NHS & FRONTLINE STAFF – COVID19

TODAY’S BLOG

NHS & FRONTLINE STAFF COVID-19

I came across a good article (26/03/2020) by Moira Warner, a manager at Royal London. I have made some minor alterations, but otherwise this is a piece not written by me. I am therefore thankful to Moira and Royal London and take responsibility for its reproduction, noting that the article has the usual social media sharing functionality anyway.

As the volume of overtime undertaken by frontline NHS staff increases exponentially in response to the Coronavirus crisis, we think an update on the pension issues potentially impacting doctors is timely.

CLINICIANS AND THE TAPERED ANNUAL ALLOWANCE

Changes to the tapered annual allowance announced at the March 2020 Budget and expected to lift all but the highest paid out of the “taper trap” are due to take effect from 6 April 2020. In view of the impact the exceptional amount of additional shift work is having on the threshold income of healthcare professionals right now, it’s worth remembering the interim measures put in place for clinicians who may face an annual allowance tax charge in relation to tax year 19/20.

  • In England & Wales, NHS employers will pay clinicians’ annual allowance charges incurred in 2019/20.  This is achieved by the employer making a contractually binding commitment to “fully compensate” the individual for the impact on their retirement income of a “scheme pays” deduction.
  • In Scotland, NHS staff have been given the option of taking the value of their employer’s pension contribution as an addition to basic pay.
NHS FRONTLINE

AWAITING CONSULTATION

We’ve not yet seen a Government response to its 2019 consultation on increased flexibilities for the NHS pension scheme, although the Chancellor has confirmed that proposals to allow senior clinicians to receive extra pay in lieu of pension contributions will not be taken forward.

It may be that the dust gets brushed off some of these previous proposals, if it turns out that the overhauled tapered annual allowance doesn’t go far enough to protect the most dedicated NHS staff working the longest hours from an annual allowance tax charge.

NHS RETIREES RETURNING TO SERVICE DURING THE OUTBREAK

In a widely-anticipated move, the Government is encouraging retired health and social care professionals to return to the NHS to join the fight against Covid-19.  In order to prevent post-retirement employment having disadvantageous consequences for the pension income of such individuals, emergency amendments to NHS pension regulations have been tabled.

These form part of the Coronoavirus Bill 2019-21 which received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020.  The amendments (which the Government will have the power to implement immediately or retrospectively) apply across the United Kingdom and have 3 effects:

  • The pension income of special class status holders who return to NHS employment won’t be abated (suspended).   Special Class status holders are nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and health visitors in post on or before 6 March 1995 and Mental Health Officers (MHO) with at least 20 years’ MHO experience and in post on/before 6 March 1995.    The wider pension abatement rules remain unchanged.  In particular this means that individuals who retired “in the interest of efficiency of the service” could still have their pension suspended on return to work.
  • The pension income of 1995 Section NHS members who return won’t be suspended if they work more than 16 hours per week in the first calendar month following retirement.
  • Members who have flexibly retired using the NHS “draw down” facility will not be required to maintain a reduction in their pensionable pay of a minimum of 10%

There is no proposal to amend regulations prohibiting pensionable re-employment of 1995 section retirees.  Any clients who have retired and drawn 1995 section benefits will therefore be able to return to the NHS, but will not be able to resume pensionable employment under the NHS pension scheme. Employers will need to enrol returners who are eligible workers into an alternative pension scheme.

Please also note that these measures are temporary. The Government has stated that a six month notice period will be given to staff and employers before they are disapplied.

DEATH BENEFITS

Recent social media chatter suggests there’s concern amongst health care professionals who have made taxation-related decisions to opt out of the NHS Pension Scheme, that their loved ones will no longer be entitled to any scheme benefits in the event of their death. So clients need reassurance that this is not the case.

Although the loved ones of individuals who’ve opted out will no longer be entitled to death in service benefits if the deferred member passes away, they remain entitled to death in deferment benefits. These include a lump sum death benefit and both eligible adult survivor’s and eligible children’s pensions.

Further details on calculation of these benefits can be found in the 1995/2008 and 2015 NHS pension guides for England and Wales – as well as the guides for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you wish to consider additional life assurance cover please get in touch. Given the current context, applications for minimal levels of cover, before requiring medical underwriting would likely be the most prudent approach.

