The Triple Lock trip up, take two

There is a threat to the triple lock on state pensions

State pension increases and the Triple Lock are back in the spotlight. About a year ago, during the first wave of the pandemic, several think tanks started to look at the potential repercussions of the then crumbling economy on state pensions. Their particular focus was on the ‘Triple Lock’, which applies only to payments made…

Read More

The £9 billion Child Trust Funds backwater

Child Trust Funds are largely forgotten

Over £9 billion was invested in Child Trust Funds (CTFs) as of April 2020, according to new HMRC data. If you have a child or grandchild born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, they were almost certainly the beneficiary of a government payment – either £250 or £500 – into a CTF. The…

Read More

Cash ISAs remain dominant: The wrong type of ISA?

Cash ISAs are the dominant form of ISA saving

New statistics from HMRC show over £300bn invested in cash ISAs. One of the many knock-on effects of the pandemic has been that HMRC’s annual updating of statistics has suffered delays. As a result, details of ISA subscriptions and holdings for 2019/20 have only just emerged. Among many interesting facts, the data shows: Despite ultra-low…

Read More

How much pension?? What is an adequate retirement income?

Planning your retirement income is not straightforward

A leading pension think tank has examined this question – but the findings aren’t straightforward. Over the years, there has been much focus on the tax treatment of pensions and ways to encourage greater saving for retirement. Arguably, there has been less attention paid to the question of how much income you will need once…

Read More

The year so far for investors: six months down…

what does the rest of the year hold for investors?

The first six months of 2021 have been rewarding for investors, but the next six are uncertain.  The first half of 2021 was a much less traumatic ride for investors than the first half of 2020. With hindsight, last November’s Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine breakthrough announcement gave investment markets a fresh momentum that continued through the first two quarters…

Read More

The OECD joins the inheritance tax debate

Inheritance tax is being reviewed

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the latest body to wade into the inheritance tax debate – on a global scale.   Inheritance tax (IHT) and similar gift/estate taxes raise a very small portion of overall tax revenues in the OECD countries that have them, as the graph above shows. Even in the UK, which levies that tax at above the OECD average, IHT produces less than £1…

Read More

Is inflation creeping up?

Is inflation beginning to rise?

A global jump in inflation in 2021 is raising the prospect of a broader upward trend. The risk of the return of inflation has become a focus of attention in investment circles. As the graph shows, 2021 has seen a jump in the inflation rate in the US, UK and Eurozone. Inflation matters to investment markets because the standard central bank…

Read More

Claim your tax relief for working from home

Working from home - tax relief available

If you have been working from home during the pandemic, don’t forget you could be due some tax relief.  Employees, required by their employers to work from home (WFH, as it has become known), have been able to claim tax relief long before the pandemic hit. The relief is designed to recoup the additional costs of WFH, such as paying…

Read More

Timing retirement saving

Pension savings

Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) examines how pension contributions fit into life-cycle patterns.  Economists often seem to think in a way that is unique to their world. Many of their theories start with the assumption that people behave rationally, weighing up all the pros and cons before deciding what action to take. Impulse-buying doesn’t compute with these expected behaviours.  One interesting economic viewpoint that holds some…

Read More

Unhappy families – challenging inheritance issues

The outcome of a recent High Court case is a warning for anyone challenging a will.   As inheritances become more valuable, the number of disputes about wills have increased. Court cases rose by almost 50% to 188 in 2019 compared to the previous year according to the latest Ministry of Justice figures.   Many more are settled or abandoned along the way. The…

Read More