Talk Money Week

Next week (9th -13th November) is Talk Money Week.  People in the UK don’t talk about their money enough.  Despite the COVID-19 crisis affecting our finances, 9 in 10 UK adults – that’s 47 million of us – don’t find it any easier to talk about money, or don’t even discuss it at all.

Talk Money Week is designed to increase people’s sense of financial wellbeing by encouraging them to open up about personal finance – from pocket money to pensions. Held each November, it’s an opportunity for everyone with an interest in financial wellbeing to get involved with events and activities across the UK, designed to help people have more open conversations about money.

Everyone has money worries – and for many, current affairs in 2020 have made these worse – but just as you can take actions to improve your physical health, you can take some simple steps to feel more in control of your financial wellbeing too. Research shows that people who talk about money:

• make better and less risky financial decisions

• have stronger personal relationships

• help their children form good money habits for life

• feel less stressed or anxious and more in control

Building money conversations into our everyday lives also helps us build financial confidence and resilience to face income shocks, life events and whatever the future throws at us.

For more information about Talk Money Week, please visit https://maps.org.uk/talk-money-week where you’ll find a range of guides to help you start the conversation. Join in the conversation online using #TalkMoneyWeek

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about your financial future, please call us on 0114 235 3500.  We’re operating as normal but can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. 

Pension Awareness Week 2020

Next week sees the return of the annual Pension Awareness Week and this year the roadshows have gone virtual.  The annual campaign takes place around the official UK Pension Awareness Day on 15th September.  The five-day virtual event offers you the chance to have your questions answered and the website will feature a range of videos, blogs, tips and other useful and practical resources. For more information, please visit: https://pensionawarenessday.com/

If you would like pension advice, Hamnett Wealth Management are your local Independent Financial Advisers.  We can look at whether your current pension arrangements are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals. If not, we will recommend actions to take and the likely effect of them in order to secure your financial future.

We ensure that you fully understand all of your numerous retirement options and that you don’t have to take the first offer from your existing pension provider. There is nearly always better value to be had from the open market when considering annuities and the new flexible pension option should also be fully considered.

Our impartial advice takes into account all of this as well as the latest retirement and pension legislation, including the new limits on lifetime allowances. If necessary, we will also recommend any steps you can take to limit your tax liabilities.

We’re operating as normal but can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Please call 0114 235 3500 to arrange a free review meeting or visit www.hamnettwealth.com

Over £30 million lost through pension scams

Pension savers are being warned to watch out for scams as over £30 million has been lost to pension scammers in just three years.

Information released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pension Regulator (TPR) reveals that a total of £30,857,329 has been lost to pension scammers since 2017. The full article can be read online at www.moneyfacts.co.uk

In 2019, the Pensions Transfer Gold Standard was launched. This is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, based around a set of nine principles. Full details at: https://www.thepfs.org/about-us/initiatives/the-pension-transfer-gold-standard/

Firms are required to adopt and promote the principles so consumers can better understand and find good advice, and be confident they are dealing with a firm that goes beyond the minimum requirements.

Hamnett Wealth Management have adopted the Pension Transfer Gold Standard. For more information, please visit https://www.hamnettwealth.com/retirement.html or call us on 0114 235 3500.

Lockdown Pressure Impacts Relationships

Just over 1,000 online divorce applications were lodged in the first week of lockdown.  Figures from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) saw 1,001 web petitions filed between March 23rd and March 31st alone. With statistics for the rest of lockdown not yet available, it is feared that there will be a huge surge in couples deciding to separate.  

Going through a separation or divorce is a difficult and daunting time and it can feel overwhelming with everything that has to be considered.  It is vitally important to think about how the breakdown of a relationship affects any assets, estate and, most importantly, any children.

There will be areas that need dealing with immediately to maintain stability such as bills and mortgage payments. However, once these are taken care of, it is time to look longer-term and seek advice from a professional Independent Financial Adviser.

Hamnett Wealth Management specialises in this area and we can discuss the best way to split assets for separating couples and consider the tax and legal consequences. We are an accredited member of Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales, who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.

Find out more about how we can help by giving us a call on 0114 235 3500 or email us at advice@hamnettwealth.com.

Fraud Prevention

Financial scams are a growing problem, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and predominantly affect the older generation, with the average age of a victim being 75. 

