WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

TODAY’S BLOG

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

When things around us begin to collapse, there is an undeniable sense that screams within us to “do something!” (I’m sure it’s not just me). The global stock markets taking a battering are not good for our nerves (we were not designed for this). The temptation to do something, anything! is palpable… but you have me and all proper financial planners telling you that selling in a crisis is just about the worst thing you could do. These things happen, they come they go, they happen again. This does not placate any of our feelings, but it may help remind us of truths.

However, we are still left with the feeling about wanting to do something, even if that is not to mess with your portfolio. So here I have compiled a list of things to do. It is not exhaustive, some are more important than others, but I would urge you to consider them, particularly if you are feeling reasonably well, but having to self-isolate, or have chosen to do so.

YOUR TO DO LIST

  1. DON’T PANIC: The first thing is not to panic, whilst this version of calamity has not happened before, something very similar has. Disasters have a lot in common, they are fairly regular and prone to repeat without much warning.
  2. TAKE STOCK: This is a good opportunity to review your cash savings. You will remember that we have talked about having reserve cash funds of anything between 3-12 months of typical spending, more in some instances. See our video. Well this is the moment that those reserves may need to be called upon. Also remember that you should try to limit cash savings at any one bank to £85,000 for full FSCS protection. Let me know if you want more about this.
  3. CHECK YOUR PRIORITIES: We all know that plans are well intended, but life has a habit of getting in the way. That doesn’t mean that the plan is wrong or doomed, merely that some flexibility is probably required. So your plans may need to be adjusted, reconsidered, reviewed, postponed, delayed or cancelled, depending on your circumstances and what is wise for you.
  4. REVIEW YOUR BUDGET: You should also take this opportunity to review your regular outgoings. Have another look at your spending plan. What is important and essential, what is nice to have and what is superfluous. Let me be clear, with some luck and good leadership, the current crisis may be over within a few weeks or months, but it could drag on for a bit longer. Stopping your subscriptions to things you enjoy and use may not be sensible, unless you don’t benefit from having them.
  5. LIVE GENEROUSLY: I am a great believer in small businesses, so think about the impact of your financial choices on those within your local community and our wider one. If you have booked and paid for something and now plan to cancel, yes that might be sensible, but you have a choice about whether you simply treat the money as gone, perhaps to someone that needs it more. I’m not suggesting you should, but to merely raise the fact that you have a choice.
  6. HOPE FOR THE BEST, PLAN FOR THE WORST: The current coronavirus is not going to be a “walk in the park”. If statistics are correct the fatality rate is higher than the normal flu, particularly for those with pre-existing serious health and respiratory problems, but we expect the vast majority of people to survive.  We all hope that we will all survive whatever is coming down the road, but some will not. Yes, this is very morbid. However, I am assuming that one of the reasons that I am in your life is so that I do not ignore the difficult challenges to do with money and your financial wellbeing. My job is not to sweet talk you with nice words, but to provide a responsible truthful voice, at least as far as I see it. You need to ensure that your Will is up to date, that your Executors know what their responsibilities are, that protection policies provide ample cover. You should also consider Power of Attorney so that someone you trust can take financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Need help? get in touch.
  7. COMMUNICATE – GET IN TOUCH: You also need to ensure that the relevant people know where your important documents are. Why not put a copy on our portal too – see www.solomonsifa.co.uk/pfp for more.
  8. REFLECT & REMEMBER: If you find yourself having to “self-isolate” why not take the time to finally get around to writing up a brief version of your life-story. I hope that this will have the effect of reminding you of many good experiences in life and happy memories and provide space to reflect on who and what is important. Add photographs, then get to work on creating a book using a bit of software within Apple or Vistaprint or something similar, get it printed, get it done. If you would like a useful template email me.
  9. CHECK IN ABOUT YOUR LONG-TERM PLANS: In terms of your financial planning – I’m working on the assumption that your plans have not altered. If they have get in touch. It is possible that some may need to be adjusted, but I doubt that this is a wise time to do that. Your investments remain globally diversified, across various asset classes and low cost where possible. We have seen the value fall sharply before and we will see it again, but there is no need to panic. In the same way that you didn’t sell your home during the last property crash, you sat it out.
  10. REVIEW YOUR BUCKET LIST: Appreciating the precarious and fragility of life will hopefully bring to mind some things that you would like to experience – have a think and let me know if anything new should be added to your bucket list, they dont have to have a financial price tag, but at least when we next review your plans together we can check to see how you are getting along…

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.