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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NHS & FRONTLINE STAFF – COVID192020-03-29T11:34:32+01:00

Bare Foot Obsession

Bare Foot Obsession

There’s something terribly predictable about the new show to arrive at The Barbican. Obsession, staring Jude Law and Halina Reijn is the very familiar tale of old man, young wife, cuckolded by a visiting younger man. A storyline so old that even Chaucer may have asked “ Whyts newe?”… as it turns out, very little… even a few clumsy lines about being a beneficiary of the life assurance policy (for an unimpressive £50,000).

Once again audiences are treated to a minimalist set, which at The Barbican, feels like an empty expanse – which merely serves to underline the empty script. One can only assume that the bowling lane size TV screen that rises in the final sequence, must have consumed the entire budget. The Director, Ivo Van Hove seems somewhat obsessed with actors running barefoot across the stage and when not bare-footed, bare-chested which is not as radical as I suspect he believes. In truth, no amount of talented acting could really rescue this production, which feels and looks pretentious, carrying the gravitas of a sixth form script.

Coupling and Fracture

Whilst I’m not a relationship counselor, clearly most, if not all, relationships have periods of difficulty. Many, perhaps most, find a pathway through trouble, some do not. There are lots of assumptions made in financial planning, but making assumptions about current relationships over the next thirty years or so, clearly is problematic. That’s why it is important to express your values, not simply your goals for your life. Understanding, or at least, being aware of the differences in attitudes towards money, how its handled and what its for is fairly fundamental for most couples. Yet economic power, or the lack of it can wreck or enhance a relationship, depending on who you really are. A reality displayed regularly within various “media” who pick over the disintegration of any “celebrity” relationship.

So a decent financial plan will touch (carefully) on these issues, a really good one will help a couple to face areas of “non-alignment” and furnish them with thoughtful options. In drama, a bad script can sometimes be salvaged by good actors or direction, but not always. When it comes to financial planning, you write your own script and having an impartial observer can make all the difference to a worthwhile story.

The Car Man

As for “Obsession” it didn’t leave much of an impression. The dramatic tension left almost as soon as it arrived. If you wish to see a much better retelling of this story, without a script, I can thoroughly recommend the ballet, The Car Man by Matthew Bourne… a guy that knows a thing or two about storytelling without using words.

and here is the trailer for the play…

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
Bare Foot Obsession2017-05-03T21:13:49+01:00

Jackie and grief in 1963

Jackie

I doubt there are many people over the age of 40 that do not know about the assassination of the American President… number 35, John F. Kennedy. One of the most iconic Presidents of American history helped somewhat by the charms of his wife Jackie. It is likely that you would have seen more than one movie about JFK, but not that many about his widow Jackie.

The film is of course, centred upon the assassination and its immediate aftermath. Retold, this time, from the given perspective of the then First Lady. Jackie Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman) suddenly became a widow at the age of 34. Her husband 12 years her senior had only been President for 2 years 11 months. Yet their brief “Camelot” was full of incident.

Grief on Display

Grief is of course a daily reality. We all lose people that we love. It is a deeply painful experience. When the effective Head of State is assassinated, an entirely different set of circumstances are presented to the grieving family and friends. There are practicalities of a ceremony to which dignitaries are expected. In this case JFK was killed on Friday and buried on Monday. This is set against the backdrop of anxious security forces on high-alert, not yet knowing the who, what, how many or why JFK was assassinated. A hasty usurping of position and removal from a home, albeit a temporary one. How to “behave” and conduct oneself? It is perhaps reminiscent of the thoughts that must have concerned the Royal Household when Princess Diana died nearly 20 years ago, albeit in very different circumstances, but the same dilemma – how to display grief.

1963 annus horribilis

The film touches on the wider context. Only 15 weeks earlier, the couple had lost their third child Patrick, just 2 days after her was born to infant respiratory distress syndrome. On Friday 22 November 1963 JFK left a wife and two small children, Caroline 5 and John 2. Both children had their birthdays that later that month, John Junior’s was the day of the funeral. Tough for any “normal” family to come to terms with. Certainly Jackie would be entitled to call 1963 her “annus horribilis”.

The truth about life assurance

Life assurance does not provide comfort. The financial services industry has always struggled to market life assurance and persuade people of its merits. It is a product that is only payable when a horrible event happens. What it does provide is the financial resource to continue, to go on, as gradually those left behind rebuild their lives. I have witnessed the benefits of life assurance and the strife caused by not having enough. I cannot overstate how important it is. The question of how much cover is really required will vary from person to person and how well resourced you are. It will also depend on how you have arranged your Will and your estate.

It is unlikely that your loved ones will be under the degree of pressure that Jackie faced, within the eye of the world’s media. However, you can plan to make any such event considerably easier than it might otherwise be. It is time to ensure that your own house is in order.

