Blog

Keep up to date with the latest news and updates from Inspire Financial Planning, and the world of finance.

IHT – Under The Spotlight

According to figures from HM Revenue and Customs, Inheritance Tax (IHT) revenues are up again, with £5bh being paid in the 2017 - 18 tax year. This increase comes despite the introduction of the residence nil-rate band in 2017. With more families f...

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Pension Withdrawals hit £2.3bn

Planning your likely cashflow can help you identify how much you can sustainably withdraw from your pension without jeopardising your future financial security and well-being. There's growing evidence that pensioners are treating their pension pots ...

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What’s In Store For The Global Economy?

The last few months have-seen the release of positive economic reports and grounds for optimism remain with regards to future growth rates, certainly in terms of the US economy. However, while no one is currently predicting the onset of a sharp slowd...

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Inheritance Tax – Where Are We Now?

If ever there is a UK tax that needed a major overhaul, then Inheritance Tax (IHT) must be a prime candidate. Many families will therefore be delighted to hear that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has written to the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS)...

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Protecting The Elderly From Financial Abuse

Scammers are increasingly targeting older people, with many of the crimes they commit involving bank account fraud or the selling of bogus or unsuitable investments. Although cold calling is to be banned, the elderly can still be contacted in other w...

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The Rise Of The Part-Time Pensioner

There was a time, not so long ago, when many people’s lives fell neatly into three distinct stages – they were educated, embarked upon a career and then retired. The date at which people chose to retire was generally in line with their state reti...

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Drawdown – A Popular Choice, But Advice Is Essential

Income drawdown is where you leave your pension pot invested and take an income directly from it, instead of using the money in your pot to buy an annuity from an insurance company. As the rest of your pension pot remains invested, it will continue t...

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Is It Time To Let The ‘Dogs’ Out?

From time to time the finance pages publish lists of what are called ‘dog’ funds. You may have wondered what the term means and be concerned about what you should do if you find you’re invested in one of these funds. Put simply, a ‘dog’ fu...

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What Does Retirement Planning Mean For You?

Retirement is often seen as the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. Planning for it isn’t just about getting your money organised, although that’s obviously very important. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to take the ...

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Time To Temper Your Return Expectations?

Over the last eight years, the stock market has been pretty generous, providing many investors with a period of relatively strong rates of return. Some experts are warning that the next few years are likely to be less rewarding and that investor ex...

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More Women Are Working Into Their 70s

In yet another sign that retirement is becoming an increasingly fluid concept, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of women working past the age of 70 has doubled in the last four years. The abolition of the compuls...

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Cash Flow Planning – Your Road Map For The Future

Many people spend their working lives planning and saving for their later years. However, when they reach retirement they can be unsure as to how best to allocate their cash. This is where cash flow planning can really help. Why It Helps To Get A F...

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Millions Relying On Just £7K In Retirement

According to research carried out for the Pensions Policy Institute, many pensioners are relying on their state pension for three-quarters of their income. It can come as a shock to many that their state pension entitlement increased to £164.35 pe...

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Tax Traps The Bank Of Mum And Dad Should Avoid

With the Bank of Mum and Dad regularly helping to finance property transactions for their offspring, it’s important for parents to be aware of the tax consequences of doing so. Inheritance Tax (IHT) Although it’s tempting to give children large...

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Investing For Income In Retirement

Today, savers reaching retirement have more choices than ever before about how they use their pension pots to fund their retirement. Instead of simply using their pension money to buy an annuity that provides a guaranteed income for life, many choose...

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Ready To Invest? Here’s How To Get Started

If you’re looking to get a better return from your money than you can from your bank account, then the time might be right to think about investing for the future. Before you begin, here are some golden rules to consider. Hold Some Cash You’l...

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Pensioners In Drawdown Fear Running Out Of Money

Since the introduction of the new pension freedoms in April 2015, more and more retirees have opted to take flexible withdrawals from their pension funds by going into what’s referred to as drawdown. The Financial Conduct Authority recently report...

