Pensions

  • Germany – News on Employee Benefits

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    Readers’ of Alexander Beard News already had been informed recently that Germany has launched a new law to stabilize Employee Benefits and to encourage SME’s to implement new schemes. The “Betriebsrentenstärkungsgesetz” BRSG. One of the main pillars of the BRSG is the introduction of defined contribution schemes in Germany for the first time, if th...
  • Millions may miss out on pension pay out

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    A recent study by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has suggested that people who have saved into defined benefit (DB) pension schemes have only a 50/50 chance of receiving the payouts they are expecting, resulting in millions missing out on the retirement income promised to them. The pressure on some employers to meet their pens...
  • Do you know how much your pension pot is worth?

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    Recent research from Royal London has found that around five million people in the UK have ‘forgotten’ pension pots from final salary schemes of former employers. What’s more, many of these deferred members of defined benefit funds don’t know how much a lump sum payout of this accumulated pension would be worth, thanks to a lack of communication fr...
  • Netherlands Update - September 2017

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    On September 19th 2017, the Dutch Government has published its spending plans for 2018. However this year the situation is different than normal for several reasons. First of all there is still no new government in place. After the elections from March this year several attempts have been made to form a new coalition, but so far without result. New...
  • Update on state pensions: essential reading for the under 50s

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    Recent changes announced by the government to the state pension will result in nearly six million people currently in their forties having to wait longer until they can retire. It’s a development which has raised concerns over the dependability of the state pension, which for many makes up the lion’s share of their retirement income and is the most...
  • Could the Buy-to-Let tax changes be the next pension crisis?

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    The National Landlords Association (NLA) has warned that the next pension crisis could be created by the impact of changes to the way buy-to-let properties are taxed, as many individuals are becoming increasingly reliant on funding their retirement through income generated by property. Recent figures suggest that around 77% of landlords rely on the...
  • Save at least 11% of your income for retirement!

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    A recent study by leading think-tank the International Longevity Centre has suggested that people should aim to save a minimum of 11% of their income in order ‘to achieve an adequate retirement income’, which is defined as 70% of the amount earned whilst working. The think-tank emphasises that this is a minimum amount and in fact recommends a figur...
  • Raising retirement age will not fill the ‘black hole’

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    Recent figures have suggested that the government will be forced to cut back on healthcare spending, raise taxes or increase borrowing to care for the UK’s ageing population, even if the retirement age was immediately raised to 75. An economic study has found that population growth slowing and the increase in cost for healthcare are likely to put c...
  • Planning for the best time of your life

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    Whether you’re nearing the start of your retirement or you’ve still got a few years of work ahead of you, it’s likely that you’ve already started planning this next significant phase in your life. But no matter how much you read, how many numbers you crunch and how many pounds you put away, you might still find yourself constantly adopting a pessim...
  • How much should you really be saving for retirement?

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    Retirement should be the time in your life where you’re able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour throughout your working life. However, simply paying into your savings or a pension for when you retire might not allow you to do this if you’re not putting enough away. But what does “enough” look like? Here are a few questions to consider to...
  • Dutch Pension plans – Changes for 2018

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    Corporate pension age The retirement age for occupational pension schemes will be increased from January 1, 2018 from 67 to 68 years. The increase on the pension age has consequences for the maximum allowed accrual rates in DC plans. These will be lowered with 4% to 6%. Maximum allowed age related premium based on 3% interest per 01-01-2018; Age  ...
  • What’s happening with DB pension schemes?

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    Defined benefit (DB) pension schemes continue to be a hot topic in the business and financial worlds as an increasing number of people seek to transfer their pensions from a DB scheme. Recent figures suggest that more than four out of five (83%) of financial advisers in the UK have seen an increased demand for such transfers over the last twelve mo...
  • How will your spending habits change in retirement?

