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9 financial planning steps you should take in the 5 years before you retire

For most of us, it’s simple. Go to work every month, get paid, have a look at the pension deduction on your wage slip. Once a year you receive a pension update that you don’t really understand. Oh well, pop it in the drawer with all the other updates… And then one morning it hits […]

Beware of the dog – the importance of monitoring funds regularly

If you watch the money programmes on TV or read the financial pages of the newspapers, you might have come across the term ‘dog fund.’ What does the term mean? And why is it so important to the ordinary investor? Put simply, a ‘dog’ is a poorly performing investment fund. Let me explain in more […]

Higher rate pension savers missing out on tax relief

Figures from HMRC show that 55 per cent of the estimated 900,000 higher rate taxpayers in the UK contribute to defined contribution pension schemes. They have an average salary of £51,580 and make contributions of £425 each month on average. Basic rate 20 per cent tax relief is received automatically at source and is worth […]

September market commentary

Anyone remember August 2007? Kanye West was number one with Stronger, Sven-Goran Eriksson was Premier League manager of the month – and the world was having a financial crisis. August 2007 was “when the world changed” according to Adam Applegarth, the ex-CEO of Northern Rock. It was the month when the US Federal Reserve and […]

The morality of avoiding or evading taxation

What a window of opportunity for the British taxpayer and ‘non-taxpayer’ to reflect on their perceptions of the morality of people in the UK who avoid or evade paying tax! A widely-held traditional British view of tax evasion and tax avoidance has been clear – tax evasion is illegal, while tax avoidance is legal. In […]

June market commentary

There’s an old stock market adage which says “Sell in May and go away.” This year, “Sell before May and go as far away as possible” might have been more appropriate, as world stock markets tumbled throughout the month. Only one market – Malaysia – managed a gain in the month and several recorded double […]

Over 50s’ views on pension reforms

Recent proposals from the Coalition Government around pension reforms have not been well received , according to findings in the May 2012 LV= State of Retirement Report. The report examined over-50s views on which proposals and initiatives are fair against the current economic backdrop and identified that: Nearly a third (32%) believe the introduction of […]

The Governance of Pension Schemes

The Pensions Regulator has regulatory priorities for trust-based pension scheme governance and the roles and functions of trustees, in seven key areas of responsibility: That pension scheme trustees have knowledge and understanding of the relevant codes of practice. The Regulator has standards of performance for trustee Governance and works with stakeholders to ensure that these […]

A wet and dry summer

Across the UK, we generally drink more alcohol in the warmer summer months, according to Opinium Research carried out through a March 2012 online survey of 2,024 people aged 18 and above. The Opinium research findings suggest that just over half (56%) of us would admit that we drink once a week or more, however, […]

The rising cost of living

New research from Santander suggests that one in ten adults couldn’t cope financially if their bills were to rise any more over the next year. They could be forced into debt, just to get by. An Opinium survey for Santander of 3,050 UK adults online in April 2012, suggests that one in ten people are […]

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