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If You Employ A Nanny Or A Cleaner, You May Need To Set Up A Pension

Whilst you might not think of yourself as an employer, if you have a carer, gardener, nanny or cleaner, you may find yourself classed as that under government pension rules. As part of the government’s auto-enrolment scheme designed to encourage pe...

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Older Workers Facing The Pressure Of Intergenerational Needs

It’s estimated that around 1.9m workers aged over 50 find themselves juggling the competing needs of the younger and older generations, sometimes overlooking their own financial planning requirements. As a result, many feel under pressure to go on ...

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Over £40M Stolen From Pensioners

Police reports show that since the introduction of the pension freedoms, more than £43m in retirement savings has been lost to fraud. Concerns have been raised in parliament, and the Work and Pensions Committee has held an inquiry that, amongst othe...

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How Much Will You Spend In Retirement?

The good news is that, due to the increase in life expectancy in the UK, the average time spent in retirement is currently 22 to 25 years. This means we all have more time to enjoy life, but equally means that we need to think quite carefully how we ...

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Will Your Pension Go To The Wrong Person?

It can come as a surprise to many people to learn that their pension doesn’t form part of their estate on death. Unlike property, savings and investments which can all be dealt with under the terms of your Will, who gets your pension savings depend...

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Retired Households Hand Over £7,400 To The Taxman

In further evidence that pensioners are seeing their incomes rise, those in retirement have seen their annual tax bill grow by 5.7% to an average £7,410 (2015-16 tax year) Nearly 30% of pensioner household income was taken up with paying the ta...

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Inheritance Tax: The Government Rakes In 35BN

The amount of revenue that the government raises from inheritance tax (IHT) continues to rise year by year. In 201617, the figure rose again to over £4.9bn1, with experts expecting it to be even higher in this financial year. Controversially, t...

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Winter Is Coming – What Lies Ahead?

What do the last few months of the year have in store for investors? 2017 has so far been interesting, to say the least. We have all become much better at expecting the unexpected; experience has certainly taught us that. Many investors are gett...

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Millions Of Women Will Be Poorer Due To State Pension Changes

More than a million women are now worse off by an average of £32 a week because of changes to the state pension, according to recent research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It found that the phased increase in the state pension age for wo...

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The Pension Changes – How Mistakes Are Still Being Made

Thanks to the changes in pension legislation that came into effect in April 2015, those who have defined contribution pension plans have more choice available to them than ever before. When they reach 55 they have a variety of options; they can ...

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Why It Pays To Keep an Eye on Your Portfolio

Whether you are a newcomer or a seasoned investor, one of the keys to successful investing is having an annual portfolio review. It’s essential if you want to ensure that the stocks and shares you hold are still in line with your investment objec...

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Brexit – Where Are We Now?

When Theresa May called the General Election, she was quick to make it a Brexit election. Her rationale was that with a stronger majority behind her, she would be better placed to negotiate a favourable settlement with her European counterparts....

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More Pensioners Than Ever Are Working Into Their 70s

Today, there are 1.2 million people working beyond the age of 65, according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Whilst some enjoy what they do and are continuing to work out of choice rather than necessity, others feel...

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Baby-Boomers Set To Pass On a ‘Wall of Wealth’

A recent research study1 shows that Britain’s grandparents hold over £400 billion in wealth. The bulk of this wealth has arisen as a result of the continuing rise in property values. Elderly couples with homes will pass down on average property...

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How To Act Your (Investor) Age

Whilst we are all aware of the age differences between the generations, we might not have thought about how our age bears any relation to our investments. However, the number of years you have left to invest can help you make the right decisions ...

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Does How You Invest Reflect Your Generation?

The way we view our savings and investment reflects when we were born, to a remarkable degree. Those aged 51 to 70 (Baby-Boomers), for instance, are more likely to feel that they have been particularly lucky with their cash. This generation saved ...

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Are You Facing A Mid-Life Savings Crisis?

Have you started to save for your retirement? If the answer is ‘not yet’, sadly you are not alone. With the cost of living rising, it seems that many people are putting off saving into a pension, or not saving at all. Financial pressure in the...

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Investment Risk and Volatility – How to Keep Your Cool

With interest rates currently at very low levels, and inflation starting to climb, savers aren’t seeing great returns. So, many are considering putting their money into the stock market. However, adjusting to a world where stock prices can r...

