It is common practice for people to begin thinking about retirement and their longer-term savings plans as they approach their mid-50s.
Roger Clark, Head of Wealth Management, and Rebecca Williams, Client Director at Brown Shipley, share their top tips to help you plan for the future you want for yourself and your loved ones.
1. Consider a cashflow plan:
As a starting point, we always suggest a cashflow financial plan. This brings together all of your assets, income and expenditure in one place and acts like a personal balance sheet, helping with your wealth planning
. One of the uses of cashflow planning is to look at income sustainability in retirement and help inform a discussion about appropriate levels of investment risk. It is important to review cashflow financial plans regularly, particularly when you experience any changes in your personal circumstances.
2. Invest in ISAs:
ISAs were first introduced over 20 years ago and essentially protect savers from Income and Capital Gains Tax on the underlying investments. This year’s ISA allowance is £20,000, so if you have any surplus income you might want to consider maximising your savings via an ISA.
3. Prioritise your pension:
If you are enrolled in a workplace pension scheme, you might want to consider enquiring into the maximum amount your employer will contribute on your behalf and consider raising your own contributions if there is scope for the company to raise theirs. If you receive an annual bonus, you might be able to sacrifice some of it and benefit from an additional pension contribution; to save income tax and National Insurance contributions immediately and tax on the income and growth in the pension fund over the longer term.
4. Split your investments with your partner:
If there is an unequal division of income married couples or civil partners might want to consider equalizing assets and/or maximising each person’s allowances including their ISA allowance, income tax and capital gains tax allowances and pension contribution limits.
5. Gifts to children:
Different options are available when saving for children, you could consider a Junior ISAs
) which offers tax-free income and growth or establish a pension for your children which would
provides immediate income tax relief on the contribution and tax-free income and growth for the future.
6. Lifetime gifts:
Once you are comfortable that you have sufficient capital and income for your chosen lifestyle, consider other gifts. Outright gifts which utilise the small gifts exemption (£250), the annual exemption (£3,000) or are normal gifts from excess income all offer immediate relief from Inheritance Tax.
7. Make time for trusts:
Trusts can be complex and costly but they don’t have to be. Grandparents might consider using a bare trust to gift money to minor grandchildren which can be used to pay school fees. The advantage of using a bare trust in this way is that the money inside the trust is treated as belonging to the child for tax purposes, allowing them to make use of their personal tax allowances and exemptions which may otherwise go unused.
8. Invest in VCTs or an EIS:
Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) were introduced by the Government to encourage investment into early stage, innovative companies and offer investors a range of tax incentives. They can be of interest to those who pay higher or top rates of tax or who are restricted or not able to make pension contributions. However, these investments are high risk and should be considered carefully as part of a diversified portfolio.
9. Don’t forget life assurance:
Life assurance won’t reduce your potential inheritance tax liability but written under trust, will provide your beneficiaries with money to pay the bill. This could avoid your executors having to liquidate assets, like property or investments, in your estate. You need to be comfortable with paying premiums until you die and life assurance is therefore often a long term commitment when considering wealth planning.
10. Family investment:
If you have significant capital, perhaps from the sale of a business, you may want to consider establishing a Family Investment Company (FIC). A FIC is a private investment company whose shareholders are ordinarily family members. The company’s articles of association and memorandum are drafted to fit the needs of the family. A FIC offers certain tax advantages and can be used to pass wealth tax efficiently to the next generation whilst at the same time safeguarding family assets.
Brown Shipley has wealth planning expertise to help you make the right decision for your future financially, get in touch today.
Roger Clark // Head of Wealth Management
Rebecca Williams // Client Director.