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    It will come as a surprise to nobody that retirement is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you’ll ever experience. But as your priorities shift and the free time available to you increases, what you might not be as aware of is the way in which your spending habits are likely to alter too. Research analysing the spending patterns of households in...
  • Top tips for retiring successfully

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    Your retirement should be something you look forward to: a time when you can reward yourself for the years of hard work you’ve put into your career, your family and anything else you’ve spent time and effort on throughout your life. But retiring successfully can be trickier than it might first seem. So, whether you’re looking to leave the world of...
  • Pension Savings: a quick recap on your options

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    It’s been two years since the government introduced pension freedoms, greatly expanding the options for how those who have saved into a defined contribution pension product can access their savings. There are now a number of different ways to take advantage of pension freedoms, so let’s have a look at each of them and the potential advantages and d...
  • How will your spending habits change in retirement?

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    It will come as a surprise to nobody that retirement is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you’ll ever experience. But as your priorities shift and the free time available to you increases, what you might not be as aware of is the way in which your spending habits are likely to alter too. Research analysing the spending patterns of households in...
  • If we are all going to have to work longer, what do you need to consider?

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    The long-established state pension age of 60 for women and 65 for men is set to change over the next few decades. The pension age for women has been gradually increasing since April 2010: the age for women is set to be brought in line with that of men, increasing to 65 by November 2018, with a woman’s birth month determining the exact date the chan...
  • Employee Benefits Update

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    Pension Increase state pension age The State Benefit is paid out to all citizens in the Netherlands. The total amount received depends on the number of years lived in the Netherlands and whether the person is single or living together with a partner. As per January 2013 the retirement age for the state pension (AOW) has increased and will continue...
  • Employee Benefits Update (Dutch Version)

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    Pensioen Stijging AOW-leeftijd en pensioenrichtleeftijd De AOW-leeftijd stijgt in 2022 naar 67 jaar en drie maanden De pensioenrichtleeftijd wordt met ingang van 1 januari 2018 verhoogd van 67 naar 68 jaar. Reden voor deze stijgingen is de gestegen algemene levensverwachting. In de loop van 2017 zullen de pensioenregelingen aangepast moeten worden...
  • UK Pension Rules

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    UK Pension Rules (or does it?) In the UK Budget handed down in March new rules relating to the transfer of UK Pensions were announced and subsequently legislated. The HMRC directive (stating UK pension transfers should only be made to the country in which the member resides) will now be enforced by new legislation introduced in the Finance Bill 201...
  • Women face gender gap in pension contributions as well as pay gap

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    Whilst the pay gap experienced by women in comparison to men is most likely a problem you’ve heard about, another gender gap has emerged which is just as concerning. Recent figures suggest that, on average, women are receiving smaller pension contributions from their employers than men. Between 2013 and 2016, women benefitted from pension contribut...
  • Should I transfer out of my final salary pension scheme?

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    Retirement consultancy Mercer recently revealed that the final salary pension deficit of the 350 largest companies listed in the UK had reached £137 billion by the end of last year, despite the FTSE 100 index closing 2016 at a record high. That figure is more than three times the corresponding deficit amount of £39 billion at the end of 2015. “This...
  • Which is best? Save or invest?

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    Whilst you might expect an increase in the cash and investment ISA limit to be welcomed, at least one dissenting voice has come from Steve Webb, former Pensions Minister and current policy director at Royal London. Webb has warned that the rise in April from the current annual limit of £15,240 up to £20,000 could encourage poor long-term investment...
  • 4 steps to keeping track of your pension

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    A recent study has revealed the worrying statistic that over a fifth of all people with multiple pensions have lost track of at least one, with some admitting to have forgotten the details of all of them. With around two thirds of UK residents having more than one pension, this amounts to approximately 6.6 million people with no idea how much they’...
  • What does the future hold for the triple lock?

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    The ‘triple lock’ on state pensions has protected the older generation’s income since 2010, guaranteeing that pensions will rise each year in line with the highest of either the average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%. But the triple lock’s days look increasingly numbered, with an increasing number of financial and political figures cal...
  • State pension age may rise to 70

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    Recent reports suggest that the government is planning to raise the official state pension age to 70 for those currently in their 20s. As a more aggressive timetable for increasing state pension age is apparently to be introduced, those in the 45-55 age bracket could be set to receive their state pension when they are 68, whilst those aged between...
  • Changes 2017 in employee benefit legislation

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    Retirement Every year several figures for pension plans in the Netherlands are updated. Please find the most important changes below. Offset Pension system Minimum required offset Final Pay € 14.850 Average Pay € 13.123 Defined Contribution € 13.123   The offset has to be taken into account because of the social state p...
  • 1 in 10 people not saving anywhere near enough for retirement

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    Figures released in November 2016 have revealed that over one in ten (11%) of working people have yet to begin paying into a pension pot. Worryingly, this includes nearly one in ten people in the 51-65 age bracket. The average age at which most people expect to begin saving towards their pension is 46, and almost 40% of people under 50 are worried...
  • Defined benefit pension transfer: is it worth it?

