ITS IN YOUR INTEREST

TODAY’S BLOG

IT IS IN YOUR INTEREST

You may have noticed a press release by National Savings or more accurately, NS&I – of for most of us “the post office”. Sadly, we all know that cash savings rates have been in the doldrums since the financial crash and took yet another nosedive (who would have thought it possible?) in March once Covid became something that the Government actively noticed.

Over the last few months, I have been suggesting various cash deposit solutions and NS&I has been one of them. Now that rates are at rock bottom (hopefully they cannot get worse) it is a good time to review where your cash is and what rate you are receiving.

SOLOMONS IFA AUTUMN 2020 ARRIVING

MORE HIGHLY RATED

As you may have gathered from previous posts, we can provide access to online cash management solutions, these are designed to achieve two things. Firstly, to get a better rate, secondly to keep funds within the £85,000 FSCS protection limit. An additional benefit is that you only need to apply once, as rates come to an end you simply reselect the best from those available via the service. There is no additional paperwork or hassle trawling to find the new “best buy” only to discover it has ended or is about to.

Get in touch if you wish to know more about this, it is a service relevant to individuals, business owners, Trusts and Charities (so pretty much everyone).

Anyway, here are the changes announced by NS&I this week.

PRODUCT RATE NOW RATE FROM 24/11/2020
Direct Saver 1.00% 0.15%
Investment Account 0.80% 0.01%
Income Bonds 1.15% 0.01%
Direct Cash ISA 0.90% 0.10%
Junior ISA 3.25% 1.50%

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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ITS IN YOUR INTEREST2020-09-23T15:12:57+01:00

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.

=

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

STAMPS TELL STORIES OF INFLATION

TODAY’S BLOG

THE PRICE OF A STAMP

Royal Mail announced yet another increase to the price of a first-class stamp. As of 23 March 2020, the price will rise from 70p to 76p. Second class rises 4p to 65p. This will possibly have you gasping at yet another increase and recollecting when stamps used to be much cheaper.

This neatly leads me to discuss the topic of inflation. Whatever anyone within the financial world tells you, this is arguably the most devastating element to your financial wellbeing. Imagine you have £100,000 and inflation runs at an average 3% a year. Over the course of 25 years £100,000 is effectively worth £50,000.

Most people should be investing for decades, not days, weeks or months – decades. Your finances need to outlast you. When you enter the adult workforce and ultimately leave it, you have to rely on your investments to provide an income.

First Class 1970,1980,1990,2000,2010

FIVE DECADES OF FIRST CLASS STAMPS

The price of a first-class stamp 10 years ago was 41p. In the millennium year 27p would have covered the cost of your standard first-class letter, which was not that much more than the 22p it cost in 1990. If you remember 1980, you will perhaps remember the 12p first class stamp and a decade before that – well, we hadn’t yet gone decimal, so 5d would have paid for your first-class letter which is around 2p. Over 50 years the price has risen from 2p to 76p for the same service.

The illustrations that you receive about investments (which are nothing like as beautiful as those of stamps) try to account for inflation, typically assuming 2.5%. CPI (yet another measure of inflation) is currently 1.8%.

IS YOUR MONEY GOING BACK IN TIME?

So, think on this. If your money in the bank is getting less than 1.8% interest, you are losing money. Your purchasing power is shrinking. Whilst this is great for those that owe money, it is terrible for those living off their savings. Yet I regularly come across people that lack into 3 or 5 years fixed rates of interest that are less than inflation. There are a variety of reasons, partly poor alternative cash deposit rates, but also a deep misunderstanding of how investments work and the dreaded “stock market” which news outlets seem to do their best to instils a sense of terror at the daily movements.

THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT TIME TO INVEST

Many of you worry about the right time to invest – the truth is, that it was 50 years ago, but otherwise it is today. Yes, we do not know what will happen to the UK economy, (we never do) we are facing all sorts of significant problems (again) but these will pass (again) being replaced by the next round of bad news and you will still have to live with the consequences of your decisions.

