Wealth Management & Finance Insights


We have ore than 50 years of experience
Adrian Howard
June 24, 2022

Tax planning may well feel like a chore, but in the long term, working tax considerations into your financial planning will not only make you better off, it can also improve your wellbeing.

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As tax year-end approaches, it’s important for owners of small businesses to make sure they’re making the most of their allowances. We look at some strategies that will help.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is one of the government’s most reliable forms of income. IHT receipts received by HMRC during the tax year 2020-2021 came to £5.4 billion and have remained around that level for the past four years, according to official statistics.

There are plenty of reasons why someone a long way from retirement might not feel ready to think about their pension savings.But there are also strong arguments for taking action sooner rather than later. Perhaps the most compelling is that if you put a bit of work in now, you make life a lot easier for yourself in years to come.

As Christmas approaches, everybody wants their loved ones – and especially their children – to be happy on the big day.

There’s no better time than the New Year to get into good habits that will make a real difference to your life. Financial goals are an ideal place to begin, not least because they’re often attached to tangible positive outcomes.

When you’re setting goals for the future, it can be hard to find the path between the place you are now and the place you want to be.

A quick check with HMRC will confirm that Income Tax is charged at 0%, 20%, 40% or 45%, depending on your income for the year. The rates are marginally different in Scotland, but wherever you look, there isn’t a published rate of 60%, however much you earn.

When you’ve got more than your own situation to consider, managing your finances can sometimes feel like spinning plates. You could be trying to make the most of your investments while also beginning to think about retirement and what you need to put in place for that.

There comes a time in life when retirement looms increasingly large over the future. Whether you’re looking forward to it or never want it to happen, it’s something that needs to be planned for. These days, retirement is increasingly about giving yourself plenty of options, and that’s where it really pays to use your tax allowances and reliefs well.

Tax is present throughout our lives and not something we can avoid. Yet many of us will admit we don’t always understand it. And with more than 1,000 ever-changing reliefs and allowances available to taxpayers, keeping on top of tax matters is a challenge, even for the experts.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is complicated. That means some people end up paying it unnecessarily, while others get caught out and face fines for failing to properly declare their gains.

Stop price rises damaging your retirement spending power. With inflation soaring, you may need to review your pension plans urgently to stop price rises damaging your future standard of living in retirement.

At the time of writing, the best rate you can get on an instant-access Cash ISA is 0.67%.1 You would be forgiven for thinking that it is at least ‘something’. However, while your balance will still grow on paper, with inflation reaching 4.9%2 by January 2022, the spending power of your money will actually be reducing with each year that passes.

The old myth that investors need to sacrifice some returns if they want to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment strategy has rapidly gone out of fashion. There’s now plenty of evidence that shows how a company approaches these issues plays a significant role in long-term performance.

Pensions are a smart ingredient to use when it comes to planning for your financial future. Don’t waste the ingredients that make your money work harder for you. Make sure you make the most of this year’s tax allowances before their use-by date.

Individuals and businesses are facing higher taxes, but good financial planning can mitigate the impact. Ensure you make best use of your tax allowances such as pension tax relief and ISA limits for each member of your family. Financial advisers understand the intricacies of taxation and can help you plan for today and future years.

There are 11.5 million adults in the UK with less than £100 saved (1). People tend to adjust their spending to match their salary, so pay increases mean they spend more rather than saving. Learning some simple tricks for money management can help ease the stress of financial worries.

The debate about the merits of active and passive investing attracts a lot of attention in the investment world and some commentators have a clear, almost evangelical, preference for one or the other. We believe that both have an important role to play. Here we explore the features and benefits of both active and passive, and everything in between.

COP26 has emphasised the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), of which St. James's Place is a member, brings together the financial sector to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. To succeed in tackling climate change, companies and governments must be more aligned than ever.

Major fossil-fuel companies are beginning to shift towards more sustainable strategies as a result of shareholder activism. As investors, customers and employees demand action on climate change, we are reaching a tipping point and those companies that are slow to adapt will lose their competitive edge. By investing in companies that are committed to sustainability, you can help shape a better world.

In the Autumn Budget and Spending Review this afternoon, the chancellor announced that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has lifted its growth forecasts for the UK.

Evidence is mounting that responsible investing could provide an opportunity to offer sustainable long-term returns. Responsible investing encourages sustainability in the way companies operate, and sustainable initiatives tend to improve risk management, innovation and operational efficiency. St. James's Place’s fund managers are committed to engaging with companies to improve their environmental, social and governance practices.