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    When it comes to saving for retirement, most people working within the private sector are likely to have a defined contribution (DC) pension. This essentially provides you with a savings pot you pay into throughout your working life; these savings grow over time through compound interest and tax relief and are, in most cases, only drawn upon once y...
  • It’s proving popular to cash in smaller amounts from pensions

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    Recent figures suggest that whilst the number of retirees choosing to cash in their pension pots has increased, the amount being withdrawn by them has gone down. When pension freedoms were first introduced, the average sum taken out was around £20,000. This has since reduced considerably to an average of £10,000 according to statistics from the tax...
  • New lifetime allowance could hit more than just ‘pension millionaires’

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    The latest figures surrounding the pensions lifetime allowance (LTA), which governs how much your pensions can be worth without triggering an extra tax charge, suggest that a considerable number of middle-income earners are being hit by the lower threshold. The amount collected from pensions exceeding the LTA by HMRC during the 2015-16 tax year cam...
  • It’s not just the UK facing a steadily increasing retirement age…

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    Whilst the Brexit result of the EU referendum may have made many in the UK feel more distant from their European neighbours, it seems that the retirement proposals of a number of countries may be closer to our own than you might think. The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, recently made a muted proposal to raise the retirement age to 69 by 2060....
  • Triggering pensions freedoms without a plan could be costing you money

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    According to recent research, the introduction of pension freedoms has led to many thousands of people taking out large sums from their retirement funds, then leaving it earning them next to nothing in low-interest accounts. The figures from Citizens Advice who carried out the study suggest that around three in ten people are currently doing this,...
  • Would you be happy renting in retirement?

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    A major goal for many during their retirement will be to enjoy their home after finishing paying off their mortgage. Depending on when you purchased your house however, and with house prices seeing a rise of 30% in the past decade, owning outright is becoming more difficult to achieve for some. Renting during retirement is therefore becoming more a...
  • Triggering pensions freedoms without a plan could be costing you money

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    According to recent research, the introduction of pension freedoms has led to many thousands of people taking out large sums from their retirement funds, then leaving it earning them next to nothing in low-interest accounts. The figures from Citizens Advice who carried out the study suggest that around three in ten people are currently doing this,...
  • Online pensions dashboard getting closer

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    Origo, the technology provider taking the lead on developing an online pensions dashboard, has suggested that a fully operational platform could go live as early as next year. The company revealed last month that the back-end technology is now finished, meaning that only the front-end (the part users will interact with) needs to be completed before...
  • Is working part of your retirement plan?

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    A recent study analysing the income statistics for pensioners has found that more people aged over 65 are continuing to work after they officially retire. Figures suggest that the amount of pensioners doing so is around 13%, an increase from just 8% over the past ten years. That figure might sound small, but it equates to 1.1 million people boostin...
  • Earning over £150,000? You need to review your pension. Here’s why.

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    If your annual income is above £150,000, then your pension allowance has been subject to tapering since April this year. For every £2 of income over £150,000, your £40,000 annual allowance is reduced by £1, with the reduction rounded down to the nearest whole pound if necessary. Reductions are capped at £30,000, meaning that those with incomes of £...
  • Understanding pensions – what is drawdown?

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    Drawdown is a way of achieving greater flexibility with your pension funds. Every time you move your money into drawdown, you’re allowed to take 25% of this as a lump sum, which is exempt from tax. The rest continues as an investment, with taxable income able to be drawn straight from your pension whenever you choose. The tax-free lump sum must be...
  • A stark warning for pensioners in The Telegraph

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    The thought of not having enough money to live on during your retirement is not something that those with sizeable pension pots, nearing the end of their working lives, have had to worry about until recently. However, this is now an issue causing more and more sleepless nights, as reported in a recent article in The Telegraph looking into the finan...
  • What is pension salary sacrifice and can you still do it?

