money during retirement, while only a third (34%) of men feel this way. Others worry about facing potential shortfalls due to policy change, with four in ten (37%) citing concern about changes to the State Pension, such as a further increase to the retirement age.

Preparing for the costs of retirement
Despite the majority of British adults recognising the need to work longer to prepare for their retirement, a significant number have no contingency in place should they face increasing costs in later life. When told that people going into a nursing home can expect to pay an average of £866 per week for this, 22% of respondents said they’d never considered how they would cover this cost, and another 22% said they’d rely on the state to pay for care.

However, more than three in five (62%) people say they are unsure what behaviour they would change to make up for increasing retirement spending. Only 12% say they will hold off drawing down their maximum pension allowance for as long as possible, and just 8% say they will forego leisure spending to prepare for retirement spending.

Source data:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 3535 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th – 22nd January 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
[1] From 6 April the minimum contribution is 5% with at least 2% from the employer; from 6 April 2019 the minimum contribution is 8% with at least 3% from the employer.
[2] 2017 Scottish Widows Retirement Report – 44% of people aged 30+ are not saving adequately for retirement.

A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN GO DOWN, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.

PENSIONS ARE NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55. YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS. THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF PENSION WITHDRAWALS WILL BE BASED ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, TAX LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

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