ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?

TODAY’S BLOG

ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?

OK I admit that I am often sceptical about surveys, the sample sizes are often too small to infer anything of significance. However, in this instance, even if the survey is bogus it is certainly worth reminding you about scams – and something that you can and ought to pass on to your friends.

A survey for Liverpool Victoria (LV) found that about 14% of the adult population (about 7.6m adults) have been hit by a pension scam. Double this number were concerned that they might fall prey to a scam (a pension scam to be precise). Half admitted that scams were hard to spot and around 41% wanted help knowing how to do so and how to prevent being scammed.

WHY TARGET A PENSION?

Aside from your home, your pension is probably your largest or most valuable asset. Scammers know this, they also know that the majority of people don’t know much about pensions, find them very dull and full of jargon. They often don’t realise how much they are worth and rarely treat them as though they are the family heirlooms that they are.

As your adviser (if not yet, then get in touch) I have been explaining the importance and value of your pension for many years. You know that we focus on using the most modern pensions to take advantage of pension freedoms and evidence based low-cost investment strategies. It is your future source of income (or a current one) and may well be something you leave to your beneficiaries.

ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?

BEWARE THE FREE LUNCH (REVIEW)

However, for those that do not want an ongoing relationship with their adviser, minimising costs is a significant appeal, having a “free” pension review – well music to their ears rather than any recognition of alarm bells. For most of my working life financial advice has been generally touted as free. It isn’t, it never has been and that is frankly the biggest source of all the problems.

COLD CALLING

A friend of mine, Darren Cooke started a lobby in 2016 to end cold calling. Most advisers joined the movement which resulted in the banning of cold-calling about pensions from 2019. Yet it still happens. It is banned, but there you are.

PENSION LIBERATION

There is no such thing, unless you consider liberating your pension from you a form of liberation – I call it theft. You cannot access your pension before age 55 except for a very, very rare number of instances. Safer to assume you cannot.

Moving your pension to a SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) is absolutely fine BUT only if you are using properly regulated funds within it. Not offshore weird stuff like teak farms or storage boxes, car parks or some other daft “asset” that I can actually set on fire.

NEW FREEDOMS, NEW TEMPTATIONS

Taking your pension is much easier than it used to be. There are new (2015) pension freedoms which have made pensions much better than they were. However, with greater freedom has come greater choice and increased responsibility – yours (and mine). A crook will exploit some basic knowledge (rules have changed) pander to misinformed opinions about stock markets “they are risky and lose you money” and will offer something that sounds altogether better – guarantees, no stock market involvement, high returns -much better than your cash and sometimes money now…. All for free.

Sadly, many do not remember the adage “if its too good to be true, it probably isn’t”, fewer still seek out a financial adviser and if they do, may well be befuddled by what restricted or independent means (invariably a restricted adviser will not mention it, even though they are meant to do so clearly). When a regulated adviser provides advice, he or she is liable for it. I can assure you that we take this very seriously as the liability rather unreasonably, extends beyond the grave.

HANG UP

If you have a friend that you think is being scammed or you are approached yourself, hang up the phone and get in touch with me. I have seen too many people get scammed for one lifetime. A good site to check out is the FCA SCAM SMART site.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

ARE YOU BEING SCAMMED?2021-07-09T18:52:31+01:00

HOW MUCH FOR A HAPPY RETIREMENT?

TODAY’S BLOG

HOW MUCH FOR A HAPPY RETIREMENT?

Doubtless your will have heard of Which? Magazine. They conducted a survey recently in an attempt to understand how much is really enough for people to have a comfortable retirement. They concluded that a two-person household needs an average annual income of £26,000 for a comfortable retirement.

However you have coped with the pandemic, many people have not been able to spend money in the way they normally would. Many have saved the sums that would have been spent on holidays, travel, commuting, work clothes, weekday lunches, meals out and so on. This has given many of us the opportunity to pause for thought and reflect on how much we spend and the lifestyles we lead.

Some people have elected to retire earlier than they had planned, some have had this forced upon them. In practice, the warning signs for higher unemployment have been around for some time. We shall all begin to see the reality of things once the lockdown ends properly and the furlough system comes to an end. I do not see this going well. I implied, no… I stated that the Budget in March worked on the assumption of unemployment rising by 500,000 over the next 2 years with the largest increase in the current 2021/22 tax year.

A BREAD & BUTTER LIFESTYLE

£26,000 OR £19,000

Anyway, many have been giving thought to how much income they are likely to need when they stop earning. In February, Which? asked around 7,000 retirees about their spending.

The findings can be used as a guide to how much people are likely to spend and how much they might need to save, factoring in the state pension and tax bills. Couples need a pot of around £155,000 alongside their state pension to produce the annual income for a comfortable retirement of £26,000 via pension drawdown – or just over £265,000 through a joint-life annuity. Two-person households would need around £442,000 in a drawdown plan to fund the luxury retirement target (£41,000 per year) – or £589,000 if they’ve taken the full 25% tax-free lump sum available at the outset. If you opt for the guaranteed income provided by a joint-life annuity, you’ll require an initial fund of around £757,000.

