Posts in News
Is buying a state pension top-up worthwhile?

As part of your overall financial planning, one item that is worth considering is your state pension and whether you are on track to get the full amount. If not, it is possible to buy top-ups, which could boost your payout by £244 a year for life. The 2017/18 voluntary payment, under the Class 3 National Insurance top-up scheme, costs £741 and will get you nearer to, or over, the threshold for the maximum state pension payout – currently £164.35 a week. Such an opportunity can be particularly relevant for those who have contracted out of part of the state pension at some point previously during their working life.

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Can I use equity release to pay for care?

It’s one of the scary things about growing old, isn’t it? We’re all living longer, thanks to medical science but does that mean more of us are going to end up in a care home, struggling to find the means to pay for it? A year in a care home can cost more than £50,000. This means some families are accumulating huge bills. If you have assets of more than £23,250 (slightly more in Scotland and Wales), the law states that you must fund all your care costs yourself, without any help from the Local Authority. This figure includes property, so if you have your own home, you won’t be eligible for any support.

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Over 60s are jumping off the property ladder. Here’s why…

In 2007, there were 254,000 older people living in private rented accomodation. According to research by the Centre for Ageing Better, over the last decade that figure has skyrocketed to 414,000. If things continue the way they’re going, they estimate that over a third of those over 60 will be privately renting by 2040. So why the shift? Renting comes with some clear benefits. Having to pay stamp duty becomes a thing of the past, as does worrying about managing property maintenance. A certain sense of freedom comes with renting too, particularly in terms of location. It’s a great opportunity to finally live on the coastline or in the city centre that you’ve always wanted to, but have not been able to afford to.

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Are mini-bonds a good alternative to savings?

You may have seen mini-bonds advertised, offering as much as 10% returns over reasonably short timeframes. Companies such as John Lewis, Hotel Chocolat and Naked Wines have famously employed them as a way of accruing debt-based funding. If you’re an individual with some capital available for investment, these numbers can be very enticing, but it’s important for you to be aware of the risks involved. Mini-bonds generally have terms of three to five years. If you choose to invest, you will earn interest at regular intervals and when the bond matures and you reach the end of the agreed term, you’ll receive your initial stake with a lump sum of interest. Does that sound too good to be true? If everything runs smoothly, they can definitely provide you a great return on your investment.

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What does Chartered mean and why do we use it?

You may have heard of some financial firms as being Chartered and wondered what it stands for. The general definition of a Chartered professional is ‘someone who has gained a specific level of skill or competence in a particular field of work, recognised by the award of a formal credential from a professional body’. Chartered status is considered a mark of professional competency and is awarded mainly by Chartered professional bodies and learning societies. It originates, in fact, from Royal Charters being issued to professional bodies by the British Monarch. However, in terms of financial matters, corporate Chartered status is awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to firms of Chartered Insurers, Chartered Insurance Brokers and Chartered Financial Planners. There are also five individual Chartered titles: Chartered Insurance Broker, Chartered Insurer, Chartered Insurance Practitioner, Chartered Insurance Risk Manager, and Chartered Financial Planners.

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