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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.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW2020-03-16T17:23:31+00:00

TAX YEAR END PLANNING PART 3

TODAY’S BLOG

TAX YEAR END PLANNING PART 3 – IHT

Inheritance Tax is one of the most unpopular taxes, yet it is a tax that you will not pay – your estate might. There are various solutions to reducing or avoiding inheritance tax – talk to me if you want to know more about them. However, each tax year you get some basic allowances that you can use to pass on wealth without any inheritance tax.

  • ANNUAL EXEMPTION

Each tax year you can give away £3,000 free of IHT. If you do not use all of the exemption in one year, you can carry forward the unused element, but only to the following tax year, when it can only be used after that year’s exemption has been exhausted.

  • SMALL GIFTS EXEMPTION

You can give up to £250 outright per tax year free of IHT to as many people as you wish, so long as they do not receive any part of the £3,000 exemption.

  • NORMAL EXPENDITURE EXEMPTION

The normal expenditure exemption is potentially the most valuable of the yearly IHT exemptions and the one most likely to be reformed. Currently, any gift is exempt from IHT provided that:

    • you make it regularly;
    • it is made out of income (including ISA income); and
    • it does not reduce your standard of living.

One way to combine the use of your CGT annual exemption with IHT planning could be to make an outright lifetime gift of investments. Such gifts would count as a disposal for CGT purposes and a potentially exempt transfer for IHT. The recipients of the gifts would start with a base cost for the investment equal to the gift’s value and there would be no IHT to pay at any time, provided you survived for the following seven years (possibly reduced to five under OTS proposals).

ANNUAL GIVING

ISAs – INDIVIDUAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

There are five important tax benefits which are common across the different types of ISA:

·         Interest earned on cash or fixed interest securities is free of UK income tax.

·         Dividends are free of UK income tax.

·         Capital gains are free of UK CGT.

·         There is nothing to report on your tax return.

·         On death, the income tax and CGT benefits of your ISAs can effectively be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner.

The overall maximum that can be invested in all ISAs in 2019/20 is generally £20,000 (£4,368 for Junior ISAs). There are no carry forward provisions, so like the CGT annual exemption it is a case of use it or lose it.

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 32020-02-18T19:26:04+00:00

Talking Money…. again

Talking Money… again

As you will have gathered from the plethora of adverts in the weekend papers and advertising hoardings everywhere, the tax year is coming to a close. This means it is your last chance to use up your 2016/17 ISA allowance of £15,240 or perhaps a Junior ISA for those young enough.

This tax year has had many unwelcome changes, most significantly the pension tapered annual allowance, which has reduced the annual allowance (normally capped at £40,000) to a £10,000. This applies to anyone with “adjusted income” over £150,000. But that doesn’t make you “safe” if you don’ earn £150,000. As the annual allowance is £40,000, the maths starts at £110,000 of income. Pension contributions paid are added to income, indeed any income, be it rent, dividends or interest are all counted. So many may well find that they have exceeded the annual allowance.

Deliberate Complexity

Yes, the Government could have made things easier, but why bother when there are so many willing voters who will forget the hassle at the ballot box. In fact, Mr Hammond, the Chancellor has had two opportunities to abolish this utterly ludicrous rule in either in his Autumn Statement or his Budget last week. There are tax penalties and charges if this is exceeded and you don’t have any unused relief from any of the three previous tax years 2015/16, 2014/15 and 2013/14. Pensions have the ability to go back 3 tax years if you exceed your annual allowance.

Shrinking heads?

To provide a little more context – ten years ago, the annual allowance was £215,000 in 2006/17, it rose each tax year to £255,000 by 2010/11. It was then slashed to £50,000 for 2011/12 and remained at that level until 2014/15 when it became £40,000. Today in 2016/17 it is likely to be £10,000 for many high earners.

Of course the Government knows what they are doing, by encouraging us all to save for our retirement and financial independence…. I expect that we will soon hear “lessons will be learned”. Oh and no, this is not fake news, its just unwelcome news.