For single-person households, achieving a comfortable retirement would mean a pot of around £192,290 alongside the state pension to get to an annual income of £19,000 via pension drawdown, or £305,710 through an annuity. For a retirement at the ‘essential’ level, single-person households would need £77,350 in a pension drawdown or £123,365 to buy an annuity plan to meet an annual target income of £13,000. A couple receiving the current average amount of £155 each per week will get just over £16,000 a year to add to private pensions. Pension drawdown figures are based on the savers withdrawing all of their income over 20 years from the age of 65, with investment growth of 3%, inflation at 1% and charges levied at 0.75%.

TWADDLE – THAT THING ABOUT ASSUMPTIONS

So let me respond by clearly saying “twaddle!” but it’s a helpful guide.That is all it is, there are huge holes in the assumptions and thinking, for starters, assuming a 2 decade retirement. Life rarely happens so “neatly”.

Over the years our processes have evolved with the technology that is available. We stress test your financial plan each week. Considering the likelihood of your life expectancy to the tenth percentile… which means the 1 in 10 chance you live a really long time. We consider sustainable income levels that fluctuate with inflation and changing investment returns based upon historical facts rather than regulatory unicorn utopias.

In any event, why would you care about a survey where your lifestyle is dictated? Surely your financial plan should be about protecting and ensuring that your current lifestyle endures as long as you do…. Or do you want less?

That’s why it is important, no – why its vital to have your own plan, based on sensible assumptions that we review together. Unless you have some mind-blowing news for me, you get one life and the clock is ticking. So have your own plan, know what you want and check with us that you are on track.

Need help? Know someone that does? get in touch... share the truth. It won’t hurt.

Its Your Lifestyle: how much is enough?

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

HOW MUCH FOR A HAPPY RETIREMENT?2021-06-23T18:13:55+01:00

RETIREMENT PLANS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE 50+

TODAY’S BLOG

50+ SLEEPWALKING TO RETIREMENT NIGHTMARE

A growing number of people are at risk of being unable to afford a decent standard of living after retirement, according to a new report released this month. The report, ‘What is an adequate retirement income?’ estimates a quarter of people approaching retirement, the equivalent to five million people, are at risk of missing out on the income they need.

The report by the Pensions Policy Institute, sponsored by the Centre for Ageing Better, warns millions of people between the age of 50 and the State Pension Age are running out of time to prepare financially for retirement. That’s about 11 million people.

  • Around 3 million will not receive a minimum income
  • Around 5 million will not receive a personally acceptable income
  • Around 10 million will not receive a comfortable income

As a reminder, someone turning 50 this year would have been born in 1971, the year that T-Rex had a summer hit single “Get It On”, Clive Dunn was number 1 with “Grandad” and Rod Stewart “Maggie May”. The year that Gary Barlow, Clare Balding, Amanda Holden, Charlie Brooker, Ewan McGregor and David Tennant were all born, I doubt any of these will have a pension problem, but the majority of those born before 1971 look set to do so. It was also the year that the great David Hockney (83 and still working) completed one of his most famous works “Mr & Mrs Clark and Percy” (below) You can see Hockney’s work “The Arrival of Spring, Normandy 2020” at the Royal Academy until 26 September 2021.

Hockney 1971 Mr & Mrs Clark & Percy

PAIN IS COMING FOR THE UNPREPARED

The research found a low state pension, increasing unemployment and the transition to workplace pension schemes reliant on employee contributions are all factors leading to this risk. It warns this is an immediate cause of concern for those currently in their 50s and 60s. Not only that, but generations to come also risk being pushed into poverty if action isn’t taken to address financial insecurity in retirement, the report warned. It found 90 percent of people of all ages with Defined Contribution pensions may be at risk of falling short on their expected retirement income.

Despite recent measures such as auto-enrolment having resulted in more people saving into their workplace pensions, savers aged over 50 spend less time in auto-enrolment schemes and consequently benefit less. Most pension contributions remain inadequate, and challenges for savers have been exacerbated by COVID-19. The report also highlighted that those aged over 50 had the highest redundancy rate during the pandemic and warns that this age group is more likely than younger groups to experience long-term unemployment.

Worryingly, increasing job losses and unemployment levels may result in the generation currently approaching retirement being pushed out of work and left with a pension that does not provide them a decent standard of living. The report calls for a new consensus on what adequacy means, urging the Government to build a consensus between employers, industry, unions and individual stakeholders on what an adequate income in retirement is. Furthermore, Ageing Better is calling on employers to match workplace pension contributions at a higher rate, as well as better support for groups at risk of financial insecurity.