The popularity of gardening was a feature of lockdown, as millions invested time in planting seeds for future results. Gardening offers a number of lessons for retirement planning, with many of the same principles guiding both gardeners and investors to success. Both gardening and investing require specialist knowledge and skills – getting advice from the experts is essential if efforts are to be rewarded.

Companies should use accepted reporting frameworks and produce dedicated annual sustainability reports so that it’s easy to assess their environmental impact. St. James's Place uses these reports alongside our fund manager’s engagement work to ensure we invest your money responsibly and maintain pressure on companies to set and meet ESG targets. Our reporting on our portfolios enables you to understand the impact your investments can have.

Your pension gives you enormous influence over some of the world’s biggest companies So, find out whether it’s being invested responsibly in a way that could help to change the world All it takes is a quick email to your HR department – which has been written for you

There’s no shame in not understanding financial jargon – after all, research shows many people struggle to make sense of basic financial terms. It’s particularly useful to know what the various tax terms and acronyms mean, such as ISAs, IHT, CGT and the different pension allowances. Even if you do understand most financial and tax references, the rules can change over time – advisers can help you navigate the financial landscape without getting lost in all the terminology.

Financial security is a major goal for many women, and the poor interest rates on savings accounts mean now is the ideal time to consider investing. A Stocks & Shares ISA is a good first step, offering flexibility and the potential for good returns over the long term. We can help you decide on the best way to invest your Stocks & Shares ISA.

As well as the gender pay gap, raising children, running a household and caring responsibilities can hinder women’s earning, saving and investing potential. Girls need help to achieve parity with boys, and financial education is vital to this. It’s important both sexes learn the same about budgeting and building wealth. Parents are the biggest influence on their children’s behaviour, so it’s vital to model good money management.

While it’s good to see Government efforts to address the social care issue, an increase in National Insurance has limitations – and ultimate responsibility for care is up to us as individuals, says Tony Mudd, Divisional Director at St. James's Place.

Stress and mental-health issues can affect employees’ performance and productivity, leading to low morale and unplanned absences. Employee wellbeing is no longer just an internal matter – it’s also something investors are increasingly looking at from an ESG perspective. Money worries are a key issue, with the majority of UK businesses affected by poor employee financial wellbeing. Tackling this is crucial for any company that is committed to supporting the mental health of its staff.

If you need assistance as you age, moving into a care home or nursing home isn’t your only option. In-home care is a possibility for many people and can include adaptations to your home, having someone come in to help on a regular basis or hiring live-in carers. Such solutions can often work out less expensive than residential care. It’s always important to seek expert advice, whatever your situation – and St. James's Place Partners can help with the whole process.

The term ‘protection’ means insurance policies that help people and their families meet their financial commitments if they face long-term sickness or unemployment, or if they die. Policies include critical illness cover, life insurance, income protection and mortgage protection. The numbers of women taking out life insurance rose during 2019 as the pandemic worsened, reflecting the growing desire for financial security in times of economic crisis (1). Ask a financial adviser to help you choose the best policy for your circumstances.

The temptation to wait until the end of the tax year to check you’re using your various allowances is one that should be resisted. Taking time to review your tax allowances during the tax year can prevent last-minute panic and ensure that opportunities aren’t missed. Rumours often swirl about potential changes to tax allowances, particularly around pensions, but they rarely prove accurate. Base your plans on what you know.

There are around 1.7 million self-employed women in the UK (1), and the number of freelance working mothers has risen by 79% since 2008 (2). On top of managing clients and workload, women often have additional challenges, such as combating the gender income and pension gaps, childcare costs and other unpaid responsibilities. We can help you with different areas of personal finance such as pensions, inheritance, investments and income protection. Get in touch today to help get your finances on track.

The relationship between financial difficulties and poor mental health is clear and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Mental-health problems can also be triggered by stressful events, from redundancy to dealing with a will after bereavement. It’s important to build an appropriate support network, including family and friends, GPs, advice services and financial coaches. Financial advisers can offer guidance on the help available for vulnerable people and also assist with advice and planning in changed circumstances.

A ‘means test’, or financial assessment, is the process you go through to determine eligibility for local authority support for your long-term care. However, only those with very little in the way of savings, assets or income are likely to qualify. Being well prepared for the means test, and seeking support from an expert financial adviser, can help to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Be very wary of giving away your wealth to avoid paying for care fees: this is called ‘deprivation of assets’, and your council will treat you as if you still had those assets.

Human brains are hardwired to prefer instant rewards over bigger benefits in the future, which makes it difficult to forgo spending now in favour of investing. Retirement seems so far off that even the most money-savvy people can struggle with the motivation to save and invest – but you can ‘trick’ your brain with techniques from behavioural psychology. Create a picture of your ‘future self’ – a visualisation that will make the ‘you’ in retirement feel as real as the ‘you’ today – and speak to your financial adviser about turning this into a plan.

