New Year, New Start…

Saunderson HouseHappy New Year from everyone at Saunderson House.

The start of a new year is often a time for reflection, addressing lingering items from the previous year and planning ahead for the year to come. For busy individuals, this can be a good time to bring your personal finances to the top of the pile, at least momentarily taking stock and ensuring not only that you are prepared for the end of the tax year, but that longer-term financial goals are also well planned for.

Tax Year End

The proactive use of basic allowances can be powerful in helping to grow your wealth. A few of these are noted below, with particular attention paid to a closing window of opportunity for pension contributions:

(i) Pensions. Unused allowances may be carried forward for up to 3 years.  From the 2016/17 tax year high earners have been limited to contributions of £10,000 p.a.  The current tax year therefore represents the final opportunity for an individual to carry forward any unused allowance from the 2015/16 tax year when high earners were still entitled to a higher £40,000 pension contribution allowance.

(ii) ISAs (including Lifetime ISAs)

(iii) Capital Gains Tax exemptions

Further information and additional allowances can be found on our end of tax year checklist.

Long-term Planning

It is important to take the time to consider and prioritise your future objectives rather than just focusing on the short term. We help support our clients by providing a comprehensive financial planning and investment management service. By considering their financial situation holistically, we help focus on their investment and associated tax considerations, cash flow planning and modelling, pension planning and inheritance tax and estate planning.

If you have been called to action and are engaging with a new adviser or simply reviewing an existing one, here are a few considerations to bear in mind when evaluating your financial adviser relationship:

  • Are they independent or restricted?
  • How do they charge and are their costs transparent?
  • What resources are available (e.g. in-house investment research team; support structure; professionally qualified advisers to the highest standard)
  • Do they offer advisory or discretionary investment and can they verify investment performance?
  • Ask for references.

With elevated political and economic uncertainty on the immediate horizon, it can be tempting to let sleeping dogs lie.  Whilst our recent financial wellbeing research recognises that there are always some risks outside of personal control, putting a plan in place now will help individuals frame, understand and manage those risks effectively.

If you would find a discussion helpful at this time of year, please get in touch.

By Tom Gerrard, Chartered Financial Planner

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