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    A recent report in the Financial Times discussed the changes to pensions tax relief that could be on the horizon, one of which is the potential for pension salary sacrifice to be abolished by the government. But, unless you’re someone currently either offering or receiving salary sacrifice, it’s quite likely that you’re unaware of both what it is a...
  • The ‘money-gap’ generation

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    A recent survey has revealed that employees from all across the age spectrum have considerable gaps in their financial knowledge. Out of over 500 respondents, more than seven in ten of people from the generation X and millennials age groups did not have an understanding of pension investments. Additionally, 49% of those surveyed said that their pre...
  • Alexander Beard Group’s EU Referendum summary and viewpoint

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    Britain Takes Back Control. Or Does It? This somewhat, necessarily, lengthy note covers the likely consequences of Britain’ historic decision. It our attempt to give you an overview of how things currently stand following the Leave campaign victory; but you will appreciate that events are moving very quickly. ‘I declare that the total votes cast f...
  • The new state pension and how it will affect you

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    The new single-tier state pension, also referred to as a ‘flat-rate’ pension, came into effect at the start of April this year. Whilst it makes the system simpler, as well as increasing the basic state pension from around £120 per week to a starting figure of £155 per week, the new system is not set to benefit everyone. To find out whether you’re o...
  • Four new laws and how they’ll change the way you live

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    2016 has seen a number of new laws introduced by the government, and whilst some were widely reported, others feel conspicuous by their absence in the media. Here are four which could have a major impact on how both you and the British public in general live day to day: Immigration rules for working people have got stricter – From April this year,...
  • Retirement plans on hold for many over 50s

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    A third of people aged over 50 who are employed in the private sector are now planning to retire later than they previously hoped, Aviva’s latest Working Lives report reveals. The 2016 report – which comprises research among UK private sector employers and employees – has a particular focus on employees aged over 50, following the end of compulsor...
  • Four European destinations to make your pension go further

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    If you’re looking for ways to ensure you can enjoy as much of your hard-earned pension as possible when you retire, then moving elsewhere in Europe could be your best bet. The benefits aren’t limited to a different culture to explore and better weather than the UK; all the retirement destinations we discuss below offer a range of financial advantag...
  • When was the last time your friends and family reviewed their pension?

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    A survey carried out by YouGov only a few years ago found that over half the respondents who contributed to either a personal or workplace pension scheme had not reviewed their pension in the preceding three years. More worryingly, many of these people admitted that they had never carried out a pension review. If this sounds like you, then it’s po...
  • Pension Freedoms: the first twelve months in numbers

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    It was a year ago that the biggest pension shake-up seen this generation came into force. Whilst there hasn’t been quite the stampede of people determined to withdraw every penny from their pension early, to splash out on a hot tub or luxury cruise, the statistics from the last twelve months suggest that those who have taken advantage of the change...
  • What's new in the new tax year?

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    In this article we provide a reminder of the various changes that have taken place from 6th April which will have an impact on the financial planning world. This includes changes in the areas of pensions, taxation and savings. Pensions Lifetime allowance – has reduced from £1.25m to £1m. Two new protections are available (Individual Protection 201...
  • News and info from our Dutch office

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    Defined Contribution plans in the Netherlands In a DC pension scheme the employee accrues a pension capital based on the invested capital. The capital must be converted to an annuity on or before the retirement date. In principle, the investment risk and the interest rate risk (the risk that the rate for purchasing an annuity changes) rest with th...
  • The ‘Brexit’ impact on your pension

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    In the lead up to the budget announcement, George Osborne seemed to bow to the pressure David Cameron and other members of the Conservative Party were putting on him to soften his approach when it comes to pensions and tax relief. Ahead of the announcement, treasury sources suddenly began to indicate that now is ‘not the right time’ to make such bo...
  • How long before pension tax relief fills the ‘Black Hole’?

