When you start investing it can feel very satisfying to see your investments arranged as you like. You have your goals established (e.g. retire aged 68 with a £300,000 pot), a horizon in view – say, 20 years – and a clear, long-term strategy about your attitude to risk and your mix of assets (e.g. stocks-to-bonds ratio).
How do you generate a sustainable, comfortable income in retirement? For most of our working lives, our lifestyles are supported by a salary. As such, the thought of living off your savings and investments for 30+ years can sound strange. Given the complexities and timescales involved, careful planning is needed. This helps you mitigate taxes and costs which could eat into your retirement income, avoid dangerous withdrawal rates and manage risk so that your lifestyle is not jeapordised should the markets or UK economy experience turbulence.
Most business owners are aware of their need for an accountant. After all, taxes need to be filed each year and most limited companies recognise that it mitigates risk by getting a professional to look over everything. Yet why use a financial planner? To use an analogy, an accountant is like a mechanic for your car. They check that everything passes the legally required tests. Your financial planner, however, is like an experienced guide for a long, cross-continent road trip where you will encounter many challenges and opportunities that need navigating effectively.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney? In short, it’s a very useful and powerful legal document which specifies to whom you give authority to act on your behalf, should you become “incapacitated”. This refers to events which affect your physical and mental wellbeing, removing your ability to manage your personal affairs effectively and independently. As such, a LPA document comes into effect during your lifetime – not at the end of it, like a will does (which is a separate legal document). Below, our financial planning team at WMM explains how LPA works, the different types and how it can play a key role in your financial plan.
The March 2021 Budget took many people by surprise. Several pundits had expected a sweep of tax rises to help pay down the public debt caused by COVID-19 (e.g. rises in fuel duty and Capital Gains Tax). Yet the only clear tax rise concerns Corporation Tax, which we will examine in more detail below. Although it may appear that little has changed in this Budget, there are still important aspects to consider for your financial planning in 2021. We address some of the highlights below.
If someone offered you an investment opportunity with “guaranteed, high returns”, you would be right to question their claim. Whether it’s bonds, stocks or property – all investing has an element of risk. Yet perhaps there is one “investment” which gets fairly close to being an exception. The UK state pension offers individuals a lifetime income in retirement, rising in line with inflation via the “triple lock” system. You do not need to worry about your state pension income falling due to a crash in the stock markets, or the rising cost of living eroding its spending power. Of course, government policy could change the state pension rules down the line – a distinct possibility, but highly unlikely to become a reality any time soon.
The UK has committed to a zero-carbon target by 2050, aiming for a 68% reduction by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) in the shorter term. Newly-elected U.S. President Joe Biden has also committed to the same target for the USA. Within the investment world, moreover, large asset management firms are trying to meet growing investor demand for environmentally-friendly funds and investment opportunities. In light of the above, what is the current landscape like for ethical investments in 2021? What kind of prospects lie ahead for those looking to increase the “ESG profile” of their portfolio (environmental, social and governance)?
Stock markets, over time, have historically shown to produce strong investment growth. In the USA, for instance, the S&P 500 index has risen from 264.53 in January 1928 to 3,714.24 in January 2021. Its average annual return, therefore, has been about 8%–11% since inception.
There are at least two ways to control your investment growth – the fees you pay, and taxes. For the latter, two investment vehicles are popular for retirement planning – pensions and ISAs (i.e. individual savings accounts). Which is better for mitigating unnecessary tax and enjoying more of your hard-earned savings in later life?