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Inflation: the silent destroyer of wealth

Recently I was on holiday in Devon, and I got a shock when my daughter went to buy ice creams and a 99 flake cost £3! It got me thinking about the power of inflation.

I believe inflation is the silent killer everyone ignores when they’re looking at their finances. It’s like the sugar in our diets; a little is OK but over time a lot of it is a real killer.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Tax Freedom Day – 6 ways you can you bring your own personal Tax Freedom Day closer

Tax Freedom Day is the first day of the year in which a nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to pay its taxes. Collectively in the UK, we generate over £700bn in taxes for the treasury each year. That’s the revenue that keeps our country’s services running.

But can you – morally, legally and ethically – bring your own personal Tax Freedom Day forward earlier in the year? Here are some things to check that might just do that for you.

 
 
 

The Brexit effect on the markets may surprise you

It’s three years since Britain voted to leave the EU. And what’s happened since for investors highlights that you need to be careful about who you listen to, and what you take away from them. People like to give predictions about the future, but none of us know what will actually happen. That includes politicians, think tanks, bankers and economists.

After the referendum result, a lot of people predicted that the stock market and the property market would crash. And when those people are on TV and in the national press, they have strong credibility. They seem trustworthy. But a lot of predictions are built on opinions. And that means they’re not always right. Read this article to find out exactly how the stock market has performed in the last 3 years.

 
 
 
Pensions

How much should you be saving in your pension?

Running out of money in retirement is a scary thought, as we age we feel more fragile and venerable, a secure income during our retirement years gives us peace of mind, but comes at a price.  The security provided by the defined benefit pensions offered by many larger employers has gone and the responsibility to secure our retirement income has been left to us to sort out.

 
 
 
LISA house

Does it help to try Help to Buy?

Help to Buy has been in the headlines recently. A National Audit Office report said that people were borrowing money from the government scheme when they didn’t need to, which has pushed up house prices and made it more difficult for some people to get on the housing ladder.

Let’s look beyond the headlines at the scheme and its implications.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The psychology of money

There’s been a lot of bad headlines again recently – Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and British Steel are shedding jobs, Mothercare and other retailers are in trouble… if you’re directly involved (or know someone who is), then this is a very tough time financially.

I don’t pretend to have a silver bullet, but I do know that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed in these kinds of situation. The most important thing you can do? Get clarity. Come back to the steps of The Money Plan to do that.

 
 
 

How much value does a financial planner really add?

Vanguard’s Adviser Alpha survey is an annual report produced by one of the world’s largest and most respected fund management companies. Their latest survey used real-world data to try and quantify the benefits of using a financial adviser or planner – the returns on top of your returns, if you will. It makes for interesting reading.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pension freedom Q&A

Readers Question: Can I Retire?

This week I’m answering a reader’s question, and it’s one that many of us ask ourselves as we get older: can I afford to retire, and if so what do I do next?

I was contacted by a gentleman, Arthur who wanted to understand his retirement options. Arthur was desperate to retire; frankly he’d had enough of the stresses of working – which is a shame as I like people to work in some form during retirement because work gives us a lot more than just an income; connection and relationships, mental stimulation, purpose to get up each morning. However, he’s been working for his company for over 30 years but is ready to stop.

 
 
 
 

Spring statement and the economic outlook

I was speaking with someone recently about their financial planning and they were really concerned about Brexit. The media’s aim is to get you to buy their paper or stay on their website, and worry makes us do just that. If they told you everything was fine, you wouldn’t pay too much attention. But articles portraying the concerns around Brexit get people to focus… and worry.

It can be hard to see through the headlines; there’s an editorial slant on all the news we read, see and hear. Let’s try to take the emotion out of the subject – regardless of whether you feel Brexit is a good or bad thing – and look at what’s happening in the bigger picture.

 
 
 
 
 
Financial crisis 10th anniversary

Déjà vu All Over Again

Investment fads are nothing new. When selecting strategies for their portfolios, investors are often tempted to seek out the latest and greatest investment opportunities. Over the years, these approaches have sought to capitalise on developments such as the perceived relative strength of particular geographic regions, technological changes in the economy, or the popularity of different…

 
 
 

Year end tax planning checklist for individuals

There’s less than a month to go until the end of the 2018/19 tax year. However, there’s still time to consider some last-minute tax planning to maximise the use of an individual’s allowances, reliefs and exemptions for the current tax year. Some of these will be lost if not used before the tax year end. This year end tax planning checklist covers the main planning opportunities available to UK resident individuals and will hopefully help to inspire action to reduce tax for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

 
 
 

Your ‘House of Wealth’ needs solid financial foundations

Several years ago, I worked with a group of people to create a model called the House of Wealth: a graphical representation of your financial planning.  The foundations of the house include all the basics everyone should consider having in place to safeguard their (and their families’) future, we never know what’s around the corner.

There are eight elements to the foundations in total: three are essential (an emergency cash reserve, a will and a lasting power of attorney), and five are optional. They’re very important for some people, but unnecessary for others.