Clients will be receiving a printed copy of Talking money this week, which has some more facts.

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

Email me to get in touch
Talking Money…. again2017-03-14T17:29:22+00:00

2017 Budget

2017 Budget

The 2017 Budget from the Chancellor Philip Hammond will take place this Wednesday. In practice, few are expecting him to deliver anything significant. He has already publicly stated that there will be no “spending sprees” which is a rather unhelpful relative term, but would imply that there is unlikely to be a considerable amount of money for sectors that probably need it.

There are lots of things that I wish he would change, but I am sounding rather like a broken or at least well-worn record, that the rules around pensions are more than a little bit daft, but utterly insane – but hey, this is Government policy not common sense.

Pension Insanity

As a brief reminder of the pensions insanity. You are restricted to how much you can pay into a pension each tax year (called the annual allowance). This is currently £40,000 or 100% of your actual earned income, whichever is the lower figure.

The UK has a system where you are penalised if your pension pot exceeds a certain value (now £1million) this is called the Lifetime Allowance. You are also penalised if you earn more than £150,000 and begin to see the reduction of your annual allowance from £40,000 to £10,000. This is called pension taper relief, catchy sounding term isn’t it! Tax penalties are ready and waiting should you mess up, many will – through nothing deliberate, other than earning and income and being a member of a pension scheme, something that one would normally think were good things to do. Just for good measure your pension is valued at the point you “retire” (though in their infinite wisdom this is now called a crystallisation event) and then again at 75 with assessment against the Lifetime Allowance, which may well result in a significant tax payment – or rather it will if you exceed the Lifetime Allowance of the day.

Doctors, Teachers and Measure for Measure

Those that are members of final salary pensions like the NHS, Civil Service or Teachers Pension Schemes – basically anyone that works for a State service, which is likely to benefit us all. You possibly know someone who works within in the NHS or a Teacher, who has had increasingly pressurised workloads, with extended hours and utterly pointless assessments, form filling (for which read, Government department bureaucrats need to measure something, so let’s try this) all simply to justify their non-inflated salaries, which on occasion they have to reapply for…  all because a Government can. Anyway, as these people are clearly coping too well and not leaving in the numbers that Government hoped, they are asked to calculate their annual allowance rather differently and constantly guess if they will overpay for the year, which results in a tax fine that on money that they might not receive when then retire. I am not kidding – this is not fake news.

Hollow Words, Smoke and Mirrors

When Chancellors and Prime Ministers or indeed any politician talks about serving people, one is  always left suspicious as the words are invariably bereft of any action plan or follow through. There are few like the Duke, in Measure for Measure, who survey the detail of the way their citizens are governed. We all plod on regardless because the problems are apparently “just too big to fix” and “we must all have a grown-up debate”… hmm..

If Government was a business it would be in an even worse shape, for failing its customers so frequently and so outrageously. Yet whichever one is elected, they make the same empty promises and simply meddle along, tinkering at the edges hoping that everyone will quickly forget, which they will…

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

Email me to get in touch
2017 Budget2017-03-06T13:21:11+00:00

The Annual Spending Plan

The Annual Spending Plan

As we prepare for the end of the tax year in a few weeks’ time, we are also preparing your annual spending plans. On Wednesday clients should have received a new copy for you to update us with your plans for the year ahead.

If you would like to simply update your details from last year, we can provide a copy, which we will send to you securely. We are now using the Citrix ShareFile system which is encrypted and doesn’t require you to use a password. You can also return documents to us that way too (which makes life a little easier if you can save pdfs or create them). Alternatively we could send you an excel version of the same information. Just let us know.

A plan is not an account

We are all aware that despite the official figures showing inflation of roughly “nada”. Most of us need to keep an eye on where our money is going. Your financial plan is based upon your lifestyle. There are a couple of obvious sources of information about your lifestyle, things that tend to be more accurate than our own memory – your bank account and your diary. These tell us how we spend our time and money.

So whatever life stage you are at, it’s time to review your spending plan. Note that this is a plan, not an account.

The big-ticket item… in your plan?

I don’t follow American football, but I did see an “interview” with a Bronco’s fan at the Superbowl last weekend. He was asked how much he spent… he replied “Twenty-one”… then when asked how much on the whole trip, he said,

“thirty thousand – I spent twenty-one thousand on four tickets, but with the tailgate package it was thirty thousand…. Don’t tell my wife”.

