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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Lessons from London Capital & Finance

One of the last decade’s more infamous financial scandals has finally reached a conclusion.  The name of London Capital & Finance Plc (LCF) sounds impressive, but the business behind it was anything but. In the late 2010s, LCF issued ‘mini-bonds’, raising capital from individual investors to lend on to small businesses. LCF offered rates of…

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An investment sector reshuffle

The fund performance league tables have gained over 530 new funds since April.  In the middle of April, the trade body of investment managers, the Investment Association, made a radical revamp to its fund sectors. As a result, many of the investment performance league tables have been changed subtly, even though the performance of the…

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April is the month of benefit increases

State pensions and the National Living Wage both increased in April.   April is the month when state benefits are uprated – unless they are subject to a freeze. It is also the month when the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) are increased. In 2021, many social security benefits rose by 0.5%,…

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Retirement in 2021… or beyond

A recent survey of people who have or plan to retire in 2021 provides interesting insights, whatever your intended retirement year. The average age of people planning to retire in 2021 is 60, according to a recently published survey by investment manager, Standard Life Aberdeen. That is six years before current state pension age, which…

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