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    Before the March 2016 Budget there had been much speculation that the Chancellor was planning big changes to the tax relief on pensions. However, just before the Budget, the Treasury scotched rumours of such changes and subsequently there were no changes to pension savings tax relief in the forecast Budget. But then came the ‘Black Hole’ when the o...
  • Will we get a fairer state pension deal for women?

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    A recent Saga article claims that the battle to give women a fairer deal over their state pensions scored a significant victory early in January, when it was the subject of a House of Commons debate. Although the debate had no power to directly alter government policy, it represented yet another important step in bringing the campaign into the publ...
  • Retirement ‘class of 2016’ owe less than last year’s

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    The amount of money owed by those planning to retire over the course of the next 12 months has fallen for the fourth year in row, according to the latest research by Prudential. This year’s retirees who still have debts owe an average of £18,800, a fall of £3,000 or 14% from last year and a drop of nearly £20,000 since 2012 when the average amount...
  • Could changes in pension tax relief spell the end of the pension itself?

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    There’s a lot that’s likely to change about your pension in the near future, which in turn will have an impact on all sorts of other factors regarding savings for your retirement. Depending on what changes the government imposes on how pensions are taxed and the amount of tax relief allowed on pension contributions, you may end up needing to pay co...
  • Will we get a fairer state pension deal for women?

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    A recent Saga article claims that the battle to give women a fairer deal over their state pensions scored a significant victory early in January, when it was the subject of a House of Commons debate. Although the debate had no power to directly alter government policy, it represented yet another important step in bringing the campaign into the publ...
  • Pension tax changes: Should you pay more before relief rates are curtailed?

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    Given recent comment from George Osborne, and mentions of the same during the Autumn Statement, it appears as though pension tax is set for a shake-up in 2016. With that in mind, there appears to be a potential opportunity for higher-rate taxpayers to make the most of their savings while the good times last. Though not confirmed at this current tim...
  • Seven suggestions made to the government during the consultation on pension taxation

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    The Government has recently finished a consultation looking at how pension taxation could work in the future. The Chancellor, George Osborne, has said that he expects to reveal the findings and the direction he is going to take during the March Budget. But is there any way to take an advance look at the situation? What has the Chancellor considered...
  • Wijzigingen 2016 in werknemersvoorzieningen

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    Pensioen Jaarlijks worden diverse wettelijke bedragen voor de Nederlandse pensioenregelingen aangepast. Hieronder staan de belangrijkste wijzigingen. Franchise Pensioensysteem Minimale fiscal franchise Eindloonregeling € 14,657 Middelloonregeling € 12,953 Beschikbarepremieregeling € 12,953 In een pensioenregeling moet re...
  • Changes 2016 in employee benefit legislation

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    Retirement Every year several figures for pension plans in the Netherlands are updated. Please find the most important changes below. Offset Pension system Minimum required offset Final Pay € 14,657 Average Pay € 12,953 Defined Contribution € 12,953   The offset has to be taken into account because of the social state...
  • 7 Reasons why you should review your Pension’s in 2016

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    1 - Major changes to pension Tax Relief likely We already know high earners will be hit from 6 April 2016. The amount they can invest in a pension and receive tax relief on will fall to as little as £10,000. You are likely to be affected if your income is more than £150,000, although those with lower incomes could also be caught. But further chang...
  • 10 ways to save money in 2016

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    Is sorting out your finances top of your new year’s resolution list? Here’s a few ways the government can help to get you started in 2016. Please note that tax advice is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and that this article is not for your personal advice. If you wish to talk to your adviser please do call us. If you’re saving fo...
  • ISA Contributions

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    The deadline for 2015/6 ISA contributions is on the horizon and provides the opportunity to invest £15,240 (£30,480 per couple) in an extremely tax efficient environment. Rules now allow you to combine both cash and stocks & shares within the allowance and it is important to remember contributions can be made using single and regular monthly co...
  • The Pensions Regulator takes action on non-compliance

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    The Pensions Regulator (TPR) publishes annual and quarterly commentary and analysis on automatic enrolment and the powers they have used to ensure employer compliance over the relevant period. The data gives a breakdown of which of the several compliance enforcement actions have been applied. The analysis and data published in the TPR June 2015 rep...
  • Millions given freedom over their pension as government outlines new secondary annuity market

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    This summarises the UK Government’s proposal to allow people in receipt of an annuity in payment to exchange income for capital….. We have summarised what we believe to be the main challenges of this proposed change at the end of the note and would be happy to address any questions that you may have. From 6 April 2017 more than five million people...
  • What is a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)?