Here is the trailer for the film, for which Natalie Portman has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress in a leading role.

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

Jackie and grief in 19632017-02-21T11:06:58+00:00

Loss and Manchester by the Sea

Loss

Coming to terms with loss is perhaps one of the more significant aspects of the human condition. As a financial planner, loss is normally thought of in terms of the value of investments falling and how much money is ‘lost’. However, financial planning isn’t really just about money, its about planning your life (as far as one can) and then building financial architecture to deliver the plan.

A financial planner will also reflect on your loss and the impact that this would have on your financial plan and those that you leave behind. A really good financial planner will also help you think beyond your own family. How would your children be cared for if both parents are no longer alive? What are the practical implications for those appointed as Guardians or Trustees?

A Deep, Dark Sea of Despair

Manchester by the Sea is a film that has been short-listed (amidst some controversy) for a lot of awards .  Its well acted, but its grim. Little good happens and worse still, the main character (Lee Chandler played by Casey Affleck) doesn’t seem to find any real sense of resolution. The traumas experienced are raw and undeniably bleak, yet there is no sense, or perhaps, I had no sense that the lead character was ever going to be able to process what happened with any degree of resolution. Admittedly he faces horrendous set-backs (understatement) which would always be very difficult to overcome, they are life-changing.

I couldn’t do without…

It is still a surprise to me that so few people have a Will – something that every adult really needs. Most do not have adequate levels of financial protection in place. You are your biggest asset, yet many people are more likely to have insurance on their drains, pets, smartphone or washing machine than on their own life, or a lifetime of income… the very thing that pays for the drains, pets, smartphone and washing machine.

The Predictability of Loss

We all know that we will experience loss again in our lives, it is a regular feature and one for which we can prepare to some extent. So why not ensure that if you have agreed to be a Guardian or Trustee, that you know what to expect. Similarly have you discussed with your appointed Guardians or Trustees some of the key concerns you might have? The how, why, what and when of your Will and the implications for how your family are cared for.

It is my hope that you never need to claim on your financial protection. Doing so implies that personal tragedy has occurred.  There is the rather strange dynamic where I hope you never need what we arrange. If it is needed, then at least the comfort is that you had prepared as well as you could for those that are truly important to you.

So if you are now suitably prompted to rethink your value, please get in touch. If you’d like to know what to avoid with some better communication, here’s the trailer for Manchester by the Sea.

 

 

 

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

Loss and Manchester by the Sea2017-01-27T11:10:57+00:00

Start with the end in mind

Start with the end in mind

I think it was Stephen Covey that coined the phrase “start with the end in mind”,  I’m sure others thought of it before, but he certainly used it successfully. When it comes to financial planning,  it is where most good financial planners begin.. but being British, it’s arguably one of our last taboos… how we think of death.

For many, the last year (2016) was full of high profile celebrity deaths. Hardly any of us actually knew these people, but we probably saw some of their work with varying degrees of impact.

At the end of the year Carrie Fisher died rather unexpectedly, followed 24 hours later by her grieving mother Debbie Reynolds. It was, and is, a poignant moment. One of the questions that I didn’t expect to ask myself was “what happened to the estate?” (as of now, I don’t know). If the estate was set up like most, the children are normally the beneficiaries… so I wondered what happened to Carrie’s estate which was then presumably a recipient of her mother’s – at least in part. An interesting case for the lawyers and an eager death duty office.

Lessons Learned from 2016?

Despite all the outpouring on social media and around dining tables about the sadness at the loss of X, Y or Z, there was no evidence that anyone prepared their own ending any more thoughtfully. There was no sudden demand for Wills or life assurance, or end of life plans.

According to ABI data, the UK is the fourth largest market for insurance. In 2015 129,000 families or individuals received a payment from protection products. Now I’m guessing that those that have some cover, probably have more than one policy. So there may be some doubling up with the data, but in any event the ONS reported 529,655 deaths for England and Wales in 2015 (up 5.6% on 2014 and the largest increase since 1968). So whilst clearly not everyone dies with dependents or liabilities, a significant number had no cover at all.

Most people do not have enough cover

Despite the warnings all around, that death eventually comes to us all, some much sooner than expected, most of us do not really give it too much thought. Its one of the easiest things to put off. Sadly I have seen the results of unexpected and early deaths and the impacts on families and whilst money would never replace a person, it would certainly have provided a very different future for the family left behind.

Don’t ignore the signs. Start with the end in mind.

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

Start with the end in mind2017-01-12T18:33:13+00:00
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