ISA vs Pension

Although never the starting point for investment choice, the tax wrapper is nevertheless an important part in determining the overall investment return. The decision between choosing an ISA or a pension will often come down to how and when an individual is likely to want to access the investment.  The introduction of pensions flexibility in…

Budget Statement 2017 Preview

As you may be aware, the Chancellor is going to be delivering his last spring budget on the 8th March 2017.  In future the main budget will be announced each November, with further announcements in the spring just being updated financial statements.

This change to having the main budget in November will allow the Chancellor to announce changes which will take effect from the next financial year that will allow individuals some 4 months lead time before new rules may come into force.

We have produced a pre-budget summary covering the areas we believe the Chancellor is considering making changes to.  You can download our Pre-Budget 2017 summary by clicking here 

Mothers missing out on millions

Thousands of mothers are missing out on state pension rights when they don’t have to because of the changes to the Child Benefit system for higher earning families.

In January 2013, the Government introduced something called a ‘High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge’. Under this scheme, where one or both parents in a family receiving Child Benefit have an income over £50,000 per year, a tax charge is incurred.

The tax charge is levied at a rate of 1% of the Child Benefit in payment for each £100 of annual income over £50,000.

For someone with an income of £50,200, the charge would therefore be 2% of their Child Benefit, whilst for someone with an income of £60,000 or more, the tax charge would be equal to 100% of the rate of Child Benefit in payment. The tax charge cannot exceed the total amount of Child Benefit being paid.

Nearly half a million child benefit recipients (overwhelmingly mothers, but can be father’s too) have ‘opted out’ of receiving child benefit. Rather than continue to receive child benefit and incur a tax charge on the higher earner, these mothers have simply opted out and no longer receive child benefit.

February Market Commentary


Despite the claims of Brexit and the debate on triggering Article 50, it is impossible to start this commentary anywhere other than in Washington where, on January 20th, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.

It is remarkably difficult to find a news outlet that has a neutral view of ‘the Donald:’ however, we’ll do our best in this commentary to stick to the facts and let you form your own opinions…

The financial year-end shouldn’t be taxing

With the Spring Budget on the 8th March and the end of the tax year on the 5th April, you may wish to consider a few financial planning steps sooner rather than later as the financial year-end shouldn’t be taxing.

The numbers game

New Year is traditionally a time of reflection and the media often plays the numbers game which features an abundance of facts and figures to sum up the previous year.

Football is often associated with statistics and most match commentators include a few in every commentary. Similarly, in the world of pensions, there are a few key numbers that may strike a chord with you. So with the closure of the English Premier League’s transfer window approaching, let’s see if some of its numbers correlate with pension changes:

January Market Commentary


At the start of 2016, Brexit was seen as unlikely and President Trump was seen as impossible. David Cameron was busy negotiating a deal with his European counterparts which would surely secure a comfortable majority for the ‘Remain’ camp – and while Donald Trump might manage a few wins in the primaries, he’d eventually give way to one of the mainstream Republican candidates, who would in turn be beaten by Hillary Clinton.

We all know what happened and with elections due this year in Holland, France and Germany 2017 could be equally dramatic. But let’s first look back at December, and also cast an eye over the whole of 2016. It was a year when the pound fell by 15% against the dollar, when the FTSE ended at a record high and the Dow Jones index closed within touching distance of 20,000 – and when the price of crude oil nearly doubled from the low it reached in January.

Premium bonds hit 60 this year, but are they old-fashioned?

Premium bonds hit 60 this year. On the 1st November 1956 the first ever premium bond was sold, with £5 million worth of premium bonds sold on the first day alone. Now there are 21 million people holding more than £63 billion in premium bonds which proves it is still a popular form of investment….

Our Christmas opening times

Please note that our offices will be closed for Christmas from 12.30 pm on Friday 23 December 2016 and will re-open on Tuesday 3 January 2017. In the meantime if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. From all of us at Cullen Wealth, we wish you a very merry Christmas…

Seasons Greetings from all at Cullen Wealth

Cullen Wealth have sent a thank you to their clients for their continued support during the last 12 months.

As in previous years, they are making a donation to Francis House, Children’s Hospice, instead of sending individual Christmas cards.