Whilst a lot of these scams occur via the internet, it’s important to remember that not all fraud relies on sophisticated technology. Sometimes a simple deception can separate you from your money.

If you suspect that someone is pretending to be from Hamnett Wealth Management, stop all communications (hang up/don’t answer the email) and call us via a known number you have. Don’t worry – if the person who got in touch with you is indeed from Hamnett Wealth, they won’t mind if you call them back on our main office number.

Remember that fraudsters may contact you by telephone, email, SMS or text, letter or direct you to a website. These may look legitimate, with similar sounding names to a bank or financial institution.

By adding official-looking logos, banking registration details and company numbers, they give the impression that everything is right. If you’re not sure, call the head office switchboard, and never use numbers supplied by the person that you’re suspicious of.

Hamnett Wealth Management will never request personal details or other sensitive information via email. We will never request you to click on a link to access your account.  Looking after your security is a fundamental part of our business.

Jonathan Rowley is a SOLLA accredited Independent Financial Adviser. SOLLA is a not-for-profit organisation founded to make sure older people and their families get the very best advice when it comes to financial planning for later life. SOLLA members keep up-to-date with the fast-moving world of financial fraud and can help to spot the signs of scams. They are dedicated to providing the right advice and with a full understanding of the issues affecting older people and their families.

For more advice on fraud prevention, visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

For more information on SOLLA, visit www.societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk

Summary of Today’s Budget Announcement

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a package to kickstart the economy’s recovery, pledging to “protect, support and create jobs” and get pubs and restaurants “bustling again”. Here is our summary of the main points of today’s mini-budget:

Housing market
Effective immediately, an emergency stamp duty holiday has been unveiled to help revive the property market. Homebuyers will be temporarily exempt from paying the tax for the first £500,000 of any property price, saving them an average of £4,500 and up to £15,000. This will run until the end of March 2021.

Jobs and training
With the furlough scheme ending in October, it was announced that Businesses will be paid a £1,000 job retention bonus for every furloughed worker that is brought back and employed until the end of January 2021.

A new £2bn Kickstart Scheme will create subsidised jobs for unemployed young people and employers will be able to offer a six-month placement for people aged between 16-24.

£111m will be invested to triple the number of traineeships with businesses offered a £1,000 per trainee payment.

For the next six months, the Government will pay businesses up to £2,000 for every new apprentice under 25. It will also pay £1,500 for every new apprentice above 25 hired.

Environment
Homeowners can benefit from £2bn of grants to pay to make their houses more energy efficient. Vouchers worth up to £5,000 will be issued while poorer households could get up to £10,000 to make the upgrades, such as loft and wall insulation.

Up to £40m will be provided for a Green Jobs Challenge Fund to create 5,000 jobs at environmental charities and public authorities.

Hospitality
VAT on food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions has been cut from 20% to 5%.

Every Briton will be given an “eat out to help out” discount. Meals eaten at any participating business Monday to Wednesday in the month of August will be 50% off at up to £10 per head.

Obviously, first and foremost, we want to avoid a second spike in Covid-19 infections but we think that today’s announcement is a welcome boost, both for businesses and the country as a whole.

For more information on today’s budget, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury

In the Summertime…

This week we hope you are able to enjoy the beautiful weather we’re currently having.  Summer is definitely the time when we all like to unwind and, as lockdown eases, maybe plan a break away.  It’s also a great time to think ahead about how you can have more leisure time in the future. Ensuring your financial matters are in order now may help you feel more relaxed about the future. 

Here are Hamnett Wealth Management’s top 3 financial matters to tackle this summer:

1. Take control of your pension arrangements

Whether you’re looking to set up a pension, save money on annual management charges or to reduce fees on expensive pension plans, make sure you review your current pension arrangements to see whether they are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals.

2. Review your investments

With fast changing global events affecting markets, it is imperative that your portfolio and pensions are strategically invested to profit from uncertainty and protect yourself from market shocks.

3. Question your current financial advisor

Do you know what they are charging you in fees?  Recent press reports have highlighted several cases of people moving their portfolios and pensions from a certain provider because they have been subjected to high fees, poor service and a lack of transparency

If you would like one of our Advisors to review your finances, are unsure of how your portfolio is performing, or want to look at alternate ways to get a good return on your savings and pensions, please call us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial meeting.  Our office is operating as normal but we can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft teams & Zoom.

