The push to be better

Planning your pension

The fire in your belly to push on up every ladder you have access to – work, property, income, business – is still alive and well and burning away at you every day. With the responsibilities of partners, family, mortgage, child care costs and home improvements bearing down on your finances, the need to push to be better has never been so pronounced. And you want to get most of it done because you fear the dreaded ‘40’ tag a few years away!

You’re ambitious and keen to succeed, and this should be reflected in – and supported by – your financial planning. You’ve probably built up some savings, maybe some stocks & shares investments, and it’s likely that you’ll have a pension plan or two over your evolving career. But are they working as hard as you are?

Sure, retiring might seem a long way off at the moment, that’s what your parents do, but the day will come eventually – how will you support yourself? The State Pension will only cover the very basics, if it still exists by then. And anyway, you’ve got to pay for family, holidays, Christmas, car insurance... you know what’s in the way in the meantime.

Lots to think about... luckily, the SaidSo team is on hand to help.

Pensions: check what you’ve got and think about further funding

Hopefully you’ve got a pension going, even a few. Whether these are small or large pension funds, it’s important to make sure the underlying investment funds are in line with your attitude to investment risk. Plus, keep an eye on the charges that you’re paying on each plan. Don’t forget to check the death benefit nominations on all your pension plans as well – you may have last made them when you were without a partner, or with a different partner.

If you haven’t really been interested in contributing into a pension up to now, there’s still time – although it’s ideal to start saving for your retirement as early as possible. You’ve sadly still got 25+ years or so of work ahead of you and those years will fly by, though, so get your pension planning sorted now.

Check your (and your partner’s) State Pension at the same time. It’s a valuable source of index-linked income in retirement and it’s a great idea to check what you might be entitled to when you reach State Pension Age. Get your free forecast here.

So you know, the State Pension age is rising, and will reach age 66 for both men and women by 2020, increasing further after this.

Your savings and investments

Hopefully you’ve built up some cash savings by this stage and potentially some stocks & shares investments too. Make sure you maintain cash savings equivalent to around 3-6 months’ income as a minimum in readily accessible funds so that it’s easy to get to in an emergency. You might want more to feel secure. If you’ve built up more cash than this, is it working hard enough for you? Check out the interest rates available on the high street and don’t forget about other cash-type investments, such as NS&I Premium bonds.

And remember to use your tax-efficient ISA allowance every year, either for cash or stocks & shares investments: it’s a great opportunity to shelter at least some of your money from tax. If you have a partner, they can also use their allowance each year.

Being your own boss

If you’ve started your own business, you probably know by now the ups and downs of each year’s trading. Exciting and scary, all rolled into one!

There are lots of tax-efficient ways you can control your income from a business. As an example, the way dividend income is taxed changed in April 2016, with Dividend Tax Credit being replaced by a new tax-free dividend allowance. This means that you won’t pay tax on the first £2,000 gross of your dividend income in the current tax year, regardless of what other income you have coming in. The headline rates of dividend tax are as follows, above the tax-free level of £2,000 gross pa:

  • 7.5% on dividend income within the basic rate income tax band
  • 32.5% on dividend income within the higher rate income tax band
  • 38.1% on dividend income within the additional rate income tax band

We are not accountants and you might need to take some advice in this area, but SaidSo can look at the implications for your financial planning.

Protecting the family

Always important, especially at this key part of the tapestry that is your life story. If you’ve got enough then great, but check this position to make sure you’re correct. If not, make sure that once debts are repaid, there is enough to keep the family afloat if you died or suffered from ill health. Don’t forget to check your partner’s protection to ensure that if they die or fall ill, you are protected as well. This is often overlooked, with horrid consequences if it goes wrong.

Also, make a will and keep it up to date. If you die without one, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, and this might not be what you want, especially if you’ve got a partner and children.

Great guidance, but what about advice for me?

We hope you have been inspired to take action for your financial planning from the notes above. This SaidSo free guide is for guidance only. SaidSo can help with your own individual independent financial advice. But what is the real value of advice to you and how can it help meet your objectives?

Why should online financial advice be important to you?

No one likes to be sold to, but most like to be advised. Being wise after an event is usually pointless and some would argue an exact science, detailing what you should have done had you known the outcome. So what is advice – and, in this context, financial advice?

Definition of advice: guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent action.

For those that want to know, the definition of selling is: persuade someone of the merits of. I suppose you could argue that we are selling you the merits of the real value of online financial advice...and you would be right...even if we have SaidSo!

So, what does advice mean in the context of financial advice? And most importantly what does it mean to you?

It could be:

  • Saving money.
  • Reaching and fulfilling a target or ambition in the future.
  • Having enough money to survive.
  • Saving tax.
  • Managing expectations as to what your future world could look like.
  • Being assured you know where you are with your wealth and cash.
  • Protecting your loved ones if you are present or not.
  • Having enough money to have some fun!
  • Having more money than you would have had if you had been left to your own actions.
  • Education to know what to do and in what order.
  • Not dying at your desk because you had to work to the bitter end to make ends meet.
  • Getting someone who knows what they’re doing to make it happen for you.

...and of course a combination of some or all of the above.

If you value any of the points above, then, in reality, you value financial advice. And we are not talking about buying products, although that might be part of your eventual solution, we’re talking about you planning to run your life the way you want it.

It’s almost a statement of your personal freedom. And what price would you put on that? If you think that financial advice is not for you, even at the low, transparent and fixed costs that charges...think about your future personal freedom...and think again.

‘Show me the advice value!’ I hear you shout! Check out how SaidSo can help below...

Our other planning services

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