Monday, 21 January 2019


There are many more options now for those who are 60 or older. Where the incomes are guaranteed, such as income from pensions or investment income, more lenders will now offer normal residential interest rates and terms. Where the incomes are not guaranteed or not at a high-enough level, there are the Lifetime Mortgage options. These are not based on income. They are calculated on age and property value only. The money raised can be for any purpose. You have the option of making payments or simply letting the interest be added to the original borrowing – to be paid from the eventual sale of the property. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the mortgage. Do contact us if you would like to know what options might be available to you.

Monday, 14 January 2019


There was not much announced in the Chancellor’s October statement that was new, but it is
worth taking note of the key tax changes from the 6th of April 2019.
Personal Tax And Benefits Changing From 6 April 2019

• The Personal Allowance (the amount that you can earn before you have to start paying any tax)increases from £11,500 to £12,500.

• The amount you can earn over and above this Personal Allowance and pay only 20% tax increases
to £37,500. This means that in the new Tax Year you will only pay 40% tax on earnings you make in
excess of £50,000 per annum.

• Earnings you have in the new Tax Year above £150,000 will be subject to 45% tax, the “Additional Tax Rate”. (Note: if you earn £100,000 or more, your entitlement to the £12,500 Personal Allowance will be lost progressively until it is gone completely for those earning £122,000 or more.)

• The Individual Savings Account (ISA) contribution limit will remain the same at £20,000. This includes the total of all payments in the year to any ISA.

• The Capital Gains Tax allowance increases from £11,700 to £12,000.

• The Inheritance Tax Allowance nil-rate band remains the same at £325,000. For those married or in a civil-partnership each can claim this allowance, so effectively, their joint estate would have to be worth more than £650,000 before Inheritance Tax would have to be paid. However, for those with residential property that they are leaving to direct descendants there is also the additional “Residence Nil-Rate Band” which increases in the new Tax Year from £125,000 to £150,000. This is a rather complicated calculation and you should take tax advice regarding it. The Inheritance Tax rate remains at 40%.

• The Pension Lifetime Allowance will increase from £1,030,000 to £1,055,000.

• We understand that the Rent-A-Room relief will continue at the level of £7,500 per annum so those
renting up to two rooms in their own home can earn up to this amount without a tax liability.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018


Under the new rules you can, in principle, take all of your pension fund out as cash. The downside to this option is that only 25% of what you take would be free of tax and so you could end up paying up to 45% tax on some or all of the rest that you take out as cash. If you are tempted to take large amounts out as cash, do get someone to help you crunch the numbers as to how much tax you will have to pay. Having saved the money carefully in the pension over all those years, it does not make sense to waste it now. And if you splurge now on the Ferrari, it could mean you would have little left for your future needs. So this Pension Freedom does not provide freedom from taxation, but it does allow a great deal of flexibility for managing how you take it out!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018


In the past you had very little choice in how you could use your pension savings. You were allowed to take 25% of the pension fund as tax-free cash, but the rest had to be used to purchase an annuity so as to secure an income for life. You would buy an income for life with your pension funds. The older you were, the more income you would be able to buy with your pension fund. (Do make sure you understand what an annuity is as it still can be a useful pension option. We would be happy to help explain what it is.)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018


Previously pensions generally had a minimum age of 60 or 65 for taking the benefits. The current pension regulations allow individuals to take any or all of their pension benefits from age 55. There are some exceptions so it is worth checking with your pension provider. Do remember that you do not have to retire in order to be able to access your pension benefits. For those who are in their 40s or younger, we also need to sound a warning that this minimum pension age of 55 is likely to increase in the future as the State Pension Age increases.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


The first “Freedom” one has is not to have any pension at all! If you are self-employed, you do not have to contribute to a pension (other than the State Pension) and even if you are employed, you can opt out of the company’s Workplace Pension. Clearly, however, there is not much value in a "Freedom” which means you have very little to live on in retirement.

A number of people plan to use other sources of income in their later years such as renting out property or down-sizing to recover value from their own property. We would advise all our clients to use pensions to provide at least part of the income they will need in retirement. If you are unsure of why this is a good idea, do take advice.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018


It is now 3 years since the Government launched changes to pension regulations which they called “Pension Freedom”.
Essentially they made changes which gave more choices as to how you can use your pension savings when you reach pensionable age. It is worth knowing your options if you are 55 or older or approaching age 55. We can use our experience and expertise to help if you have questions.
The choices we examine here primarily relate to personal pensions, also called “Money Purchase” and “Defined Contribution” pensions. If you have a Final Salary Pension (also known as a Defined Benefit Plan), you will need to seek advice from your pension provider as the rules are often different from scheme to scheme.