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Pension Savers Set To Miss Out On Unclaimed Tax Relief

Are you in a Defined Contribution Pension, such as a Stakeholder Pension or Personal Pension, or a SIPP? If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, you could be missing out on free cash because you haven’t claimed the correct tax relief on your pension co...

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Why Diversifying Your Assets Could Be the Best Strategy For 2017

As the government begins the process of leaving the EU, this year looks likely to mark a significant watershed for the UK economy and its relationship with the rest of Europe. On the international stage, there is considerable uncertainty about wha...

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What Families Need To Know About the Residence Nil-Rate Band

April 2017 sees the introduction of a new Inheritance Tax (IHT) nil-rate band that is available in addition to an individual’s own nil-rate band of £325,000. It covers the main residence (or other qualifying property the deceased had lived in)...

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Investment Jargon – Busted

Every walk of life has its own particular terminology and expressions that can seem baffling to the outsider. The world of investment is no exception; if you put your money into stocks and shares, you are likely to be confronted with a whole range of...

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Where Now For Investors?

The announcement of the result of the UK’s EU Referendum on Friday 24 June came as a  shock to many people at home and abroad.  Within hours David Cameron had announced his resignation. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar for ov...

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Wealth Managers Raising Their Game to Attract Millennials

There’s growing evidence that when it comes to savings and investments, Millennials have a completely different perspective from their parents and grandparents. Those born in the early 1980s through to the turn of the century, the Millennials as th...

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Have You Hit Your Peak?

If you’re approaching your 40th birthday, you may be approaching your earnings peak. Figures from the Office for National Statistics1 show that workers can expect to reach their peak between ages 40 and 49. Turning 40 is a major milestone. By th...

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Could You Take A Sabbatical?

For most of us, our summer holidays are just too short. So it’s hardly surprising that more and more employees are thinking about taking an extended break to travel the world, fulfil a lifetime ambition, recharge their batteries or become a volunte...

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Teaching Your Kids Simply Put About Money

Financial habits are formed by the age of seven, according to research by Cambridge University1 for the Money Advice Service. By this age, the report says, most children in the UK are capable of complex functions such as planning ahead, delaying a de...

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Choosing To Diversify Your Portfolio

Successfully achieving your long-term investment goals requires balancing risk and reward. By selecting a broad range of assets in line with your attitude to risk, objectives and time horizon, diversification aims to provide the potential to improve ...

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ISA – Flexible Rules on Withdrawals

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) continue to take centre stage, especially as the Government has recently introduced more products including the Help to Buy ISA and the newest entrant, the Lifetime ISA which launches in April 2017. The Chancell...

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The New Lifetime ISA – What You Need To Know

The latest addition to the Individual Savings Account (ISA) range was launched by the Chancellor in his March 2016 Budget. Announcing the Lifetime ISA (LISA) he summed up what it had to offer by saying: “For every £4 you save, the Government will ...

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What is a structured product?

A new-fangled undergarment to streamline your physique? Not quite. A structured product is a generic term used to describe a type of investment which often has a fixed term applied and usually offers some form of capital protection, whilst aiming to ...

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The Efficient Frontier – Modern Portfolio Theory, Relevant Today?

Many people strive to be efficient in everyday life, to optimise their level of performance, hoping to minimise the waste of resources such as time and energy. This concept of efficiency can also be translated to your investment portfolio. By cons...

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Investing For Children

It's often said that, whilst we may not be able to prepare the future for our children, we can at least prepare our children for the future. With this thought in mind, many parents and grandparents are looking for ways to save for the big events in a...

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46% Of People Doubt They Will Have Enough Money In Retirement – Don’t Be ‘One Of Them’

A recent study* carried out by the independent body that works to promote social change, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that 46% of the general public do not expect to be able to put aside enough money to retire comfortably and believe they wi...

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New Dividend Tax – How The Rules Work

The taxation of dividends is set to undergo a fundamental change from the start of the new tax year this April. The old dividend tax credit regime is consigned to history, and will be replaced by a new allowance which means that the first £5,000...