Hopefully your financial plan demonstrates that you will have enough or you know what the future looks like and have a plan to do something about it. However, I do want to labour this point… many of your peers, friends and family are unlikely to be as well prepared as you. Whether its Mr & Mrs Clark or Smith, the vet bills for Percy will be fairly unwelcome in retirement. So please urge them to get some advice, send them this blog post in an email and tell them to get in touch with us. I know the pictures of you finally out and about enjoying normal life after lockdown are all good to share, but do your real friends a favour, share our details with them! We can help prepare them for the future, making the most of the remaining time.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

RETIREMENT PLANS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE 50+2021-06-23T17:35:16+01:00

The Sting in the Tale Of Your State Pension

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STING IN THE TALE OF YOUR PENSION

If you are a client, even a very new one, you will know that one of the many things we check is your State Pension. This has two key elements to check – your State Pension forecast and your National Insurance record. Have a look here to get yours again (click here)

I know that many are frustrated by their State Pension age or entitlement to it. You will doubtless have heard about women who believe that they were never properly told about the equalisation of State Pension Age (SPA) which has resulted in them waiting longer than their 60th birthdays to collect their weekly State Pension.

I am not going to “get into” the debacle of WASPI and the unfairness or otherwise of equalisation, earnings and careers. In my limited experience, most Governments fail to communicate well and most of us vote based on little evidence and plenty of personal bias. Few people take the time to check Government records, most of us live in the hope that fairness is achieved. There is a further sting in the tail of this tale…

You may have picked up that the state pension has been underpaid for an estimated 200,000 women, so it would be “sensible” to check your entitlement regularly. I am going to make this clearer…. CHECK YOUR STATE PENSION.

Solomons IFA State Pensions Sting in the Tale..

DOUBLE STANDARDS

Those working within the financial sector know well that there is not really a time-barring for complaints. However our wonderfully inept Government doesn’t have to suffer the same criteria, responsibility is something that is simply passed along to the next gaggle of woefully hapless sycophants, or ignored, denied and moving on….

State Pension payments are understandably important to millions of people right across the UK as a source of income in retirement, however, due to an error at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), thousands of women may find they have been underpaid their entitlement. The issue arises for those claiming the old state pension due to rules about how much a woman could receive. Under the system, married women who were looking at a limited state pension in their own right were permitted to claim a 60% basic state pension sum. This was based on the National Insurance record of their husband at the time.

Women were only allowed to undertake this action, however, if the sum was bigger than the state pension they would have received based on their own National Insurance record. An uplift to the state pension sum should have been applied automatically since March 2008. However, due to a system error, in certain circumstances some women did not have this increase automatically applied.

Individuals retiring before this date needed to make what is being described as a “second claim” to uplift their state pension sum. These women will have needed to take action, however, the DWP stated it wrote to those affected telling them what they could do next. Issues, however, arose when certain women stated they received no such correspondence and were thus left out of the loop. Women who have been impacted will have missed out on potentially years of higher state pension payments.

However, another issue is arising for women which is causing further strain. Under present rules, individuals can only get backdated payments for the boosted state pension sum for 12 months. This means many have missed the opportunity to receive years of contributions. Rectifying the issue, though, is likely to provide significant peace of mind to the female state pensioners who have been impacted.

The DWP is now taking action to contact those individuals who may have been hit by the error. However, experts such as former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb have urged women to take action by contacting the DWP if they feel they have been affected.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

The Sting in the Tale Of Your State Pension2021-06-21T13:55:10+01:00

The State Pension – What’s Ahead

TODAY’S BLOG

THE STATE PENSION INCREASE

In early December the Department for Work & Pensions announced the proposed increases to benefits for 2021/22. Most of the working age benefits and the earnings-linked pension benefits, such as the old State Second Pension, will rise by 0.5%, in line with annual CPI inflation to September 2020. However, the new state pension and its predecessor will both increase by five times as much.

The costly Triple Lock

Both new and old (basic) state pensions benefit from the Triple Lock, which currently requires an increase which is the greater of:

  • Earnings growth;
  • Price inflation (as measured by the CPI); and
  • A floor of 2.5%.

For the 2021/22 increase, the 2.5% minimum was a clear winner, with earnings growth at the bottom of the trio. As the chart shows, in this context earnings growth is a misnomer; earnings fell by 1% over the year because of the impact of the pandemic.

State Pension 2021/22 Triple Lock

10 YEARS LATER… NOT ON PLAN

Over the ten years to 2021/22, the 2.5% floor has been the basis for four increases, something which was probably not anticipated when the Triple Lock was announced by the coalition government in 2010. Then, as now, the Bank of England’s inflation target was 2.0%. Earnings were expected to outpace inflation by 1% or more, making the 2.5% floor a safety net that probably would only be called upon in a deep recession.