I’m guessing that by now she has seen the video on NBC…. Well at least the Broncos won…. I’m not entirely sure that the interviewee knows the difference between hundreds and thousands though (a problem in financial planning and life generally!). When I looked up the price of a ticket the tailgate package is considerably less, so either he paid a fortune to a ticket tout or missed the day they did hundred, tens and units…

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

The Annual Spending Plan2017-01-06T14:39:19+00:00

As safe as houses… more IHT

As safe as houses…. more IHT

You have probably heard that the nil rate band or inheritance tax allowance is increasing on a main residence, provided that it is inherited by your family and provided that it isn’t worth too much. As probably intended, many are under the impression that this new “£500,000” allowance has started… it hasn’t and many will not see the benefit.

For starters, the new “Main Residence Nil Rate Band” … MRNRB is being gradually introduced from April 2017 starting with an extra £100,000 rising each tax year by £25,000 until the full extra £175,000 becomes applied from April 2020. However if the net value of the estate is worth more than £2m, then this extra allowance is gradually lost. I think that’s called giving with one hand and taking with the other and of course is ignored by those who think that this is a tax break for the super rich…. reality is quite different.

IH405

IHT405 is the form you use to tell HMRC about all of your properties upon death. Have a look at the form, the valuation of a property (or plural) can and will make a considerable difference to the value of an estate. If you have a second (or further) property, then please keep really good records about it. This includes dates and purchase prices, valuations, work done, insurance costs and so on. You need to be fastidious in your record keeping… not least because these records may also be pretty vital whilst you are alive.

Getting your house/s in order

If you have acquired property over the years, perhaps just for your own family use or perhaps as a commercial concern to generate rental income, this all needs accounting…(sorry for stating the obvious). The value of property obviously changes and there is some degree of flexibility in how this is valued for probate… on the basis that what someone will actually pay for a property is more fluid than a simple figure.

As an aside, landlords that are off-setting interest against rental income, thereby reducing profit and tax, are having the amount permitted altered (another feature of the last Budget). So beware! Also as an aside, those with second properties that have soared in value are loaded with capital gains and thus subject to capital gains tax. There are ways to manage this… which I shall outline at another time – but be advised that there are solutions that may appeal.

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

As safe as houses… more IHT2017-01-06T14:39:23+00:00

Budget 8 July 2015

Budget 8 July 2015

Following my recent email and Mr. Osborne’s announcements, I am pleased to confirm the following changes and amendments have been made to our App (which is available free of charge for iphone, ipad and Android platforms).

As the 2016/17 rates are being added after the Autumn Statement, there is only one small change to the 2015/16 rates and the change has already been made earlier this afternoon and is live in your App. The change was within the Main Capital and Other Allowances section of the tax tables and related to the change to the Annual Investment Allowance from 1st January 2016 from the previously announced limit of £25,000 to a new limit of £200,000.

On a separate note, the chancellor has, from April 2016, abolished dividend tax credits. This will fundamentally change 3 of the tax calculators so they will need to be changed when we complete our updates prior to the April 2016 budget. However for the remainder of this tax year, all calculators and tax tables remain fully accurate.

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

Budget 8 July 20152017-01-06T14:39:27+00:00

Estates: Inheritance Tax

Estates: Inheritance Tax

So it’s 8th July already and into the second half of the Wimbledon  Championships. Looking at your own life, which half do you imagine you are in? (ouch… didn’t see that coming!). Like most people inheritance tax (often referred to as IHT) probably isn’t something that is top of your current concerns (you don’t pay it) however it is a tax that generates more ire than most. In essence, inheritance tax is paid by the Executors of an estate following someone’s death. The amount of tax due will depend on the value of the estate and how it was arranged.

Today the Chancellor will give yet another Budget, but this one, the first as a Conservative Government. Like many I shall be waiting to hear what he says and see how he plans to deliver it. One of the pre-election manifesto promises was to increase the threshold for inheritance tax, perhaps to £1,000,000 for a couples main residence.