With the world still off track to meet its Paris Agreement target, action to tackle the climate crisis is becoming increasingly urgent. Several major oil and gas companies have begun making commitments to reduce carbon emissions and pivot towards renewable energy. By investing with such companies, shareholders can exert pressure and ensure environmental issues are a priority.

Most of us are affected by financial stress and other worries at some point in our lives, undermining our ability to concentrate and do our jobs properly (and often keeping us from work altogether). In the wake of a pandemic that has had a big impact on people’s mental health, employers have a golden opportunity to support employees with their financial wellbeing. There are various ways of doing this, including facilitating discussions, holding workshops, distributing timely information and providing access to one-to-one guidance.

There’s a well-documented ‘pensions gap’ between the sexes. Women in their 60s retire with pensions a third smaller on average than those of men, according to the Pensions Policy Institute (1) This is mostly due to the impact of women’s lower average earnings over their working life alongside time out of paid work raising families. But high-earning women and those without dependants can lag behind their male peers in retirement provision, too. There are a range of ways you can fund your retirement, and your St. James's Place Partner can help you work out exactly what kind of retirement you are heading for and how much you need to put aside to catch up.

The average person will work for 11 employers during their working life and a quarter of people will have 14 or more employers (1). Work out exactly which pensions you have – including the providers’ names, account details, the types of pension scheme and what you’re entitled to. An adviser can then help review all of the pots you have and create a retirement plan to use them in the most efficient way possible.

With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, there is now a huge demand for weddings – and they’re likely to be bigger and more costly than ever. Before you give a couple money towards a wedding, it’s best to seek advice to ensure you understand any tax implications. There are specific wedding-gift allowances that allow you to reduce a potential Inheritance Tax bill – or, if it’s a long time away, you can save regularly in an ISA.

Having a parent who needs long-term care can be very stressful, and people often don’t know where to turn for support. Our recommendation is to follow a five-step plan, which takes you from acknowledging the need for care through to your parent’s specific requirements and how to manage care-home costs. Seeking financial advice from someone who specialises in later-life needs can be extremely advantageous in helping you to assess all the options and find the best solution for your parent.

Statistics on the gender pay gap reflect how important it is for new mums to have a financial plan to ensure their family’s future That plan should include protection insurance and investing for retirement To avoid adding to your considerable mental load, it’s a good idea to discuss your needs with a financial adviser

We now have more information, more choices, and more responsibility for our retirement savings. But will the future we want be the future we are able to get?The Retirement Living Standards, launched by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), has been developed to help people picture what kind of lifestyle they could have in the future.Pitched at three levels: minimum, moderate and comfortable, the standards have been designed to act as a practical and meaningful starting point for anyone who is unsure about how much to put away.Like the five-a-day healthy eating initiative, the PLSA’s ambition is for the Retirement Living Standards to become a widely adopted industry standard.

The pressure on company owners has intensified since the start of the pandemic, which has brought with it an added toll on mental health for those running their own businesses. Protecting your mental wellbeing is not only important for your overall health, it also contributes to the productivity and success of your business. Don't forget about your employees - it can be as difficult for them as it is for owners.

If you can afford to leave your pension untouched for the near future, your money will remain invested and could grow into a larger savings pile – although there’s always an element of risk with investment. You can continue paying into a pension after retirement to further boost your savings and benefit from tax relief until age 75. How much you can contribute depends on your employment status alongside whether and how much you have withdrawn from the pot. Check with your pension scheme or provider which specific rules they might have, and always speak with a financial adviser before making any decisions.

It’s not always necessary to sell your home to fund long-term care. If you choose to receive in-home care, or if a spouse or dependent relative remains living in your home, you will not be forced to sell. Be wary of the lifetime-mortgage ‘trap’ – these equity-release schemes often state that you must sell your property immediately if you go into residential care. It’s vital to seek expert financial advice before making any big decisions regarding your property or paying for a care home.

President Biden’s inauguration in January heralded what is expected to be a new era of US engagement in the fight against climate change The new administration has already rolled back several Trump government measures and reinstated the US to the Paris Agreement With proposals to make it harder for retirement plans to invest responsibly now being reviewed, some believe the US can spearhead efforts to build an international framework of sustainability standards

Part-time or flexible working offers a multitude of benefits for women, including a better home-work life balance or an easier way to care for children or elderly relatives without having to give up your career. On the flip side, working part time or fewer hours can have an impact on your earnings and long-term wealth, and it can also weaken your position in the labour market. The shift to home working because of COVID-19 means that men as well as women can now enjoy the benefits of flexible working. We can help you understand the impact of flexible working on your finances and retirement plans

Money worries aren’t just about income and debt – financial stress can be caused by a wide range of situations and factors. With some of the biggest financial challenges we face occurring just once or twice in a lifetime, we don’t always have the skills or experience to navigate them on our own. Financial wellbeing support is widely available, including in the workplace. The sooner worries are expressed, the easier they can be to deal with.

