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A Guide to Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs)

What do your retirement plans look like? Saving for your retirement is one of the longest and biggest financial commitments you will make. Imagine you are retiring today. Have you thought about how you are going to financially support yourself (and potentially your family too) with your current pension savings? The new pension freedoms provide an incentive to look again at your retirement savings.

A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) could be right for you if you are looking for a wider choice of investment options and have sufficient knowledge and experience of investing to make your own investment decisions.

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Investing with a conscience placing money in companies that bring positive change

Issues such as climate change and sustainability have become increasingly hot topics globally and often the subject of conversation. As a result, Environmental, Social and Governance-linked (ESG) investment strategies continue to dominate financial headlines.

These strategies, which include impact investing, are not new, but momentum is growing as shareholders demand greater action and consumers hold businesses to a higher standard. Increasingly, a significant number of UK investors expect their investments to align with their personal beliefs and continue to express interest in sustainable investing.

Potentially Higher Returns Findings from new research identified that UK millennials are less likely to compromise their personal beliefs in order to benefit from potentially higher returns compared to their global counterparts[1].

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IS YOUR WEALTH PROTECTED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS? Six tips for wealth preservation and transfer planning

Establishing a wealth preservation strategy is a crucial part of any complete financial plan. You have worked hard to achieve your success and you want to be sure you protect it for future generations. We can help you develop a long-term plan to preserve that wealth – please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Whether you have earned your wealth, inherited it or made shrewd investments, you will want to ensure that as little of it as possible ends up in the hands of HM Revenue & Customs.

With careful planning and professional financial advice, it is possible to take preventative action to either reduce or mitigate a person’s beneficiaries’ Inheritance Tax bill – or mitigate it altogether. These are some of the main areas to consider.

1. Make a Will A vital element of effective estate preservation is to make a Will. Making a Will ensures an individual’s assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes. This is particularly important if the person has a spouse or registered civil partner. Even though there is no Inheritance Tax payable between both parties, there could be tax payable if one person dies intestate without a Will.

Without a Will in place, an estate falls under the laws of intestacy – and this means the estate may not be divided up in the way the deceased person wanted it to be.

2. Make allowable gifts A person can give cash or gifts worth up to £3,000 in total each tax year, and these will be exempt from Inheritance Tax when they die. They can carry forward any unused part of the £3,000 exemption to the following year, but they must use it or it will be lost. Parents can give cash or gifts worth up to £5,000 when a child gets married, grandparents up to £2,500, and anyone else up to £1,000. Small gifts of up to £250 a year can also be made to as many people as an individual likes.

3. Give away assets Parents are increasingly providing children with funds to help them buy their own home. This can be done through a gift, and provided the parents survive for seven years after making it, the money automatically moves outside of their estate for Inheritance Tax calculations, irrespective of size.

4. Make use of Trusts Assets can be put in an appropriate Trust, thereby no longer forming part of the estate. There are many types of Trust available and they can be set up simply at little or no charge. They usually involve parents (settlors) investing a sum of money into a Trust.

The Trust has to be set up with trustees – a suggested minimum of two – whose role is to ensure that on the death of the settlors, the investment is paid out according to the settlors’ wishes. In most cases, this will be to children or grandchildren.

The most widely used Trust is a Discretionary Trust, which can be set up in a way that the settlors (parents) still have access to income or parts of the capital. It can seem daunting to put money away in a Trust, but they can be unwound in the event of a family crisis and monies returned to the settlors via the beneficiaries.

5. The income over expenditure rule As well as considering putting lump sums into an appropriate Trust, people can also make monthly contributions into certain savings or insurance policies and put them into an appropriate Trust.

The monthly contributions are potentially subject to Inheritance Tax, but if the person can prove that these payments are not compromising their standard of living, they are exempt.

6. Provide for the tax If a person is not in a position to take avoiding action, an alternative approach is to make provision for paying Inheritance Tax when it is due. The tax has to be paid within six months of death (interest is added after this time). Because probate must be granted before any money can be released from an estate, the executor may have to borrow money or use their own funds to pay the Inheritance Tax bill.

This is where life assurance policies written in an appropriate Trust come into their own. A life assurance policy is taken out on both a husband’s and wife’s life with the proceeds payable only on second death. The amount of cover should be equal to the expected Inheritance Tax liability.

By putting the policy in an appropriate Trust, it means it does not form part of the estate. The proceeds can then be used to pay any Inheritance Tax bill straight away without the need for the executors to borrow.

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Guide to Cashflow Modelling – Is it time to bring your money to life?

Will your current plans get you to where you want to be financially?

Whatever wealth means to you – now and in the future – we can help you achieve your goals for it in every area and stage of your life.

Cashflow modelling as part of the financial planning process is also vital if financial goals are to be achieved, such as repaying your mortgage, buying a holiday home, paying for school and university fees and being able to retire when you want to.

It is also important that you have sufficient funds for emergencies to provide for unexpected expenses, such as a job loss or long-term illness.

Clarity over your goals. Key to this is analysis based on your goals and desired future lifestyle.

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A Question of Risk

“How much should you invest?” Investing after all comes with an inherent risk due the accepted volatility of markets, so a sensible cash reserve should always be retained.

Whilst most investment portfolios will give you an indication of how much volatility to expect, how can you manage your own expectation and investment journey? Hopefully the following steps and simple diagram below will help:

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