Flat pack fever

Daniel Liddicott
March 2023  •  4 min read

Flat pack fever

Flat pack furniture – a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most people, and often for very good reason – the poorly labelled pieces; the multitude of supposedly vital fixtures and fittings; the cryptic instructions seemingly written with the sole purpose to confuse and annoy.

I am delighted to say that my wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of March! This is, and has been, an extremely exciting and often anxiety-inducing time. I am sure that I am describing a period of time that is familiar to many of you. In amongst all of the preparations, baby book reading and antenatal classes, there is the inevitable task of assembling our unborn bundle of joy’s nursery furniture. Unless, of course, you wisely paid for the outsourcing of said assembly process – alas, we did not.

So began an entire Sunday of unpacking boxes, organising various pieces, deciphering assembly instructions and good old elbow grease – not to mention dusting off our toolbox that is used so sparingly.  It took a great deal of patience, persistence and a coffee or three – but my wife and I ended the day proud that we had persevered, feeling that little bit more prepared for our baby’s arrival.

Financial planning requires persistence and perseverance.  It requires all of those vital ‘fixtures and fittings’ – your savings, investments and pensions. Whilst sticking to the plan can feel painful at times, particularly through the current cost-of-living crisis and the adverse market conditions that we have seen over the past 12 months; enduring through the difficult moments will help you to achieve what you set out to do at the beginning.

I would be lying if I told you that the mental and physical strain of piecing together those jigsaw puzzle-esque pieces of furniture didn’t give me pause, but the sense of achievement from staying the course and completing the task at hand gave me a great sense of achievement at the end of the day. The increased preparedness that I felt for our baby’s arrival after having set up the nursery was profound – and a welcome, cathartic surprise.

If you feel the need to reach out during these testing times, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. We are here for you when you need us, to guide you and be the reassuring voice that encourages you to stick to your well-made plans.

And speaking of testing times, I am due to be extremely busy in both my personal and professional life in the very near future – tax year end baby on the way!

Flat pack fever2023-12-01T12:12:35+00:00

Taxing your savings

Dominic Thomas
Feb 2023  •  10 min read

Prize – Back to winning ways? Or simply more tax on your savings?

Despite the cold weather and general sense of grey, there are some silver linings. On 24th January 2023 NS&I increased the interest rates on various accounts.

If you are one of the 870,000 or so people who hold NS&I’s Direct Saver, Income Bonds or Direct Cash ISA, you will now get a little more interest. The interest rate paid on Direct Saver and Income Bonds will increase from 2.30% to 2.60%, whilst the interest rate on Direct ISA will increase from 1.75% tax-free to 2.15% tax-free.

Those of you who like Premium Bonds and remain optimistic of jackpot winnings (less likely than being struck by lightning), the prize fund rate will also increase from 3.00% to 3.15%, effective from the February 2023 prize draw. This follows the rate increasing from 2.20% to 3.00% on New Year’s Day.

NS&I has also increased the interest rate that it pays on its Junior Cash ISA from 2.70% tax-free to 3.40% tax-free, meaning that 80,000 under 18s will benefit from extra interest on their savings, though why anyone would want to hold cash for 18 years is beyond me …

Media spin means that we can confidently say that “today’s changes mean that Income Bonds are now paying their highest rate of interest since 2008” which is of course since the infamous credit crunch.  The prize fund on premium bonds is also at its highest level since the great crunch.

The odds of each £1 Bond winning any prize will remain fixed at 24,000 to 1, with the changes meaning that the number of prizes worth £50 to £100,000 will increase from next month’s draw (February 2023). In short, if you have at least £24,000 in Premium Bonds you would be unlucky not to win at least £25 (the smallest but most common prize, paid out on over 2.6m Premium Bonds).

There are an estimated 119 billion premium bonds in issuance. The £1m jackpot is paid out on two bonds every month. So there is roughly a 1 in 59 billion chance of winning the jackpot in any month. It will not surprise you that I don’t believe that reliance on such odds is a good strategy for your future, but I certainly would acknowledge that it’s a little bit of fun.