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    Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) are designed to give you greater control over your retirement savings. With a SIPP you can choose from a wide range of high quality investments, manage them for yourself and consolidate your existing pensions in one place. A SIPP is different to other pension saving forms and can give you more control over yo...
  • Tapering Annual Allowance and Pension Input Periods

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    The government announced on 8 July 2015, that for 2016 to 2017 onwards the annual allowance for tax relieved pension savings will be reduced for those with incomes of over £150,000. Their annual allowance will be reduced by £1 for every £2 of income they have over £150,000, with a maximum reduction of £30,000. In advance of the introduction of this...
  • Autumn Statement 2015 – 9 points to note

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    On 25 November 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Autumn Statement and spending review. This event allows the government to outline its taxation and spending plans, based on economic projections through to the tax year 2020/21. The Chancellor covered a wide range of issues. Below we provide comment on news relevant to savers and th...
  • Money trumps health as top retirement concern

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    Concerns over money dominate the thinking of pre-retirees, according to new research from Retirement Advantage. Conducted by YouGov, the study finds almost half (49%) of over 50s are worried about not having enough money in retirement to do the things they want to do, compared to just over a third (37%) who are concerned about health problems. Fin...
  • Have you stranded your pension in Malta?

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    Due to the historic inability to move a pension from the UK directly to the US, many UK expats, who are now US residents, moved their pensions to Malta. Malta has a favourable tax treaty with the US and allows pension access from that country, so a move to Malta may have made sense in the past. Now, however, with the advent of FATCA and the knock-o...
  • State Pension changes in 2016 – can I top up my pension?

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    A new initiative allows people who reach the state pension age before April 2016, to top up their pension. This includes those that are already drawing the state pension. The Government is allowing retirees to buy extra state pension by paying so-called Class 3A voluntary National Insurance contributions between October 2015 and April 2017. This wi...
  • Pension Death Benefits - The New Rules

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    Major changes to the tax charges that apply to benefits paid on the death of a pension scheme member have taken effect from 6 April 2015. These changes affect uncrystallised pensions, drawdown pensions and annuities. Under the new rules the key factor is the age at which a member dies. OPTIONS AND TAXATION Member’s age at date of death & Optio...
  • Devon tops the table for pensioner well-being

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    The South West of England appears to be the place to live if you want a long, healthy and safe retirement, according to a new league table of pensioner well-being developed by Prudential. The league table, which uses a combination of census data and results from the insurer’s own retirement research, ranks the top 20 counties in England and Wales a...
  • Should we scrap tax reliefs on pensions and create a lifetime ISA for all?

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    A single Lifetime ISA for everyone should be created with all tax reliefs on pension contributions being scrapped, a leading figure at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has proposed, according to an article published by the CPS. Research Fellow Michael Johnson said the opportunity has come for a radical overhaul of savings after the Chancellor la...
  • What’s really on the bucket list of the UK over 55s?

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    Consumer Intelligence conducted an independent online survey for Prudential between 6 and 10 July 2015, among a sample of 1,157 UK adults aged 45+, including 645 aged 55 or above, asking respondents what made up their own personal ‘bucket list’. Travel dreams make up seven of the top 10 wish-list experiences and activities that most over-55s would...
  • Personal savings shortfall? The state pension may not be the answer to bridging it.

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    The typical working over-45 year old faces a £8,955 annual retirement income gap based on their current savings and investments – meaning they will rely heavily on a state pension that will still leave them short, the latest Aviva Real Retirement Report shows. The report reveals that over-45s, who are not yet retired, typically expect to need an a...
  • Money is more worrying than Health to over-50s

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    Concerns over money dominate the thinking of pre-retirees, according to new research from Retirement Advantage. Conducted by YouGov in May 2015 with over one thousand survey respondents aged over 50 and not in retirement, the study finds almost half (49%) of the over 50s are worried about not having enough money in retirement to do the things they...
  • What is the New State Pension?