It has not worked out that way. Earnings and inflation have virtually matched each other over the period at just under 2%. In other words, there has been no increase in the buying power of average earnings over the past ten years. In contrast the Triple Lock has delivered a real terms increase of almost 11%. If you are on the receiving end of the Triple Lock, that is good news, but if you are under State Pension Age (66 now, don’t forget) it means more government expenditure you have to finance.

Looking ahead

The Triple Lock has been widely criticised by experts ranging from the Institute for Fiscal Studies to the Pensions Select Committee for being an unnecessarily expensive protection that creates intergenerational unfairness. In private politicians would generally agree but, at the last Election, all of the mainstream political parties committed to retaining the Triple Lock. The pensioner vote is not one to put at risk.

The pandemic may have changed that mindset. Last year the government introduced emergency technical legislation to ensure the Triple Lock would work in the face of zero earnings growth. However, the measures put in place only applied for a single year. There have been suggestions that, if no action is taken, an earnings bounce in 2021 as the economy recovers could mean a 5% 2022/23 increase under the Triple Lock formula at a time when inflation is below 2%. Given the dire position of public finances, such a scenario would offer Rishi Sunak the golden opportunity to justify a reworking of the Triple Lock.

But…  

Despite the new state pension’s outpacing of inflation and earnings growth, it will remain a distinctly modest sum in April 2021: a maximum of £179.60 a week. Viewed another way, that is equivalent to just over 20 hours’ work at the National Living Wage rate for 2021/22 (£8.91 an hour) or a little under one-third of current average earnings (£560 a week). No wonder the UK is likely to remain in bottom place of the OECD’s league table based on the proportion of earnings replaced by state pensions…

ACTION

If you want to check your projected state pension benefit, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STATE PENSION SITE.

The state pension is not enough for a comfortable retirement. Make sure you talk to us about how you should be supplementing it – preferably before the Budget.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

The State Pension – What’s Ahead2021-01-28T17:03:57+00:00

TAX YEAR END PLANNING PART 1

TODAY’S BLOG

TAX YEAR END PLANNING PART 1

As you will have gathered, the Chancellor Sajid Javid resigned on 13 February just a month before his first Budget. There will be many that offer reasons for this, perhaps some of them will be something resembling the truth, but as they say “a week in politics is a long time”. We have a new Chancellor – Rishi Sunak (who?) … who sent most of us into a google spin. He’s the 39 year-old who worked for Goldman Sachs immediately following graduating from Oxford in 2001, who he left in 2004 to become a Hedge Fund 2006-2010. He became an MP in 2015 taking over William Hague’s seat in Richmond, Yorkshire.

As a result of the rather sudden changes in arguably the most important job in UK politics, there was concern that the Budget may have to be resceduled. However we have been reassured that 11 March remains the date for the 2020 Budget date. We also have an effective deadline for tax-year-end planning. There could be a range of measures announced on 11 March (normally operative from the beginning of Budget day) which could impact on such planning. The Government has loosened the purse strings on capital investment, but in terms of day-to-day spending it has little room for manoeuvre. The Treasury may thus be tempted to make some subtle tax changes to boost its coffers.

Rishi Sunak - UK Chancellor

PENSIONS

More than in most years, 2020 is the year to ensure you make your pension contributions before the Chancellor delivers his speech. As explained earlier, the risk of a major pension tax reform, potentially reducing higher rate tax relief, is greater now than for some while.

One important point to check is whether you have any unused annual allowance from 2016/17, when the maximum annual allowance (before tapering) was £40,000. You have until the end of 2019/20 to use up this past allowance, or it is lost forever. However, it can only be utilised once your full annual allowance for the current tax year is exhausted. So, for example, if you are not affected by the taper rules and you have £10,000 annual allowance unused from 2016/17, to mop it up completely would require a total contribution of £50,000 in 2019/20 – £40,000 for the current tax year and £10,000 carried back three years.

Unused relief can also be used from later years, but once you have paid the current year ‘entrance fee’, the excess contribution is offset in chronological order, starting with 2016/17. Under current rules unused relief can be carried forward for three tax years (hence the 2016/17 deadline), but that principle – and the rate of tax relief – could change.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

TAX YEAR END PLANNING PART 12020-02-18T18:46:52+00:00

TAPERED ANNUAL ALLOWANCE – NHS

TODAY’S BLOG

TAPERED ANNUAL ALLOWANCE – NHS

The Tapered Annual Allowance was introduced from 6 April 2016. It has caused considerable problems for members of the NHS pension scheme in terms of excess tax charges due to the formulas used in the calculations.

Admittedly having a good pension is a nice problem to have, but when faced with an excess of say £60,000 (by calculation) this generates a tax bill of typically £27,000. I have seen some that are much higher.