Current and new Premium Bonds prize fund rate and odds:

Current prize fund rate Current odds New prize fund rate (from February 2023) Odds from February 2023 (no change)
3.00% tax-free 24,000 to 1 3.15% tax-free 24,000 to 1

Number and value of Premium Bonds prizes:

Value of prizes in January 2023 Number of prizes in January 2023 Value of prizes in February 2023 (estimated) Number of prizes in February 2023 (estimated)
£1,000,000 2 £1,000,000 2
£100,000 56 £100,000 59
£50,000 111 £50,000 117
£25,000 224 £25,000 236
£10,000 559 £10,000 590
£5,000 1,116 £5,000 1,177
£1,000 11,968 £1,000 12,573
£500 35,904 £500 37,719
£100 1,159,432 £100 1,280,509
£50 1,159,432 £50 1,280,509
£25 2,617,902 £25 2,376,161
Total

£299,202,350

Total

4,986,706

Total

£314,347,875

Total

4,989,652

Variable rate savings products:

Product Previous interest rate Interest rate from today (24 January 2023)
Direct Saver 2.30% gross/AER 2.60% gross/AER
Income Bonds 2.30% gross/2.32% AER 2.60% gross/2.63% AER
Direct ISA 1.75% tax-free/AER 2.15% tax-free/AER
Junior ISA 2.70% tax-free/AER 3.40% tax-free/AER

Can you get better rates elsewhere? Of course you can! Remember that non-taxpayers and basic rate taxpayers have the personal savings allowance in 2022/23 of £1,000 of tax-free interest. At an interest rate of say 3%, you would need £33,333 on deposit before tax is triggered. Higher rate taxpayers only have £500 of the allowance, so at an interest rate of 3%, you would only need £16,660 on deposit before tax is triggered.  A year ago, you would have been hard pressed to be taxed on £100,000 of savings when interest rates were under 1%.

Taxing your savings2023-12-01T12:12:38+00:00

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

HOW MUCH FOR A HAPPY RETIREMENT?2023-12-01T12:13:06+00:00

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS

TODAY’S BLOG

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS

Following on from my piece about cash management services I mentioned the problem of a growing number of scams. Cash savers looking for better rates of interest are regularly duped into believing that rates of 4% or more are currently achieved for cash. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE for deposit accounts UK Banks or Building Societies when the Bank of England rate is 0.1%. Of course a few years ago such rates were common, but not since the credit crunch. So be warned that something that says it is the equivalent of cash when it is nothing of the sort. Genuine interest rates will not be much better than the Bank of England rate – perhaps 2% more, but very little else.

Accounts offering “interest” of more than this are not genuine cash. They could be legitimate, but not cash. The rise of peer-to-peer lending is often a touted as an alternative to a regular bank. There might be some good ones (they may be) but on the whole this is a new business taking your deposit and lending it out to other businesses or individuals at a higher rate than they pay back to you. No different from a traditional Bank, except that a traditional Bank has been doing this for years and has learned the hard way that lending needs to be done carefully… and whilst I am no fan of Banks, just think about who might borrow from such a lender… someone that cannot, for whatever reason borrow from a high street bank. Hey presto, higher risk of default.

MINI BOND SCAM

Mini Bonds are yet another layer of this, except they dont have to relend the money to legitimate borrowers (people trying to fund their business or enterprise where a mainstream bank won’t play ball). They can lend the money to anyone, sadly often to the Directors of the company running the mini-Bond. Thousands of savers have got into problems with these mini-bonds. Tempted by higher rates of “interest” which was then passed on to some pretty despicable humans. These were banned in January, but this month made permanent after mini-bond firm London Capital & Finance collapsed with £237m of savers’ money.

WHITE CAT

WHAT IS A MINI BOND?

There is no legal definition of what a mini-bond is in the UK. Most companies that have offered them, including London Capital & Finance, borrow money from ordinary savers, promising them a fixed return well above the rate available on most standard saving products. The mini-bond firm is then largely free to do what it wants with the money. Many have lent investors’ cash to third party companies (which sometimes has the same directors), bought other risky investments such as race horses or wine, or funded property construction. A number of companies that raised money in this way have collapsed with millions of pounds of savers’ money unaccounted for. The FCA claims that mini-bonds are not within its remit, while criminal investigations for fraud are rare and prosecutions even rarer. As a result, investors generally have no protection if things go wrong, and fraudsters can operate with little fear that they will be punished.

ONLINE ACCOUNTABILITY

One of the many problems with google and facebook is that they carry advertising and seem unwilling or unable to vet adverts for authenticity, though I find this very hard to believe as whenever I have attempted to run even the tiniest marketing initiative on Facebook, my “advert” has to get “approved” before it can run. So… no I don’t believe that more cannot be done. Anyway, savers who are not as sophisticated as the scammers invariably google interest rates and are faced with adverts offering higher rates… what’s not to like? Well just the fact that risk isn’t really explained and its all framed to look, smell, sound and taste like any other Bank. You need to know the real risks that you are taking. A mini-bond is a great way to part with your cash on a permanent basis, something that the stock market does not do until Armageddon (as you will not get to a £zero value if you have invested in an index unless everything is worth nothing – and I can only imagine one scenario where that could occur… the sort of scenario where a Blofeld Bond-like villain (hence the cat picture…) is holding the world to ransom, or the actual obliteration of everything we know. If this ever happens, you won’t be worried about your ISA or pension.