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    The so-called ‘New State Pension’ will come into force on April 6th 2016 and will affect all pensioners who reach state pension age from that date onwards. For women, this means that you will be affected if you were born on or after 6th April 1953. For men, you will be affected if you were born on or after 6th April 1951. The New State Pension is...
  • Infographic: What could you buy with the average UK pension pot?

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  • Discriminatory expat state pensions

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    Retiring abroad is a common desire for many in the UK. For those that move to the sunny Mediterranean countries of the EC their UK state pension is preserved and increased each year. If you move to the United States, it is preserved and again increases each year in line with state pensions paid in the UK. This is not the case for every destination...
  • The dash for ‘pension freedom’ retirement cash slows down

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    After an initial dash for cash following the introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015, customers are taking more time to consider their options, according to a Scottish Widows reported published on the 1st June 2015. From the initial surge at the beginning of April until the middle of May, Scottish Widows has seen a 72% drop in full pension e...
  • New tax threat to those moving a pension abroad

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    The new pension freedoms, which came into force on April 6th 2015, have highlighted a potential problem for UK nationals looking to emigrate abroad and take their pensions with them. Whilst the new pension freedoms create greater flexibility for those accessing their pensions, they do not allow access to pensions before the age of 55. This has caus...
  • Early working life? It pays to get into pension saving now!

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    The new pension rules mean that there’s much more flexibility and choice over how we take our cash in retirement than ever before. Whether you’re in your early 20s or bidding farewell to your 30s, it’s time to get to grips with pensions so you can take advantage of the new rules. The sooner you start paying into your pension, the more time and oppo...
  • Pensions and ISAs compared – how can you decide which is best?

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    According to HMRC, 45% of savers in stocks and shares ISAs are aged 55 or over. These savers already understand the mantra of ‘gross is good’ and have chosen an investment on which there’s no additional tax due on investment growth and income. What many investors seem to be unaware of is that the exact same tax treatment is available on funds held...
  • Lesley Stevens - Quarterly Newsletter (May 2015)

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    Changes to UK State Pension are imminent It will be called “The New State Pension.” The change will affect people who reach retirement age on or after 6th April 2016 – This is men born on or after 6th April 1951 and women born on or after 6th April 1953. 35 years of National Insurance contributions will ensure a full New State Pension, currently gu...
  • Protecting your savings: Pull up the drawbridge and drop the portcullis!

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    We are hearing a lot through the media about the attacks we may experience under the new UK Pension Reform arrangements and regulations, when we gain access to our pension pots and can choose to do what we like with them. What an opportunity for fraudsters who right now are ready to assault our new wealth castles! We will have all seen stories in t...
  • The Impact of Automatic Enrolment

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    The Office of National Statistics 2014 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings provides us with evidence of the considerable impact of Automatic Enrolment within the pensions arena – for employees and employers. According to the survey findings: - Workplace pension scheme membership has increased to 59% in 2014, from 50% in 2013, driven by increases i...
  • With Pension Reform come Pension Pot Scams!

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    One in ten pensioners has been approached by a fraudster looking to gain access to their cash, according to recent research. The study from MetLife found people in South West Britain were most vulnerable to scams with 14% of retirees targeted, compared to just 3% in the East and 5% in Scotland. In a Pension Professionals article, it was reported th...
  • Ten questions to ask yourself about the new pension freedoms

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    1 – How long will my money have to last? We now tend to live longer. An average 65 year old in good health is expected to live for another 24 years and one in four people could now live to see their 95th birthday. Our retirement savings are going to have to last us for a long time – perhaps 30 years or more. Leaving them where they are for longer c...
  • Top 10 Findings from the Purple Book of Pension Scheme Assessment

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    The Ninth annual edition of the ‘Purple Book’ published by the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Protection Fund organisation at the end of October, analyses the performance of the UK Private sector Direct Benefit Pension Schemes in the 2013-14 financial year. The top ten findings in the Purple Book report are: 1. The aggregate funding position...
  • Gender gap in pension savings narrow, as women benefit from Workplace Pension changes