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What is an Investment Trust?

Investment Trusts are similar to Unit Trusts in that they area form of pooled, collective investment. Like Unit Trusts, they are managed by a professional team responsible for defining the strategy and choosing the investments. Where they differ is t...

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Pension contributions – why putting in cash at an early stage helps

As the old adage goes, 'never put off until tomorrow what you can do today'. This certainly applies when it comes to starting a pension plan. For those just starting out in life, there can be a lot of calls on their cash - saving for a deposit...

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Contrarian investing explained

You may have heard the terminology ‘contrarian investing’, but what does it mean? In the same way that Mary was quite contrary, so too are several high profile fund managers, who are focused on finding long-term growth investments. In basic terms...

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Financial outlook – what can we expect to see in 2016?

The good news is that Britain is regarded by the International Monetary Fund(IMF) as a shining light amongst otherwise gloomy world economies. In October, the IMF revised upwards its forecast for UK growth in 2015, whilst at the same time downgra...

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Dispelling myths about pensions

Arguably, pensions are one of the most misunderstood areas of personal finance. With the introduction of a raft of new measures relating to the operation of defined contribution pensions, much has changed. Here we look to clarify some of the conf...

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Newsletter Sign Up

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Looking For A Bit Of Added Spice?

World demographics are changing. The global population is increasing and prospects for different economies vary widely compared with where they are today – especially in the world’s emerging markets. Today, the population of China, at 1.4 ...

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Equity Release – Why It’s Proving Popular

With rising property prices seldom out of the media, many older people have found themselves considering the amount of money they have locked up in their own homes. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that people aged over 50 own £2...

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Technology Aids Joined-Up Finances

According to Ofcom, four in every five households now has access to the internet and 63% of people own a smartphone. This level of always-on connectivity and access to information is transforming modern communications in ways which, even just one gen...

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VCTs – A Chance to Invest In UK Business

For experienced investors looking to take a stake in new and emerging businesses, Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) could prove an interesting and tax-efficient investment opportunity. According to the Association of Investment Companies, the amou...

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Passing Wealth Down The Generations

Pension Reform arrived in April and new taxation rules also changed – quite radically – the way pension funds will be treated when passed on as part of an estate. Previously subject to quite punitive tax rates which actively discouraged their...

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Pension Drawdown – The New Rules

Since April 2015, the new pension rules have been firmly in place; investors in defined contribution pensions aged over 55 have the freedom to plan how they use their pension pots in retirement. Gone is the requirement to buy an annuity. The main...

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UK Budget Summary 2015

“A Budget For Working People” In the first uniquely Conservative produced Budget since 1996, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that, “Our long-term economic plan is working” and added that the “economy is fundame...

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The new pensions era

No-one could have predicted before the March 2014 Budget that, by the end of the year, the pensions landscape would have witnessed such far-reaching and fundamental changes. From April 2015, those with defined contributions pensions are set to enj...

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Spare your heirs from IHT

Families were charged £3.4bn in inheritance tax in 2013-14, a six-year high according to HM Revenue & Customs. The 2014-2015 inheritance tax (IHT) threshold is £325,000 per person, doubling to £650,000 for a married couple. Anything over th...

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Why investment eggs go in different baskets

Diversification is an often-used investment strategy which aims to guard against some of the risks widely associated with economic fluctuations and stock market peaks and troughs.When it comes to investing, it’s good to hedge your bets and spread y...

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Pre-retirement check-list – how’s your planning coming along?

Retirement can be both fulfilling and rewarding; however, you have to work at it. In the years leading up to your retirement, there are some important questions you should consider. How much will your lifestyle cost? Some costs will come down, but ...

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Trusts aren’t just for the rich

Trusts were once considered the preserve of the wealthy, but today you don’t have to be incredibly rich for your family to benefit from the creation of a trust. They can offer long-term asset protection and can have a variety of uses in financial p...

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Financial resolutions you should make right now.

It’s that time of the year again. The post-Christmas period can be a good time to take stock of your finances and set yourself some simple objectives for 2015. This year, I will make my will This should be at the top of everyone’s priorities to...

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