CHECK YOU ARE NOT DESIGNING TO FAIL

As the tax year is drawing to a close, check that you are not holding too much in cash. Certainly, having access to cash is vital – for planned expenses and the occasional mishap. You should have an emergency fund if your income is likely to stop. However, beyond that, you need to deploy your money to work for you over the coming decades so that it grows faster than inflation.

Do not make the mistakes you made a decade ago, holding onto cash and worrying about the financial crisis, or the decade before about Y2K or the one before that… inflation does not reward anxiety, it eats it for breakfast.

Pick up your phone or send me an email. It’s about time that this was mastered. Let’s get started…

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.

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STAMPS TELL STORIES OF INFLATION2020-02-22T08:48:01+00:00

Pensioners set to run out of cash

Pensioners set to run out of cash

The Social Market Foundation released a report yesterday called “The Golden Years – What freedom and choice will mean for pensioners“. This explores the new pension freedoms that were introduced and considers the experience of other nations where this has already happened to see what we might learn.

It will come as little surprise to anyone, that given the opportunity to take money from a pension, many people struggle to make it last for the remainder of their lifetime, yet this is precisely what underpins the point of a pension.

The report points to experience in Australia and the US where similar pension freedoms have been enjoyed. They note three main types of behaviour and problems.

  1. Cautious Australians – who withdraw less than 1% of their pension fund
  2. Quick spending Australians – one in 4 clear out their pension fund by 75
  3. Typical Americans – who withdraw 8% a year

Overspending and pessimism

I’m not going to pretend that this is an easy problem. As a financial planner I have to make lots of assumptions about the future and I typically advise clients that few of them will be accurate, but they are all reasonable, but just as importantly, they are reviewed.

In simple terms, financial planning attempts to ensure that you don’t run out of money. Great financial planning attempts to ensure that you get and keep the lifestyle you want. There are numerous assumptions that I have to make, not least of which is your life expectancy. Most people under estimate this. Pause for a moment. At the risk of boring you… as I say this to clients… if we take a conservative approach to your life expectancy and assume you live until you are 100, your money has to last longer and thus work harder… if we assume you live to say 80, then it doesn’t need to last as long or work as hard… but if you invite me to your 80th birthday party, I’m the least popular person in the room, because once we’ve had a drink, the cake and a bit of a dance, I turn the lights off. That’s it.

OK, you may have other sources of income (State Pension etc) which would continue, but the point is merely to help you grasp the significance of this assumption… which I find seems to work. Importantly we review this (its an educated guess)…  the day you die isn’t something that we can easily predict, but we can at least build scenarios into your plan.

The Destitute Pensioner

There’e a new film out which I plan to see as it stars the rather wonderful Maggie Smith. Its called “Lady in the Van” and is on general release on 13th November. Its based on a true story. I’m not sure if this was a lifestyle choice or something that was forced upon her, but it makes for a good script. Without proper financial planning advice, many pensioners are going to run out of money, the only way to properly engage with this prospect is to provide a proper financial plan which includes cash-flow forecasts, without it (as many advisers still appear to be) you are up the creek with the proverbial paddle. Here’s the trailer.

 

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

Pensioners set to run out of cash2017-01-27T11:05:54+00:00

Cash Deposits – in defence of Premium Bonds

We all know that interest rates are depressingly low for savers (though good news for borrowers). There has been some coverage of National Savings Premium Bonds which has been rather unfavourable, so I thought that I would provide my thoughts on this.

As with all cash deposits, cash as a long-term investment strategy is not a good idea. Why? simply because of inflation. If interest rates are 2% and inflation is 3% then in real terms you are losing money each year, by losing I mean your £1 has less purchase power. So can we agree that cash holdings are for emergency funds, for people that are very anxious about other forms of investing and for planned major expenses. There are no rules or rights or wrongs, but holding cash is sensible for anyone, as it provides liquidity (rather than having to borrow or sell assets).