Therefore, many Consultants and senior NHS staff have really been forced to reduce their sessions (NHS pay) or take a break from or leave the pension scheme entirely – which is nuts. This is essentially a tax charge on money that has not yet been paid (it is paid at retirement).

After much badgering, a compromise has been reached for the current tax year 2019/20. In that a political promise has been made that the excess tax charge will permit the pension scheme to pay the charge and the employing NHS Trust will pay now compensate for this when the pension starts (my short version). This has now been confirmed for the English and Welsh NHS Pension Scheme.

NHS Annual Allowance 2019/20

Superficial Fix

There is as yet, nothing NEW stated about the 2020/21 tax year (there are restrospective juggling adjustments that can be made towards the end of the year, but these are daft) – but we do have a Budget coming in March, so we hope the ludicrous Tapered Annual Allowance will be scrapped then. However, this ought to apply to everyone, not simply NHS employees.

The Annual Allowance – Simplified, Quick Overview

In very simple terms the Annual Allowance is a maximum of £40,000. This is the total that can be paid into pensions by you and your employer. It reduces by £1 for every £2 of income over £150,000.  The allowance reduces to a minimum of £10,000 once an income of £210,000 is earned. In short, you can invest more into your ISA. However, for those in final salary schemes and the NHS in particular, the calculation is not really about how much is paid in, but how much the pension grows by and then multiplied by 16. So, if your pension increased by £1500 for the year that’s £24,000. Not the 14.5% of salary you must pay to be in the scheme. Its way more complex than this, but to save time, go with my summary.

It Is Political – Government and the NHS always are

In view of the impact that pension rules are having on senior NHS staff and their ability to work their normal hours, and with winter bringing the usual rise in demand for NHS services, NHS England and now NHS Wales and NHS Improvement have decided to take exceptional action. An extract from the announcement is given below:

‘This action will mean that:

·         Clinicians who are members of the NHS Pension Scheme and face a tax charge in respect of work undertaken this year (2019/20) as a result of breaching their annual pension allowance will be able to defer this charge (by choosing ‘Scheme Pays’ on their pension form) meaning that they don’t have to worry about paying the charge now out of their own pocket.

and:

·         The NHS employer will make a contractually binding commitment to pay them a corresponding amount on retirement, ensuring that they are fully compensated in retirement for the effect of the 2019/20 Scheme Pays deduction on their income from the NHS Pension Scheme in retirement.

Watch Out For…

Clinicians are therefore now immediately able to take on additional shifts or sessions without worrying about an annual allowance charge on their pension for 2019/20.

Local NHS employers are being asked to actively promote this development to affected staff as they plan for extra capacity and staffing over the winter period.’

This measure will only apply to the 2019/20 tax year as new flexibilities are being introduced from 2020/21.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

TAPERED ANNUAL ALLOWANCE – NHS2020-01-21T10:33:00+00:00

TAX FREE AT 65 – IT’S ABOUT TIME…

TODAY’S BLOG

TAX FREE AT 65, IT’S ABOUT TIME…

I am going to have to put a lot of caveats with this item on tax free money. There are lots of ways to have tax free money, but I want to highlight a couple of issues, the first being the different tax treatment of different financial products and secondly how these might be used in conjunction with the current tax rules.

Joan is 65 and now finally retired – it’s about time!

Joan (10/02/1954) was 65 at the start of the tax year but she stopped working in February when she turned 65. She is single and back in the late 80’s a dead-ringer for Kim Bassinger. She has worked since leaving University in 1977 and much like her favourite band Fleetwood Mac, she has gone her own way. She did a bit of employed work whilst at Uni, but got her “first proper job” working as a junior assistant in an advertising company. Over the years she worked for various employers, most didn’t have pension schemes, anyway most wouldn’t let you join them until you were 30, so by the time she actually joined a scheme at 35 (in 1989), she didn’t really feel that she was too late to the party.  She didn’t really like pensions, or rather the sharp suited, red-tie wearing blokes from Merchant Investors that sold them, they reminded her of some of the worst people in advertising. Then there was Robert Maxwell, no she didn’t like pensions at all. Mind you she was quite pleased that her current adviser found an old Contracted Out of SERPS pension, worth about £85,000 – so one of those fellas must have persuaded her to sign a form at some point. It helped top up her pension fund quite a lot to about £400,000.

At the age of 30 Joan bought her Wimbledon house in 1984 for £34,000 which was a lot back then.  She recalls a great house warming party – lots of Wham! and Duran Duran. Looking back she wondered how she afforded it, (the house, not the party) given that interest rates were about 10% and kept going up. However property prices seemed to be rising (hers had doubled in value in 5 years) and she was forming a habit for nice things, which nearly got out of hand, but she spoke to her bank and remortgaged, increasing her loan in 1988 to almost £60,000. When the property crash happened shortly afterwards life got a little tricky, she had to economise. She enjoyed applying tips to improve her home from Tessa Shaw and the team on Home Front.  She loved relaxing in the evening having done a bit of decorating whilst listening to Simply Red’s “Stars” curled up on the sofa. It heped her manage her feelings about her large mortgage which barely seemed to reduce in the first 10 years, but at least it was – and she hung in there. She finally paid off her mortgage 10 years ago at the age of 55. She still believes it was her best investment.

