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Family Financial Support Continues.

Family Financial Support Continues.

Over half (56%) of first-time buyers aged under 35 receive financial support, averaging £19,000, from the Bank of Mum and Dad (BoMaD) to help them get onto the property ladder3. BoMaD continues to play a major part in the housing market, with 71% of BoMaD funded homeowners saying they wouldn’t have bought without financial support and instead would have delayed their home purchase plans by an average of four years.

3Legal & General, 2020

Faults Found After Moving-In Day.

Faults Found After Moving-In Day.

Research2 has found that more than three-quarters of Brits (77%) have found a fault after moving into their new home. The most commonly missed faults are damp or mould (24%), poor electrics (22%), poor plumbing (20%), cosmetic issues with walls, ceilings or internal fixings 19%), and poor or no central heating (18%). It’s important to have a survey before purchasing a property as the average cost of putting the defects right is around £5,000.

2Compare the Market, 2020

New Parking Scam

New Parking Scam

Fraudsters have been pocketing cash in a recent online scam by renting out parking spaces and driveways that don’t belong to them. One website, which lists vacant parking spots to other drivers, unknowingly listed locations advertised by scammers and in some cases, owners have returned home to find cars parked in their private parking spaces. It isn’t straightforward to remove a car parked on your property as legal loopholes make removal very difficult.

IHT Receipts Fall for The First Time in a Decade.

IHT Receipts Fall for The First Time in a Decade.

Inheritance Tax (IHT) receipts have fallen for the first time since 2009, according to data from HMRC. The amount of IHT collected in the 2019/20 tax year fell 4% (or £223m) to £5.2bn, with the introduction of the main residence nil rate band (RNRB) said to be the primary driver behind the fall.

The RNRB, introduced in 2017/18, is an additional allowance that is available if a person’s estate includes their home and is left to their direct descendants (children, stepchildren or grandchildren). The RNRB currently stands at £175,000 and, when added to the nil-rate threshold (£325,000), could give rise to an overall IHT allowance of £500,000, unless an estate exceeds £2m, at which point the RNRB starts to reduce.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, any unused threshold can be added to your partner’s threshold when you die, giving a total IHT allowance of up to £1m. Beyond these thresholds, IHT is usually payable at 40%.

Could a Review Be On The Way?
With the furlough scheme alone having already cost the government more than £39.3bn, Chancellor Rishi Sunak may decide to alter IHT rules in the coming months to help fill the hole in his budget. We’ll keep you updated with the latest news and work with you so that you can pass on assets in the most effective way.

Put Your ISA on The Agenda in Q1.

Put Your ISA on The Agenda in Q1.

With the end of the tax year fast approaching (Monday 5 April), if you have cash that you don’t need to access in the short term and would like to use some or all of this year’s ISA allowance, don’t leave it too late and risk missing out on this opportunity to save tax-efficiently; remember you can’t carry any unused allowance over to the next tax year, so timing is important.

The ISA allowance for the 2020/21 tax year is £20,000 and if you’re thinking of saving tax-efficiently for a child, the Junior ISA annual limit is £9,000.

You can put all the allowance into a cash ISA, or invest the whole amount into a stocks and shares ISA. You can also mix and match, putting some into cash and some into stocks and shares if you wish, as long as the combined amount doesn’t exceed your annual allowance.

Now, more than ever, it’s important for people to ensure their savings are offering the best return possible. Putting money aside tax-free is a simple way to make your savings work a little harder, an especially useful tool for those in higher tax brackets who don’t benefit from the Personal Savings Allowance.

With many after-school kids’ clubs off the agenda, why not invest the average spend of £57.36 per week, totalling almost £2,200 over the course of a 38-week school year, into a JISA? It all adds up.

How Much Space Can £231k Buy You?

How Much Space Can £231k Buy You?

The increased time spent at home has prompted many of us to reflect on our living space and contemplate moving. Yet the amount of space you can get for your hard-earned cash varies widely by region.