In the meantime, please beware of scams, watch out for the villains, they are rarely as easy to spot as Mr Blofeld. This reminds me of an element of my work which is to act as a type of bouncer to your finances. Some have asked me about my photo, suggesting I look a little “mean” (perhaps they meant grumpy). It is deliberate – anyone that has engaged with me knows that I am having a little joke. As a bouncer, or gate-keeper part of my role is to ward off those trying to part you from your money. Its meant to be a little amusing, (ok not hilarious) whilst holding a very valid truth – that I am on your team as a defence against the rubbish that inevitably comes in your direction, its not if, but when…

As for the calibre of the villains, well the fictional ones are best left to the likes of 007, those that are actual criminals, well… I have to leave them to the authorities whilst doing what I can to prevent them coming anywhere near you.

As for Mr Bond, from the perspective of 2020 there are many aspects of 007 that hang heavily today. A friend of mine recently mentioned that he had rewatched the entire Bond collection with his children, he reappraised his favourite Bond and saw the films in a different light. When it comes to cash accounts, please appraise with care – make sure you know your Bonds from your Mini-Bonds. Here’s a trailer for 007 in “You Only Live Twice” (1967) who, let’s face it, has probably lived more than twice already.

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

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

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

AVOID MINI BOND SCAMS2023-12-01T12:13:16+00:00

Another Concerning Survey

Another Concerning Survey

If you have followed me for any reasonable time, you will have gathered that I am fairly suspicious about surveys and opinion polls, primarily due to the very small sample sizes and the eagerness to extrapolate data from, well, frankly not very much.

That said, yet another survey has revealed more of the problems that, if correct, are concerning for the country. Paymentsense (a card payment service) clearly have an insight into how people spend money. They surveyed 1000 people last month (July 2017) of all ages, whether this is a truly representative sample… well, it won’t be. However, the findings are certainly of concern.

30% of UK Have No Savings

Firstly 30% have no savings at all for a “rainy day”. Of those that had savings 21% used them for a holiday and only 17% put savings towards their retirement. Here is where I also have an issue with the line of questioning (which is unclear from what I have seen) but this could have been interpreted as using cash deposits to add to a pension (into which they may already be saving). Some people may of course be already retired and have no purpose in “saving for retirement”. In any event, a pension would be what springs to mind when asked about saving for retirement, but of course there are a huge number of ways to invest into something which will ultimately provide an income and/or capital.

Nothing in reserve?

However, the headline grabbing figure is really the extrapolation of the data. This leads to the conclusion that some 45.5m people have less than one month’s salary set aside in “savings”. The population is now an estimated 65.6m, which obviously includes children, pensioners and anyone simply unable to work and “earn” income. The current “unemployment” rate is 4.4% (for 16-64 year-olds). In short, a significant economic blip would be likely to cause significant hardship for a lot of people if they lost their income for whatever reason.

Signs of uncertainty shown in house sales

As Government continue with plans to leave the EU and a growing awareness of the likely implications for UK jobs, it would appear logical to be concerned. Hence the property market isn’t exactly booming, but property prices do continue to rise (4.9% over 12 months to June 2017) according to the Land Registry, however the number of sales continues to fall from 98,152 in August 2016 to 69,545 in April 2017. As a matter of note, the lowest number of house sales was in 32,752 in January 2009. The highest was June 2006 with 153,465 (for all the UK). If it is of interest, over the last 20 years, the average property in the UK was £65,092 in August 1997 and now stands at £223,257 (June 2017).

If you like short animated films, then Borrowed Time is a delightful one and a powerful message. Here is the trailer (almost as long as the film).

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

Another Concerning Survey2023-12-01T12:18:26+00:00

Hard Truths

Hard truths

As Wimbledon begins, some hard truths will be faced. Some players will not be “on their game”; some will peak too early and some will enjoy good luck whilst others might curse technology, training, lack of sleep or why on earth they did or didn’t do something that may have made all the difference. We will all have our favourites, but in the end only one person can win the singles championship. In just a couple of weeks all the questions, hopes and dreams for Wimbledon 2017 will be consigned to history.