Turning to Premium Bonds. These are very basic, you buy each bond for £1. You can hold up to 30,000 so £30,000. You are not guaranteed any interest – indeed there is no interest at all. However, your £1 bond with its unique number is automatically entered into a draw. Each month someone wins £1m. Most don’t win at all, but in general those with the full £30,000 allowance tend to win small prizes, which over the year amount to about £450 (1.50% of £30,000). This money is tax free. So for a 20% taxpayer is equivalent to 1.875% gross and a 40% taxpayer equivalent to 2.50% gross. These rates are best compared against monthly interest paying accounts with 30 day notice. You will find very few accounts paying these sorts of rates. Sure a little bit more in a few instances, but not much. Given that we are talking about £30,000 an extra 0.5% is worth £150 over a year… not a significant sum when you consider that it would be taxable, involve the hassle of opening a new account and removes you from the possibility of winning £1m. I might add, that it is also a bit of fun, opening an envelope to discover your winnings. More fun than opening a bank statement, or indeed one of our portfolio valuations (unless you find particular joy in this exercise). Last month someone won £1m, 5 people won £100,000, 9 won £50,000, 18 won £25,000, 48 won £10,000 and 93 won £5,000. The smallest prize (£25) was paid out to nearly1.8m people in June alone.

The news is that the chances of “winning” (from £25)  will reduce from 24,000:1 to 26,000:1 on August 1st 2013. As a result the current appropriate 1.5% rate is now more like 1.30%. So on £30,000 you might expect £390 of tax free winnings over a year. To a basic rate (20%) taxpayer this is equivalent to 1.625% and a 40% taxpayer equivalent to 2.16%. These are still decent rates. Sure nothing to write home about, but pretty competitive never-the-less.

Yes the rates are poor, but then that’s true of all similar types of accounts. As I have said cash is not a long-term investment strategy, it is a helpful emergency reserve and buffer. Whatever the economic climate, holding some cash would be entirely sensible. The question is really about having a properly thought through investment strategy that enables you to achieve your goals.

So please remember, this is not advice to rush out and buy premium bonds. This is my opinion in response to some negative coverage about them.Unlike the lottery you get your money back, the same money is re-entered into the draw each month. For the record, none of our clients have yet won the £1m jackpot and I would not advise anyone to rely on winning a jackpot as an appropriate form of providing for your future…that’s just wishful thinking.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

Cash Deposits – in defence of Premium Bonds2017-01-06T14:39:47+00:00

Best Cash ISA rates

As ever, this is not advice – you should always check the detail of any account that you consider using. Personally if you have not heard of the bank, I suggest you do not use it, if you are still tempted by the rate make sure you do some proper research… don’t forget the lessons from the recent past…Iceland.. not the frozen food retailer.
One Year Deposit Account
Online: Derbyshire 3.55%
Bank: Santander 4.20%
Building Society: Barnsley 5.00%
Two Year Deposit
Online: The Post Office 3.96% (yes Postman Pat finally delivers!)
Bank: Yorkshire 3.82%
Building Society: National Counties 3.76%
Instant Access Account
Online: Nationwide 3.12%
Bank: Santander 2.50%
Building Society: Nottingham 3.25%
Cash ISA – Fixed Rate
Bank: Halifax 4.40%
Building Society: Barnsley 5.00%
Cash ISA – Variable Rate
Online: AA Internet 3.05%
Bank: Santander 4.00%
Building Society: Newcastle 3.05%
Remember, look below the surface of the account, some Banks are marketing accounts as deposit accounts, when they are not really deposit accounts at all but investment linked products. Remember that deposits up to £85,000 are covered by the FSCS. So there’s some protection if a Bank fails. None of the rates are terribly attractive, and these days I do have sympathy with those that suggest the Banks have turned the tables and are now the robbers. Somewhat harsh, but the sentiment is fairly widespread, hence the picture of “Public Enemies” a Johnny Depp film about American gangster/bank robber John Dillinger from the 1930s.
We are a boutique firm of financial planners. We create financial plans designed to achieve a desired lifestyle. We will craft and implement your plan that will provide you with the greatest chance of accomplishing your unique goals based upon the values that you hold. Financial products are little more than the tools to achieve your required results
Call us today or visit our website for more information and to arrange a meeting
Best Cash ISA rates2017-01-06T14:40:22+00:00
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