Your local authority is responsible for social care and will work out if you qualify for financial support. They will provide a means test to calculate whether you have to pay some or all of the cost of a care home or in-home care yourself. If you have assets of £23,250 or more in England or Northern Ireland(1) (or £28,750 in Scotland(2) and £50,000 in Wales(3), it’s likely you’ll have to pay the full cost of care yourself. If you have a ‘primary’ medical need, there’s a chance that the NHS will pay for continuing healthcare or nursing care.

Costs in many premium-priced homes will be in excess of £1,000 per week (1) Navigating the social care system can feel overwhelming and complex. At St. James's Place, we are committed to helping people meet their financial needs in later life – our financial advisers are there to help.

The old myth that investors need to sacrifice some returns if they want to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment strategy has rapidly gone out of fashion. There’s now plenty of evidence that shows how a company approaches these issues plays a significant role in long-term performance.

Stocks & Shares ISAs are a very tax-efficient – and potentially lucrative – way of saving for the long term (at least five to 10 years). Each person’s ISA allowance (the amount you can pay in without being taxed on the profits) is £20,000 for this tax year (2021/22). The earlier in the tax year you put money into your ISA, the more chance it has to grow and the longer it is shielded from tax. Waiting until the end of the tax year to use up your ISA limit can be stressful; investing as much as possible now brings peace of mind.

The first step is to understand your or your loved one’s care requirements – and a care needs assessment by social services can help with this. Care can then be either in the home (usually costing upwards of £10,000 a year) or in a care home (usually costing more than £30,000 a year); most people in England and Northern Ireland with savings or investments of more than £23,250 will have to fund this themselves. Your St. James's Place Partner can support you throughout the process – both with the practical and financial aspects.

Self-building offers multiple advantages, including the opportunity to follow your own vision and get the right house in the right location. It can be a cost-efficient solution, with the average self-builder spending £270,000 on their build. (1) An adviser can help you navigate the self-build mortgage market and put you in touch with a company that will manage the entire project for you.

The quick read: The volume of information and decisions to make around choosing the right care can be overwhelming. The average cost of care in the UK is £34,000, depending on where you live. A financial adviser can help you to make good care choices – there may even be more support available than you realise.

When planning your finances it’s important to have an understanding of the tax-saving allowances and exemptions available to you.

Amid the bustle of running your own business, it can be easy to forget to make provision for your retirement. But getting it sorted could bring benefits both now and in the future.

Chancellor may renew focus on the tax to help foot the COVID-19 bill

As tax year-end approaches, it’s important for owners of small businesses to make sure they’re making the most of their allowances. We look at some strategies that will help.

A new national lockdown on Tuesday marked the start of another uncertain year for self-employed workers in the UK.

The pandemic crisis may have changed how you feel about your plans for the future

Having a conversation about retirement planning with your spouse will ensure you are ready for any eventuality.

KPMG's former Chief Restructuring Officer, Stuart Lawson, used to help some of the country’s biggest businesses overcome tough times – now he does the same for SMEs. We asked him for advice on navigating a recession.

Learn these basic investing principles to help turn your goals into reality.

Shelley Doyle joins the team at Orestone Wealth

Your office requirements could be permanently altered after the pandemic

Talking to clients by video isn't ideal, but it's still possible to adapt - and use this time to build relationships and reputation for the long term.

The pension freedoms have put a number of new options in play, and each decision you make will affect the sustainability of your income through retirement.

At Orestone Wealth Management, we’re proud of our heritage and namesake. The Ore Stone is a small island off Hope’s Nose to the east of Torquay on the English Riviera and is home to an abundance of rare seabirds and marine life.

How long you'll live may be a moving target - but you can plan for the unknown

Read an Easter message from Orestone Wealth Managing Director, Adrian Howard.

Whether you are in retirement, or planning for it from a long way out, market volatility presents challenges and opportunities. We look at some strategies to help keep you on track.

Ahead of the Budget, there was considerable discussion about the possibility of change to pensions tax relief and Inheritance Tax, but nothing was forthcoming.

This week, over 1.5 million vulnerable people are being told to self-isolate for 12 weeks, and the government has suggested it may enforce broader lockdown measures.