It is important to plan ahead to give future enhancement to your life and that of any family of yours.
At Portfolio Counselling Services our focus is on you and what you want to achieve in life. Savings/investments are discussed to ensure that your future personal aspirations can be met in full. The PCS credo has been built on a bespoke tailored basis. You get the personal attention that you need. You are looking for a firm that will listen and will seek to understand fully your aims in life. You might be facing a significant event such as retirement or the sale of your business, or you simply may want to have a conversation as to how to best move forward to save and invest in an effective manner that is entirely relevant to your circumstances.
Regarding savings, the purpose might simply be to build up cash for early retirement or for general financial security. Or to be able to make a substantial purchase whether it be an expensive commodity ( car, second home etc ) or a once in a lifetime holiday. Perhaps, also, to have a fund for maintenance for your home or homes or for making property improvements. Early repayment of a mortgage or other debt. These are just a few examples as each individual will have his or her own requirements.
When it comes to saving for your children’s education, few can afford not to start saving now. A good education is an investment for the future. The return is almost impossible to estimate.
Customs vary from country to country, but one thing they all have in common is that the cost of celebrating a marriage is increasing. Around the world, wedding costs have soared, with many families struggling to pay for lavish receptions, the bride’s dresses and jewellery, presents for guests and the honeymoon. Rather than curtail the celebrations, many families borrow to pay for a son’s or daughter’s wedding. But if you plan ahead, your children can enjoy their special day without you or your son or daughter having to start married life in debt.
One essential fact about retirement planning is that its essence is one whereby you make provision out of current income and invest for the time when you retire. It is true that in some countries, the State provides incentives for savings specifically earmarked to provide income on retirement. But, at the end of the day, providing for one’s retirement needs is no different to setting money aside for any other future purpose. The significant aspect that separates retirement provision from other investment objectives is one of magnitude. Our expectations have grown to demand at least a continuation of the standard of living that we enjoyed during our working years. This is compounded by the fact that we spend an increasing proportion of our lives in retirement as a result of increased life expectancy as well as a trend towards earlier retirement at a time when State financed benefits are being cut back all over the world.
We at PCS will listen and will seek to understand fully your aims in life. You can work alongside the PCS Director who will act as a personal financial counsellor, discussing, sharing, and problem solving.
If this sounds good to you then do e-mail us to schedule a conversation.
PCS is a specialist financial counselling firm.
We are a boutique business providing both an online service as well as building a select team of high quality Financial Counsellors based in many global locations.
Our purpose is to make a positive difference by going the extra mile to ensure that any client requirement is handled with great care and attention.
We operate in the world of facts and truth, evidencing any of our recommendations in the fullest possible way. Our approach is one that will provide you with the clarity and understanding you deserve and that gives you the reassurance that all your important financial issues are being fully taken care of by a dedicated back office team who have ongoing access to legal, technical and tax expertise from our supporting, fully licensed and regulated, pension transfer experts, investment fund and Product Providers.
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Not so long ago inheritance tax was something that the majority of us didn’t have to worry about. But over recent years, house prices have continued to rise at a rate which far outstrips the increase on the threshold upon which inheritance tax becomes liable which means that many properties and estates now fall into the inheritance tax ‘bracket’.
When calculating liability for inheritance tax, it includes:
Everything that was owned outright in a person’s name and any share of the value of things they owned jointly upon their death.
Gifts which they have given but which they still derived some financial benefit from – an example being a home which was given by a parent to a son or daughter but in which the parent still lived. Once that figure has been calculated then it’s necessary to subtract any monies the person owed such as outstanding mortgages, loans, credit cards, unpaid bills etc and funeral expenses. Once these figures have been subtracted, then that is the total figure which, if it exceeds the IHT exemption, will be liable for inheritance tax at 40%.
Any sums of money which are given away if the giver survives for 7 years after making the ‘gift’ are not liable for tax. They’re classed as ‘potentially exempt transfers’. An example of this would be a trust fund set up for children and/or grandchildren. There are also other exemptions which don’t have to fulfil the 7 year rule. These include wedding gifts of up to £5000 for each child; up to £2500 for wedding gifts for a grandchild or up to £1000 for a wedding gift to anybody else.
It is also allowable to gift anybody else up to £3000 in total per year plus any unused balance of the £3000 exemption from the previous year’s allowance. Regular gifts to a family member out of after-tax income are also exempt providing there is still have enough income to maintain the standard of living – an example might be a monthly financial ‘allowance’ given to another family member. Gifts between husbands and wives are also exempt whether they were made whilst both husband and wife were still alive or left to the surviving spouse after one of them dies. In this situation, it’s only when the surviving spouse dies too that any gifts might become liable for tax if the total value of a person’s estate is above the inheritance tax threshold.
Should the giver of a gift die within the 7 year period, it may still be possible to reduce the amount of tax payable on a gift through something called ‘taper relief’.
Inheritance tax must be paid within 6 months of the death of the person whose estate has become liable. If it isn’t, interest will be charged in addition on the unpaid amount and the liability threshold is determined by the date upon which the person dies for calculation purposes. In certain instances, such as the tax on any land or building assets, the tax can be spread out over a 10 year period and paid in instalments. However, if the asset is then sold over this period, the remaining sum of tax liability must then be repaid immediately.
