Brexit Begins…

Prime Minister Theresa May has formally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty marking the start of two years of negotiations.

Please click here for our summary of the likely next steps both in the UK and in Europe and  what the impact may be on the UK economy.

Financial Protection – Peace of Mind

How will your family manage if you are seriously ill, can’t work, or should you pass away unexpectedly?

Providing protection for your family should be the number one financial priority for all of us, yet it is so often overlooked.  Just pause for a minute, and ask yourself how your family would cope with their finances if you or your partner:-

• Couldn’t work for an extended period?

• Were to pass away?

The Budget, Tax Year End & Easter

It is unusual for us to report that the Chancellor has not meddled further with savings and pensions in his Spring Budget held on the 8 March. We have become accustomed to regular change but there was very little to report this time round. We can probably expect Phillip Hammond to do his meddling in the Autumn Budget in November.

Tax Year End Reminder

The end of the tax year is approaching fast, remember 5 April is the last day of this current tax year.

Below are some of the points you should consider and act on if necessary, by 5 April:

The key findings of the Spring Budget 2017 summarised here…

So the last Spring Budget was delivered to Parliament yesterday. Before you get too excited, though, no, that wasn’t the last Budget ever. It will just occur in the autumn from now on…

Prior to the speech, it was difficult to make any clear predictions. The Chancellor had conceded, in his Autumn Statement, that filling the ‘black hole’ of the nation’s finances would be a major challenge and that forecasting over the next five years was going to be even more difficult than normal. The ongoing discussions about Brexit and Article 50 have only added to that uncertainty.

March Market Commentary

Introduction

Last month was the month when it was almost impossible to keep up with the stories coming out of the White House.  Normally as I make notes for this commentary through the month I end up – not surprisingly – with far more notes about the UK than anywhere else.  That was BT – Before Trump.  Now there are so many stories coming from the US – some real and some fitting the new description of ‘fake news’ – that it’s hard to find the important stories among the background noise.

What’s undeniable is that the economic initiatives from the new President and his team have been warmly welcomed on Wall Street.  As we’ll see below, the Dow Jones index enjoyed a successful month – as did the vast majority of the markets we cover in this commentary. 

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

Introduction

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.