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    The number of women saving adequately for retirement has shifted from a record low to a four-year high in the last 12 months, according to Scottish Widows’ annual Women and Retirement Report. Half of the UK female population is now preparing adequately – the first increase recorded since 2011 – a leap of 10 percentage points from 40 to 50 in the pa...
  • Two weeks on: the other outcomes from the Autumn Statement

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    Many clients will have already seen our Autumn Statement Summary, which analyses in detail the main points from The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, made on 3rd December. Like many major government announcements though, the real headlines and many of the outcomes from the statement only became clear in the weeks after George Osborne stood in parliame...
  • Pensions in 2015: a brief update on what to look out for

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    2014 was a momentous year for pensions. Changes around how pensions could be drawn at retirement and how death taxes on pensions would be improved were both announced in the year, with the intention that all these new rules will be in place by 6th April 2015. For a pension saver, the landscape has changed and will continue to do so, resulting in ma...
  • Video: What happens to my pension when I die?

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    With the Chancellor’s recent announcement that the government plans to abolish the 55% so-called ‘death tax’ on pensions, we thought it was important to provide a bit more background about what happens to the legacy you leave behind. In the below video, we explore the death tax cut and why inheritance planning is so important. https://www.youtube...
  • Pension planning for Brits in the US – QROPS vs UK pensions.

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    By Philip Teague, Divisional Director - Expat and Emigration Division, Alexander Beard For a long time now, the appropriate use of QROPS for British expats who are resident in the US, has been in debate. Some see it as a credible solution whilst others say that the risks far outweigh the benefits. QROPS are a legitimate pension solution to a great...
  • Expat pensioners cash in as pound value soars

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    Retired British expats who choose to live in the Eurozone have seen the income from their basic State Pension rise by nearly 10 per cent in the past year according to new analysis by the Prudential. UK Pensioners living in the Eurozone now find their annual income from the basic State Pension at €7,344.44 – a rise of €661.24 since this time last ye...
  • Pension changes won’t prevent interest only mortgage crisis

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    Access to pension pots announced in this years’ Budget will not stem the looming interest-only mortgage crisis, Age UK is warning. From 2017, 40,000 interest only mortgages owned by borrowers aged 65 and over will mature every year. Interest only mortgage borrowers believe their average shortfall will be just over £22,000. But the latest estimate b...
  • The Rise of the Pensioner Millionaires

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    More than one million pensioner households in the UK now have total wealth of more than £1m according to analysis by Prudential of the latest ONS data for 2010-2012. The analysis shows that the number of millionaire pensioner households has soared by 69% compared with 2006-2008 when the number stood at just over 636,000. This means that more than o...
  • New flexible pensions: why we will not be spending them all at once…

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    Much has been written about the new dawn of pensions flexibility ushered in by the Chancellor in his last budget. Amidst the thunderous applause and cries of ‘long overdue!’ from most pension holders there were, however, stern noises from certain quarters – Labour’s Ed Balls among them – that the overwhelming temptation for many would be to rush ou...
  • 7 Alternatives to using pensions to save for retirement

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    Faced with a hefty 55 per cent pensions tax bill because of HM Revenue & Customs new lower lifetime pensions allowance, many middle-to-high earners with generous pension arrangements are seriously on the lookout for alternatives to pensions as savings vehicles for retirement. That is quite a few savers potentially hunting around, considering th...
  • Video: Big changes are coming to your pension

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    In the March 2014 Budget, George Osborne announced significant new changes to the pension system, which will come into force in 2015. These changes will have a big impact on how you can take your pension, with more flexibility available but better planning required to ensure your pension will last for your entire retirement. The changes may seem co...
  • Understanding QROPS in five easy steps

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      Step 1 - Know what QROPS stands for and what it means QROPS stands for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme and it refers to overseas pension schemes which meet HMRC requirements to receive a payment from a UK registered pension scheme without the individual having to pay tax on the transfer. A QROPS should be broadly similar to a U...
  • Budget 2014 Overview

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    Whether you are a client based in the UK or abroad, we are sure you will be interested in learning how the UK Government’s 2014 Budget might affect you and your finances. George Osborne delivered the Budget to Parliament on 19th March and we have put together the following analysis and summary, which details all of Mr Osborne’s major announcements,...