In a similar vein, June was interesting and is now over. An election, a minority Government, a deal with the DUP, various horrendous disasters and circling political vultures all attempting to appeal to the crowds, some more obviously than others. Much of this we cannot control, despite what some might suggest within social media.

A new savings low

The FT reported the rather grim news that Britons are saving less of their disposable incomes that at any time since 1963 when such records began. An alarming 1.7% of income was left unspent in the first quarter of 2017, significantly below the long-term average of 9.2%. Reports also continue to make the argument that around 1 in 6 people use a credit card to get through the month. In tennis terms – there’s not enough left in the locker.

Squeezed rises

Whatever your view of austerity, clearly if income falls behind the rate of inflation, you effectively have a pay cut. This is something that the State Pension triple lock is designed to prevent (after many years when the State Pension arguably fell in real terms). It is estimated that the triple lock costs around £6bn. It would certainly appear that the days of austerity are coming to an end and that there is growing support for the end to the cap on Public Sector salaries which have been held back since 2010 (when Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles and Serena Williams won the women’s singles at Wimbledon).

Self-defeating

However, unless people begin to save for their own futures, arguments about austerity are going to seem like the proverbial storm in a teacup.  The undeniable truth is that we all need to budget and live within our means. Most don’t appear to do this. No Government in recent history has achieved it either. If you cannot control what you earn, you can only control what you spend, which means accounting for how your money is spent. The truth is that hardly anyone likes to budget and probably dislikes drawing one up a little more. Our clients are no exception – and most don’t really “need to budget” but of course it is a discipline that we advise and encourage to ensure that your hard-earned income sticks to you.

However, it is vital to understand where your money goes. The chequebook (remember those?) does not lie. It is very easy to spend and keep spending in a society that is expert in parting you from your hard-earned cash.

As with politics, in tennis with patience, generally your opponent will tend to beat themselves. Sure, you may need to play well, but invariably the loser is the one that makes the most and more significant mistakes or errors. The most basic of these to make in financial planning is failing to budget, ignore it at your peril. In tennis terms, its the equivalent of not being able to serve.

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

Hard Truths2023-12-01T12:18:29+00:00

Help to Buy ISA… well, not that much help..

Help to Buy ISA…well not that much help

You may have heard of the Help to Buy ISAs. When this was announced by the then master of goalpost manoeuvers, Mr George Osborne, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was an innovative scheme to help savers get a bigger deposit for a house purchase. The Government will add 25% to whatever you save…. Well maybe not.. as ever, rarely do Governments make life easy, indeed one is often left to wonder if Government agenda is not precisely the opposite. So, let’s spell out a few of the issues. For the sake of simplicity, I will call the right to buy ISA “the plan” which will not help my search engine optimization, but will hopefully read a little better.

Maximum and Minimum

You can only save £200 a month into “the plan” with an initial deposit of £1000.The maximum that can be in the plan (from you is £12,000 – the minimum is £1,600). So the maximum £12,000 would get £3,000 (25%) from the Government, yes its better than nothing, but actually not that much help for a deposit. You have to be 16 or over for an account.

So then there is that mortgage…

Whilst it is possible to get a mortgage with a very small deposit (5%) the prevailing requirement is generally 15%-25% deposit. Of course this means being able to justify and afford the mortgage for the balance. So if the plan is 5% of the purchase price, that suggests a property valued at £300,000 and mortgage of £285,000… which in turn probably means an income of over £80,000. We don’t arrange mortgages, but generally borrowers can borrow up to about 3.5x their income. If you have found a property for £100,000 then of course this will be more useful, but one can only assume that the property is at least 100 miles from London.

The Hard Graft of Saving

As the plan is really a monthly saving scheme, that’s a total of 55 months or 4 and a half years of solid saving…. In the meantime, property prices are probably rising, at least in-line with inflation. Oh… just remind me how long is the typical Government lifetime? How time flies.. and policies change.

The Housing Problem

Another clause being that Government hand out only applies if the purchase price is up to £250,000 or £450,000 in London…. In which case for Londoners, clearly this would be just over a 3% deposit, so you will need other resources. The property must be in the UK (do not ask me what that would mean should either Scotland or Wales leave the UK). Naturally the plan cannot be used to purchase a second property, so if Mum and Dad have put your name of the deeds somewhere else… well, it’s not for you.

Meanwhile, as the Help to Buy ISA is really a Cash ISA, the savings earn interest, which today is about nothing. OK you can get some better deals, but not much better.

