Taxing times

Reduction in the amount those with income of more than £150,000 can contribute tax-free to pensions each year

A gradual reduction in the tax-free limit on pension contributions from the current £40,000 a year to £10,000 for high income individuals was announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in the July Summer Budget 2015. High income individuals could see their retirement pots reduced by hundreds of thousands of pounds over a lifetime after he confirmed that pensions tax relief will be reduced for those with income (including all pension contributions) of more than £150,000.

Changing financial attitudes

New priorities increase the protection gap

Many Britons consider that having an Internet connection and mobile phone is a greater financial priority than protecting their mortgage and income, according to new research. The economic downturn in previous years, low interest rates, job uncertainty and government cuts appear to have taken their toll on some people’s protection priorities.

Banking on an inheritance

One in three Britons rely on a cash windfall to fund their retirement plans

Anticipated inheritances often don’t materialise. But one in three working Britons (35%) are still relying on an inheritance in order to achieve a stable financial future. The reality is that many could be in for a big shock. The study[1] released by LV= shows millions are banking on an inheritance to provide them with financial assistance, with this cash windfall often key to their retirement plans[2].

Is cash really king?

Retirees exploit new pension freedoms

Since 6 April this year, anyone aged 55 or over could – in theory – empty their money purchase pension funds entirely, although any withdrawals will be treated as income and taxed as such. Nine in ten people (90%) going in to drawdown have taken advantage of the new pension freedoms and have chosen to take a cash lump sum, according to pension provider Zurich. The remainder are opting for an annuity or drawdown.

Investing

Six principles to consider

Successful investing involves making choices that meet your unique needs today and your financial goals for the future. Your personal circumstances will affect your decisions every step of the way. Whether you are saving for a home, retirement or your child’s education, here are six investing principles to consider:

The critical factor

Would a tax-free ‘lump sum’ help if you became seriously ill?

Most home buyers purchase life assurance when they arrange a mortgage, but many overlook another form of financial protection that they are potentially more likely to need prior to retirement.

Lifetime allowance for pension savings

Limiting the value of payouts from pension schemes

The lifetime allowance is a limit on the value of payouts from your pension schemes – whether lump sums or retirement income – that can be made without triggering an extra tax charge.

Taking your whole pension pot as cash

A high-risk and non-tax-efficient way to fund your retirement income

Under new rules introduced in April 2015, you can now take the whole of your pension pot as cash in one go if you wish. However, if you do this, you could end up with a large tax bill and run out of money in retirement.

Taking small cash sums from your pension pot

Consider the tax implications and the risk that your money could run out

Under new flexible rules introduced in April 2015, you can now use your pension pot to take out cash as and when you need it. However, there are tax implications and a risk that your money could run out.

Flexi-access drawdown

Using your pension pot for a flexible retirement income

With flexi-access drawdown, when you come to take your pension, you reinvest your pot into funds designed to provide you with a regular retirement income. This income may vary depending on the fund’s performance and it isn’t guaranteed for life.