Joan quite liked PEPs and ISAs. She remembered getting a little lucky with a few Building Societies that demutualised and even put the proceeds into a Single Company PEP. She wasn’t sure why she liked them, perhaps it was because she was told she could get her money out if she needed to (she never did) or perhaps it was because it seemed that they were more glamorous, or was that because she seemed to remember a tune by Right Said Fred called “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” that was playing a lot at the time. It wasn’t, that was 1991, no perhaps it was all those boy bands like Westlife and Boyzone that she secretly liked she remembers them being around in 1999, that was Tony Blair and all the optimism  and promise of equality of new Labour. She kept up her regular savings and built up her ISAs, which began 20 years ago in 1999.

Joan had learned a bit about investing, the important things like ignoring what everyone else said, she first learned this as her Yuppie thirtysomething friends got into a panic in the crash of October ’87 which she ignored. Then shortly after opening her new ISA learned never to invest in a technology themed fund when the dot-com bubble burst. She chalked it up to “experience”. Other than that, she took investment news in her stride, largely ignoring the mountains of paper that seemed to pile up each year. Over time she observed that stock markets tend to go up and down and up again. Admittedly Joan got a little lucky – 10 years ago at 55 when she had cleared off her mortgage, her career was going well and she had a decent disposable income. She saw an adviser who suggested she add more to her pension and ISA, as luck would have it the Government increased the amount she could contribute and she took advantage of 40% tax relief. It was just as well as her State Pension Age was being pushed even further into the future.

Not long afterwards, she started investing into VCTs, (Venture Capital Trusts) well, she had a few friends that had some good business ideas, she had watched The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den and thought a little bit of a flutter was probably ok. She saved into a VCT for few years ago but has since stopped adding money.

Joan has always paid her National Insurance and has a full State Pension which only started in the summer when she was 65, 4 months and 26 days old. Her State pension is £168 a week. She was a bit miffed that it wasn’t 65 (and when she started out at Uni, it would have been 60) but she had enjoyed the benefits of working until 65.

Joan’s Portfolio

  • £400,000 – Personal Pension Plan
  • £400,000 – Stocks and Shares ISA Portfolio
  • £80,000 – VCT (Venture Capital Trust)
  • £50,000 – Bank Deposit Account
  • £600,000 – Home

Not an unreasonable sum of money – in fact having paid off her mortgage and owning her home, Joan has savings and investments of £930,000. Her home is not an investment, its where she lives. Though her friends regularly tell her that it is an investment if she sells and moves away from Wimbledon. However what would be the point? her friends all live in the area, she loves going jogging on the Common with some of them. Her mum (91) is still alive and living nearby, though Joan is worried that she may need care at some point and the cost of care in Wimbledon is, well… there may not be much of an inheritance.

Fleetwod Mac - Go Your Own Way

Tax Free Allowances

In the current tax year 2019/20. Joan has a personal allowance of £12,500 before she pays any income tax. Her State Pension will use up a lot of this. Income up to £50,000 is taxed at 20% (when the personal allowance is considered).

The VCT is a fairly “high-risk” type of investment, she isn’t paying any money into it any longer, but does enjoy income from it of 3% a year, this is tax free within a VCT. That’s £2,400 a year.

Her ISA is doing well, she has set up a monthly payment from it to her of £4,000 a quarter (£16,000 a year). As this is an ISA, the income that she takes (or capital) is tax free. By way of note £16,000 4% of £400,000.

The State Pension – Joan is caught by equalisation.

Joan originally expected her State Pension to start when she was 60, but following various rule changes and seeking advice in the early 2000’s she realised that it would be later than that. Joan’s State Pension actually began this summer on 6 July 2019. Over the full remainder of the tax year she will have 38 payments of £168 (£6,384) normally in a full tax year it would obviously be 52 weeks (£8,736) but she is one of many women that saw their State Pension Age increased. She’s a little miffed at having an extra 5 years to wait and wanted to know how she can minimise her tax payments.

Joan would like to know how much she could take from her pension without paying any tax. As her other investments are tax free, the only taxable income she has is money from her State pension (£6,384 in 2019/20) the personal allowance is £12,500. She puts £8,154 of her pension into a Flexible Access Drawdown pension. This enables her to take £2,038.50 as a tax free lump sum (25%) and £6,115 as taxable income. So rather like this:

  • State Pension £6,384 (taxable at 0%)
  • Drawdown Pension £6,115 (taxable at 0%)
  • Tax Free lump sum from pension £2,038 (tax free)
  • VCT income £2,400 (tax free)
  • ISA income £16,000 (tax free)
  • TOTAL income £32,927 and NO INCOME TAX

More and Less

The first point to make is that the above is not the maximum income that Joan could have. I simply want to identify some options. She could take more from her ISA, she is entitled to tax free interest on her money at the bank. She could take more from her pension (a larger tax free lump sum and no income from the pension if she was so minded). As an employed income £32,927 in 2019/20 would for most people result in about £7,000 paid in tax and national insurance.