He may be less willing to follow through with this now as it was announced that in April HMRC collected £397m as inheritance tax payments, the largest in a single month and way above the longer term average of £260m a month. In fact March, April and May 2015 saw over £1bn of inheritance tax paid to HMRC. If interested, you can see the various taxes collected by HMRC from the data they published at the start of the month, just click here.

The Budget 8 July 2015

We shall simply have to wait for the Chancellor to tell us how and if he intends to adjust the nil rate band (the amount an estate can be worth before any inheritance tax is payable). The nil rate band has been frozen at £325,000 since 2009 and had historically increased with inflation each year, but of course that was before the credit crunch. As ever our APP will be updated with all the changes as quickly as possible (usually before the end of the day). Don’t forget it’s free and easy to use.

Pensions and ISAs are now IHT friendly

The main gripe is that property has continued to soar in value and is invariably the main asset that is left once someone dies. The pension freedom rules have enabled pension funds to be exempt from inheritance tax (though some taxes may apply) and ISAs are able to be passed on to a surviving spouse (previously they would have lost the tax-free status of an ISA).

As a result more people, or rather estates have been brought into the inheritance tax threshold, probably not the original intention of the tax. However the Chancellor will be seeking some wriggle room to keep things as they are given that it raises such significant sums for the Treasury.

A 40% tax rate

As of this morning, inheritance tax is charged at 40% on the excess value of estates worth £325,000. Each individual has a nil rate band and so a couple effectively has a nil rate band of £650,000. In addition, for those that have been previously married to someone now deceased, it is possible to use part of their allowance too.

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

Estates: Inheritance Tax2017-01-06T14:39:27+00:00

The Budget 2015 – A New Mad Max

Solomons-financial-advisor-wimbledon-blogger

The Budget 2015 – A New Mad Max

So, the Budget is already ancient history, the political hoo-hah has been left to fester, tweak and develop into an election manifesto campaign. So what, if anything grabbed my attention?

Jilted Bribe

Firstly, I have to admit that I was expecting there to be a little more of an electoral bribe. Whilst the Chancellor certainly made much of the fact that he wasn’t going to (and thus seek to be understood as prudent or sensible) the truth is that, well… he didn’t really offer a bribe (unless its one I missed). Frankly with the national purse in the shape its in, I was rather glad, (though I remain open to the possibility of  solving the problems differently).

ISA with tax relief? – future implied?Mad-Max-5

That said, the first time buyer ISA does sound like a good idea. The detail needs further examination, but in essence there is 20% tax relief on the annual ISA allowance for people that are 18 or over and don’t (and have never) own a home. £3,000 of the £15,000 ISA allowance will be paid by the Government. Whilst everyone that qualifies will benefit, in practice, this will be a very good way of saving if you qualify… if not you, perhaps your children… opening up further options for more wealthy parents.

Pensions and Politicians… taking the …point?

As for pensions, I have to admit that the utter folly of politicians in relation to pensions has shifted gear over the last 10 years. Whilst knowing that we all need to save more so that there is less reliance on the State system… perhaps even the prospect of a means-tested State pension (who knows?) they are determined to punish successful investing and saving.

Here in the UK we are now restricted on how much can be paid into a pension and how much the pension fund can be worth. Utter madness. Yes £1m is a lot of money, but are we also going to cap how much can be held in a bank account or the value of property? what about the value of a business? These are measures to appear a poorly informed crowd by a poorly informed media. I would immediately abolish the Lifetime Allowance and simply restrict how much tax relief is provided on payments to pensions. It doesn’t have to be more complex than that. However we have a new maximum pot size for your pension. To say that this complicates life further for anyone in a Defined Benefit (DB) pension such as the NHS, would be a masterful understatement. Just so that we are clear… the Lifetime Allowance has reduced from £1.8m to £1.25m already and the Budget has reduced this to £1m in 12 months time. Ok, there will be some form of protection, but if recent experience is to go by, this is about as useful as pushing someone out of an aeroplane with an umbrella instead of a parachute. As for those that put a commercial property in their pension pot… good luck with that! The Annual allowance is now £40,000 a year as the maximum value of contributions to pensions, which may as well be written in algebra when attempting to calculate this for DB members.

Final note: our free APP is updated with all the changes announced for personal allowances, savings rates and so on.

Dominic Thomas

The Budget 2015 – A New Mad Max2017-01-06T14:39:29+00:00
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