Keep Calm and Endure

The affect of Covid-19 is still being felt world-wide and financial markets have been volatile, as you would expect in times of uncertainty, with many sectors and funds being adversely impacted.

At Hamnett Wealth Management, our investment philosophy has always been to look to the long term.  We have never attempted to predict the immediate path of the stock markets and we are not about to start now.  Over the last 30 years, we have witnessed several global crises. Each one different from the last. However, what we have learnt from all of them is to keep calm and endure.

There will be those of you who want to ‘do something’ but often the best, and hardest, option is to do nothing. Whilst uncertainty can create anxiety, don’t be tempted to make any rash decisions.  We are in constant contact with the fund management groups and the over-riding sentiment that we are hearing is that Covid-19 will have an impact on all businesses – some more than others.   Therefore we are currently looking at the possibilities and focusing on those companies that can weather this storm and will continue to adjust our portfolios over time.

For help and impartial advice during this time, you could do the following:

Contact the Pension Advisory Service to discuss your situation – www.pensionadvisoryservice.org.uk

If you’re aged 55 or over, you could have a Pension Wise guidance session to fully understand your options – www.pensionwise.gov.uk

Talk with the money guidance experts at the Money Advice Service – www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

There are plenty of free sites to visit where you can increase your understanding of pensions savings and investments. These sites all offer guidance which should not be misunderstood for advice.

If you would then like to have a chat with an independent financial advisor and get personalised financial advice, please call us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial meeting.  Our office is operating as normal but we can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft teams & Zoom.

Q2 2020 Investment Update from 7IM

There can be little doubt that these are uncertain times that will change our lives forever, but as 7IM Chief Investment Officer, Martyn Surguy, highlights: “We are prepared for what markets might throw at us and retain a strong conviction in the investment beliefs that have served us well through time.”

To find out more about 7IM’s views on the current environment and how they are managing your money, please visit: https://www.7im.co.uk/financial-intermediary/news-and-insights/INT-Investment-Update_Q2-2020

At Hamnett Wealth, we are continuing to work from home, hosting client appointments either via the telephone or by a video link. We remain confident that once the pandemic plays out, the markets will respond quickly. It is important to remember that when the financial landscape changes, to not respond would be a missed opportunity. We recommend you seek advice from a professional Independent Financial Adviser to review your investments and ensure that your current financial plan is still working for you.

Please contact us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial review meeting.

New Tax Year 2020/2021

The beginning of a new tax year brings changes to taxes, benefits and the cost of some essentials – and despite Covid-19, this year is no different.

There are many adjustments that will affect the money in your pocket.  Here is a run through of the tax rules and allowances for Isas and pensions at the start of the 2020/2021 tax year:

https://www.moneyobserver.com/news/new-tax-year-20202021-tax-rules-isa-and-pension-allowances

A new tax year is an excellent time to spring clean your financial arrangements.  Here’s our suggested to do list:

1. Maximise your tax-free saving allowances

If you’ve money to save, but haven’t used up your ISA allowance, make sure you take advantage of this tax-free form of investment.  Equally, ensure you’re making the most of allowances on your pension contributions to cut your tax bill.

2. Take control of your pension arrangements

Whether you’re looking to set up a pension, save money on annual management charges or to reduce fees on expensive pension plans, review your current pension arrangements to see if they’re likely to help you achieve your retirement goals.

3. Review your investments

With fast changing world events affecting markets, it‘s imperative that your portfolio and pensions are strategically invested to profit from uncertainty and protect yourself from market shocks.

4. Plan for the future

Safeguard against unexpected future events spoiling your final wishes by setting up a trust alongside your will.  Trusts come in a variety of forms and can help lower potential inheritance tax bills as well as give extra guarantees  that loved ones will be looked after.

Appoint a lasting power of attorney so loved ones can act in accordance with your best interests and wishes as they are now.  There are two different lasting powers of attorney to consider – one to look after your health and the other your finances.

Remember, when the financial landscape changes, to not respond would be a missed opportunity. We recommend you seek advice from a professional Independent Financial Adviser to review your current financial plan  and ensure it is still working for you now and will continue to do so in the future. 

Hamnett Wealth Management are following all the guidance and advice that the Government and Public Health England are giving and the team are now working from home and holding appointments via the telephone or video links.   Please contact us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial review meeting.