Joan will need advice to adjust her portfolios and determine the most suitable way for her to draw income. Next year she will have a larger State pension, using more of her personal allowance as it will be a full year of income for her (and a likely increase in April).

Annuity Option

When she retired at the start of the year at 65, Joan had investigated using her pension to buy an annuity. She was going to simply take the 25% from her fund and put it in the bank and then use the £300,000 to buy an annuity. As a single person in very good health, she wanted an inflation-proofed income. The best annuity available would guarantee that she receives £9,851 a year rising by 3% a year. Job done. That’s an annuity rate of roughly 3.2%, but the income is taxable. In the first year she would have total income of £16,255 from the annuity and her State Pension, paying tax of £747. Her VCT and ISA income remain the same at £18,400 in all. So her total income would be £34,655 (more) but with tax of £747 (net £33,908) She has £300,000 less on her personal balance sheet and has £981 extra income in the year.

In the second year, she would expect £10,146 from the annuity and a State Pension of £8,736 a total of £18,882, which if the personal allowance remains at £12,500 would mean that £6,382 is taxed at 20% (£1,276.40 tax). Whilst there are good things about an annuity (it’s a guaranteed income) this is also a problem for tax planning as the income cannot be switched off and is taxable.

The purpose of this fictional case study is simply meant to highlight the issues involved, everyone’s circumstances will be different. I have not considered that Joan may live a very long time and whether taking 4% from her ISA is a good idea or indeed if she has a suitable globally diverse portfolio. I have done no inheritance tax planning and no contributions to anything that might get tax relief. Had Joan had other investments, she could also use her capital gains tax allowance. There are lots of options.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

TAX FREE AT 65 – IT’S ABOUT TIME…2019-11-05T12:54:16+00:00

HOW TO FIND THAT LOST PENSION

TODAY’S BLOG

HOW TO FIND THAT LOST PENSION

I make no apology for pinching this really helpful piece from Henry Tapper and People’s Pension. I have a very high regard for Henry who constantly attempts to bring clarity and insight in plain language to anyone that comes into contact with the world of financial services. Henry set up Age Wage Ltd which hopes to revolutionise pension advice for smaller investors. His blog is hugely successful (if the number of visits is any indication). A former Bryanston pupil and Cambridge Graduate with a penchant for messing around in boats, here is his post from Wednesday. Over to Henry…

The DWP tell us that we’ll have lost 50m pension pots by 2050, unless we do better at tracking them down than we’re doing at the moment! There’s £20,000,000,000 of lost money in the pension system at the moment so let’s get finding! The dashboard ‘s going to help but – why wait for the dashboard!

Here are some handy tips from our friends at People’s Pension about how we can find our pensions today.

How to find lost pensions

HOW ARE PENSIONS LOST?

People Pension’s  research found that 1 in 5 people have lost track of a pension and 3 in 5 adults don’t know where all their pension savings details are.

So, why are people losing track of their pension pots?

Not sure who you’ve got pension savings with?

You may have changed jobs several times by the time you retire, so you could find yourself having to look for all your lost pension savings when you need it the most.
You may have moved house, misplaced the details and no longer receiving annual pension statements from your provider(s).
Pension scheme information can become lost as many people now choose to go paperless, so there’s emails to keep track of as well as paperwork.

How to trace lost pension savings

Finding the details of a lost workplace pension can be a little easier than finding the details of a personal pension. Often your employer, or former employer (if they are still in existence), should have the details of their pension provider.

It can often be a little bit more difficult finding the details of a lost personal pension. A good place to start would be to contact the pension provider that you set up the personal pension with.

Next steps

Start at home – dig out as much paperwork as you can and see if you can find the details of any pensions you have forgotten about.
Take a look at any previous employment contract and old payslips and check if there were any pension contribution deductions. If so, and you haven’t taken a refund, you could have a pension you’ve forgotten about.
Contact your previous employers and ask for the details of their pension schemes. They’ll be able to give you the pension provider’s contact details, so you can contact them directly to find out if you were a member of a pension scheme.
And you can use the Companies House website – they hold the names of all closed and existing companies registered in the UK.
If you are still having difficulty finding the details of a lost pension, you can use the government’s online pension tracing service.

Visit their website www.gov.uk/find-lost-pension or call them on 0845 6002 537.