IHT is based on domicile, as opposed to residency, therefore even when someone has lived overseas for several years, and are not UK resident, they may still be deemed UK domiciled and their world wide assets subject to UK IHT.
An extreme example was Richard Burton who despite being non UK resident for many years always said he wanted to be buried in the UK which was enough to give deemed UK domicile and make him liable to IHT on all his assets.
Advice on residency and domicile is essential to any IHT planning.
Non Domiciled persons who have assets and property in the UK are now captured by HMRC IHT rules. Many other non UK nationals have their own Inheritance tax issues to contend with and PCS can assist in reducing or eliminating such taxation.
Pension planning can cover a wide range of potential actions, from starting a new pension scheme from scratch, to moving a pre-existing employer scheme to a personal pension and everywhere in between. There is even the option of sending a UK pension scheme overseas and this is especially relevant where the member is also leaving the UK.
The starting point would be a review of the current Pension provision, establishing the current value as well as calculating the projected benefits on retirement. The retirement age will also be examined and where fixed by the scheme it is possible to transfer to a scheme where the retirement age can be reduced to a minimum of age 55.
Flexible benefits are now allowable and where the current scheme doesn't allow it a transfer can be arranged which will allow flexibility as required.
Many people have several Pension schemes, even ones they aren't aware of, which can be found and consolidated into one pot to give cost savings and ease of maintenance.
Even if the pension structure is providing the required features, the investment of the funds within the scheme, and hence the future benefits, may not be performing in the way that would be desired.
It is possible in many schemes to adjust the investment strategy, but again if not it is possible to move to a scheme where self investment is available.
PCS international can examine the current scheme and make suggestions based on the members requirements and situation to achieve the desired results, introducing a regulated financial adviser to put the changes into place.
You may be reading this because you are probably facing an investment issue, and want the best result and outcome to help you in planning for your future financial security.
PCS has as its aim the intention of effecting high quality introductions to enhance the likelihood of excellent results and also to minimise the risk of something going wrong for you.
Money, of itself, is rarely the true objective of investing. What you are truly seeking is the future lifestyle that a certain amount of wealth will provide for, with a comfortable margin for error. The ideal outcome. You are now prepared to invest money today rather than spend it, in return for a better future ahead of you.
A good starting point for you will be to identify exactly what your hopes and dreams are for your future. In doing so it is worthwhile having some understanding as to what is available in the world of collective investments.
All Investments need cash. Cash is an essential part of a well-managed portfolio. Holding cash can be a good short term approach as it involves little risk. Over the longer term, however, investors need to realize that a risk does still exist since interest earned may not be as high or any higher than the rate of inflation. ( Eg. cost of living increases over time will usually reduce the purchasing power of savings ). Money market funds are cash funds invested in international, short-term interest-earning securities, such as certificates of deposit. They are usually available in a number of different currencies, ie. sterling, euros, US dollars, Japanese yen and Swiss francs. These funds offer the benefit of stability and a high degree of liquidity.
These funds invest in government and corporate debt and usually only those that carry excellent credit ratings. They are available in sterling, US dollars and euros. They offer exposure to global bond markets but protect you against the risk of loss by smoothing the returns.
Protected funds can offer investors the opportunity for growth, whilst limiting the extent of any potential loss. These are often specially designed money 'instruments' that are index linked to a number of different securities.
Building individual portfolios from scratch can be an expensive and time consuming process. For this reason Managed funds have proven to be a highly popular way to diversify with the underlying assets comprising a wide spread of equities, bonds and cash. They are often available under the following headings:
These carry the lowest risk and invest mainly in fixed interest securities such as corporate and government bonds.
These invest primarily in fixed interest securities but carry a higher proportion of equities than the defensive funds.
These invest in large, well-known companies, often comprising about 60% of the fund, with the balance placed in fixed interest securities and aim to provide long-term capital growth. The majority of the fund is often invested in assets matching the underlying fund currency. In terms of risk ‘Blue Chip’ funds sit in the middle of the Managed funds range with a more balanced split between bonds and equities than the other managed funds.
These also invest in a spread of equities and the exposure to fixed interest securities is lower than that of ‘Blue Chip’ funds. They aim to produce a healthy long-term return from a balanced combination of investments in international companies.
These are the most flexible of the range of managed funds and the fund manager retains the ability to invest in growth opportunities worldwide without any restrictions on the currency of the underlying investments. In order to maximize the growth potential, these funds invest in a wide range of markets and stocks of both large and smaller quoted companies with the aim again of providing above average longer term capital growth.
These offer a wide variety of equity funds ranging from global to single country as well as emerging market funds. Smaller companies also feature at both a regional and single country level. For those wishing to further diversify their portfolios there are opportunities to use sector themed funds which include Health, technology, property, energy and commodities.
These are often entitled ”Socially Responsible Investments” ( SRI ) and they have the dual aim of maximizing financial return as well as securing current and future social and environmental good. The SRI fund Managers favor corporate practices that are environmentally responsible, support workplace diversity, increase product safety and quality and follow best practice corporate governance standards. Many of these funds avoid holding assets in businesses that are involved in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weapons and other military industries.
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