Snakes and Property Ladders

The Plan cannot be used for anything other than a deposit, not stamp duty, fees etc. It cannot form part of the deposit provided at Exchange of Contracts either…. which is quite daft! It must also be closed before you buy, which means obtaining a statement from the Bank to confirm that the account is closed (which may be easy in theory but hard in the stressful throws of purchasing a first home.. whilst the pressures mount from those higher in the chain.. It’s actually the conveyancing solicitor that claims the Government hand out for you between the Exchange and Completion… (I’m guessing a fee would apply to claim it)… what could possibly go wrong? (property falling through perhaps?).

Still, there’s no place like home….

So is it worth it? Launched nearly a year ago (December 2015) over 22,000 people have used the proceeds to buy a property, which presumably means that they had at the very most 10 months of £200 and £1000 initial deposit (£2000 in all) so a £500 help to buy. OK, ok… better than nothing, but is this really solving the housing crisis or simply providing a bit more cash to meet the inflated property prices? I think you can probably guess what I think.

However, this is money for nothing (well, there are some strings). In practice, perhaps try to use the account, fill it up to the maximum then forget about it in the hope that the offer remains valid for years to come. It does form part of your annual ISA allowance, but in practice only £2400 for most people, meaning that there is still a lot of ISA allowance left. If you move abroad or never end up buying a home, then you can easily get your money back, it simply will not be worth much more than you put in, due to poor rates of interest. Much like the Wizard of Oz, there are no magical solutions to resolve the housing crisis but if you make the effort and reflect on your own resourcefulness, its amazing what can be achieved… and you will have a bit more cash to play around with.

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

Help to Buy ISA… well, not that much help..2023-12-01T12:19:09+00:00

What is the tax free Savings Income band?

What is the tax free savings income band?

You may have heard about the new tax free savings income band – in that the first £5,000 of interest is tax free from April 2015. Well it is and it isn’t… sadly it is another example of something that is true, but not true for many…. or another example of smoke and mirrors exemplified in Budget announcements.

With effect from 6th April 2015 the 10% starting rate of tax for savings income was replaced by a new 0% rate and the band increased from £2,880 to £5,000. This means that, in 2015/16, those with a total income of less than £15,600 (£10,600 personal allowance for 2015/16 plus the new 0% starting rate band) will pay no tax on their savings (the total income figure is £15,660 for those born before 6th April 1938).

Here is the smoke and mirror bit…

Non-savings income (i.e. earned income and pension income) is always taxed before savings income so the new tax -free £5,000 starting rate band can only apply to those earning less than the total of their personal allowance and the 0% starting rate band. In short, if you have taxable income under £15,000 from all sources, then you gain this allowance, but not if you have earned income – which could come from a pension.

Reclaiming Forms

The rules around completion of form R85 are changing from 6th April so that any saver who is unlikely to be liable to tax on any of their savings income (until now it has been total income) in the tax year can complete an R85 (one form for each bank/building society) and register to receive interest without tax deducted – even if they pay tax on other (non-savings) income. Click here to see the R85 forms.

Where tax is likely to be due on some savings income (for example, earned income is £12,000 and savings income is £4,000 meaning that £400 of savings income is taxable) a form R85 can’t be completed. The overpaid tax (i.e. up to the overall £15,600 threshold) will have to be claimed back from HMRC using form R40 or under self-assessment. Click here for an R40 form.

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

What is the tax free Savings Income band?2023-12-01T12:20:11+00:00

Barclays Buy ING

Barclays Buy ING

Barclays Bank have agreed to buy ING Direct UK. This is a good result for Barclays but not a terribly good one for savers. ING often have very competitive savings rates and the acquisition by Barclays will increase market share but do little for a competitive market. You may have seen the ING adverts which are a little odd, but attempt to create the sense of a no nonsense bank.

A Great Deal for Barclays

ING UK was launched in 2003 and has over 1.5m customers. It is entirely owned by the ING Group who had over €1.279bn of assets at the end of 2011. The deal will see £10.9bn in customer deposits pass over to Barclays and around £5.6bn of mortgage borrowing. ING have a high quality mortgage book, with 50% loan-to-value, which is very strong for any Bank. It is estimated that the deal, assuming approved, will take place in Q2 of 2013. ING Direct expect that 750 of their staff will transfer to Barclays. Whilst a relative newcomer to the UK, the roots of ING can be traced back to 1845 with the merger of Levensverzekering Bank and De Nederlandenvan 1845. ING was formed in 1991.

Barclays Buy ING2023-12-01T12:22:58+00:00
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