Check if your pension contributions were refunded

In the past when leaving an employer, you could have had a refund of your pension contributions after only being in a pension for a short time.

So, it’s important to consider whether your pension is actually lost, or if your pension contributions could have already been refunded.

There are several key dates to help you check whether this applies to you:

If you left your employer before 1975: it’s almost certain that you’d have had a refund of your pension contributions. If you did not pay into the pension scheme, then the chances are you will not be entitled to anything – the only exception will be if you worked there for a considerable amount of time, usually over 15 years.
If you left your employer between April 1975 and April 1988: you may have a pension if you were over the age of 26 and had completed over 5 years’ service. If not, it’s almost certain that you’d have received a refund of your pension contributions.
If you left your employer after 1988: you may be entitled to a pension, as long as you completed over two years’ service for your employer. If you left before completing two years, it’s almost certain that you’d have received a refund of your pension contributions.

If in any doubt you should contact any previous employer(s) for absolute clarification.

Take a look at the steps below if you think you have a lost pension and don’t think you’ve received a refund.

Once you’ve found a lost pension provider’s details

You’ll need to contact them to give them as many details about yourself, so they can trace your lost pension savings quickly and easily. They’ll need:

  • your name (current and previous, if different) date of birth and National Insurance number
  • your address (current and where you resided when you think you had the lost pension)
  • the date you joined and left the pension scheme (if known).

And if it’s a workplace pension:

  • the name of the company you worked for
  • the address of the company you worked for (in case your company had multiple branches/outlets)
  • the date you began working for the company and the date you left the company.

Find out as much information as you can

It’s important to find out as much information as possible about any pension scheme you may be part of. For example, you should ask:

  • what’s the current value of the pension pot, and the estimated value on your expected retirement date?
  • are there any management charges, and if so, how much?
  • is there a nominated beneficiary?
  • is it a defined benefit scheme or a defined contribution scheme?
  • would there be any charges if I wanted to transfer the pension pot to another provider?
  • are there any pension guarantees included e.g. Guaranteed Annuity Rates?

Once you have the full details about your lost pension savings, you may wish to get advice.  You could choose to leave it as it is until you reach retirement age or, if you have other pensions, you could consider combining them into one pot –  making it easier to manage and keep track of.

Henry Tapper
Age Wage Ltd

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

HOW TO FIND THAT LOST PENSION2019-09-18T14:06:21+01:00

WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE PENSION AGE?

TODAY’S BLOG

WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE PENSION AGE?

It sounds an easy question, but right now it is a moving target. If you answered 65, you are wrong because that stopped being the State Pension Age (SPA) last December. Until 6 October 2020 SPA is in a transitional period where there is no specific age, just a set of dates, each separated by two months, on which it arrives, depending upon date of birth. So, for example, if you were born between 6 February 1954 and 5 March 1954, you reach your SPA on 6 July 2019. From 6 October 2020 until 5 April 2026, SPA will remain at 66, before starting another two-year transitional period, en route to 67. To provide an example… John Travolta was born 18 February 1954. You will remember him as a 20 year-old Danny Zuko in the 1978 movie “Grease” (about the summer of ’58). He played opposite Olivia Newton-John, who is now 70.

And the result is…

Source: National Statistics

The SPA has been on the rise since 2010, when the process of equalising state pension ages for men and women began. The effect of that controversial reform can already be seen in UK labour market statistics. In April 2010, at the start of the equalisation process, 58.5% of women aged between 50 and 64 were in the work. By January 2019 that proportion had risen to 68.1% – an increase of almost a sixth. As the graph shows, in that age band there are still proportionately more men in work, but the gap between the sexes has been narrowing since 2010.

Beyond 65, too

The trend of increased working life extends beyond age 65, as the two lower lines on the graph indicate. In January 2019, 7.9% of women aged 65 and over were still working, as were 14.2% of men. Many of the jobs involved are part-time.

The rise in SPA is not the only driver to the changing age profile of the workforce. Legislation that largely prohibits mandatory retirement ages has made it easier for employees to keep in harness. Tight labour markets – UK unemployment is under 4% – has encouraged employers to hang on to staff, on a full or part-time basis, rather than compete for new employees.

The income factor

Probably the main reason for the growing grey-haired workforce is a financial one: they need the earnings. The state pension (theoretically £168.60 a week in 2019/20) hardly offers a comfortable retirement. Another factor is the gradual demise of final salary pension schemes, which most private sector employers have now closed to existing employees as well as new recruits. Such schemes often made it easier to take early retirement, especially if the employer added redundancy incentives. Workplace pension ages have also been rising too, often tracking the move in SPA.

Action

When you retire should be a decision you make, not a timing effectively set by the state or financial pressure. The only way to have that freedom of choice is to build up sufficient resources before you retire, by way of pensions and/or other investments

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE PENSION AGE?2019-06-26T19:46:27+01:00
Go to Top