A study1 has revealed that, based on the UK’s average house price of £231,000, the West Midlands is the UK region with the most living space. Many properties in this region have around 30% more space than average at 104.92 sq. m. Buyers can also expect to benefit from a higher than- average number of bedrooms for their money, averaging 3.02 against the UK’s 2.64. Northern Ireland takes the top spot with an average of 3.26.

London Offers Poorest Value
Meanwhile, those buying in Greater London can expect the smallest living space, at a tiny 45.74 sq. m on average, with some properties measuring as low as just 21 sq. m. House buyers are also less likely to have a garage or utility space compared to those in the West Midlands.

Outside the capital, South East residents are only able to buy an average of 62.91 sq. m. for their £231,000, while those in Scotland can expect 72.31 sq. m.

1Space Station, 2020

Glimmers of Hope for the New Year.

Glimmers of Hope for the New Year.

Over the past year, our vulnerabilities have been starkly exposed by coronavirus, and the pandemic continues to present an array of challenges on many different levels. Economic frailties have also been laid bare but, as we enter a new year, shoots of optimism are beginning to emerge, with rising hopes of recovery in 2021 and beyond.

A Gradual Recovery
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) final 2020 assessment of global economic prospects was entitled ‘A Long and Difficult Ascent’. This provides an apt description of the current situation, with the international soothsayer’s predictions pointing to a moderate rebound in 2021 with a continuing gradual recovery over the following few years.

Reasons to be Cheerful
While the IMF forecast does highlight continuing risks and uncertainties, which largely centre on the future path of the pandemic, there are reasons for some guarded optimism. Continuing progress in the search for COVID-19 vaccines and the economic stimuli promised by US President-elect Joe Biden, for instance, should both have a positive impact on market sentiment during 2021.

Look to the Future
Whatever the future holds though, the key to successful investing will inevitably remain embracing a long-term philosophy that is based on sound financial planning principles. In practice, this means maintaining a diversified investment portfolio which suits your attitude to risk and resisting any urge to panic trade. It also means looking forwards, focusing on future key trends and longer-term investment themes.

Advice Remains Paramount
Another key component for investor success will undoubtedly be the provision of expert advice and the construction of a tailored plan setting out realistic and achievable financial goals. Indeed, given the heightened market turbulence and uncertainty, it has arguably never been more important to obtain professional financial advice. So, get in touch and we’ll help you navigate your way through the opportunities and challenges that emerge as the new year unfolds.

Looking Forward To A Better Year.

Looking Forward To A Better Year.

Last January, as a new decade dawned, little did we know how the next 12 months would unfold. Now, as another year begins, there are growing shoots of optimism but, whatever the year does bring, a crucial lesson from 2020 is undoubtedly the need to prioritise financial wellbeing in order to ensure we can cope with life’s trials and tribulations.

Key Lessons
The coronavirus pandemic has vividly laid bare our fragility and vulnerabilities, and presented immense challenges on many different levels. It’s also reinforced a number of key financial lessons, from the importance of budgeting and building up an emergency savings fund, to investment diversification and holding appropriate life and protection policies.

In short, the pandemic has demonstrated the value of maintaining sound financial planning principles and the peace of mind this delivers. In effect, by getting into good financial habits, it is possible to ensure you are cushioned against the shock when crisis does strike.

Financial Wellbeing
Another key takeaway from last years’ experience has been the entwined relationship between financial wellbeing and emotional wellbeing: while a lack of financial stability typically leads to stress and anxiety, sound finances can provide mental peace.

Research conducted by insurer Royal London also highlights the critical role expert advice plays in improving emotional wellbeing by increasing clients’ financial confidence and resilience. According to the study, advised customers who have an ongoing relationship with their adviser were nearly twice as likely to feel in control of their finances as those who didn’t.

Help at Hand
The New Year period inevitably provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of your finances and build foundations for a better financial future. And seeking professional advice is a vital step in achieving those objectives. So, get in touch and we’ll help you develop sound plans designed to ensure you hit your short and long-term financial goals and ultimately provide a boost to both your financial and emotional wellbeing.