Three clients, three goals, three successes
Important - The information shown is not personal advice, if you are unsure of the suitability of an investment for your circumstances please contact us for personal advice. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on personal circumstances.
How financial advice helps our clients
Why do you save and invest? Most of us have earmarked them for a purpose. Whether that’s helping your children get on the property ladder or your retirement it can help to have a professional put a plan together for how you’re going to grow your wealth to meet that objective.
Financial advice can help boost your confidence by giving you a clear view of the present and a strong plan for the future.
Here are just a few examples of how our advisers have helped their clients.
- How I helped Mr Smith arrange care for his mother
- How I saved a client £14,000 in tax
- How advice helped the Taylors retire early
Mr Smith approached me for advice as his mother had recently moved into long term care. As Mr Smith had power of attorney (POA), it fell to him to arrange Mrs Smith’s care using her assets.
After explaining the main options to Mr Smith, I got into the numbers. I had a look at her income, eligibility for State Benefits and the cost of her care and found there was an annual shortfall of £25,000. Mrs Smith had assets of £213,000 and it was my challenge to help her and Mr Smith use those assets in a way that would make up the shortfall.
There are potentially six options available for funding long term care costs. The first three involve property but none of these were viable options in this case.
That left three options:
- Keep the money in the bank
- Invest the money so as to try and generate more income
- ‘Buy’ an income through an immediate needs annuity
We discussed all three options and Mr Smith and I agreed an immediate needs annuity would best suit the circumstances and assets available.
The aim of an annuity is to use a proportion of a client’s wealth to secure a guaranteed lifetime income and fill in the shortfall. An immediate needs annuity can be a comforting option as the cost is known from the outset and the income guaranteed after that, although it does involve giving up capital and once set up cannot normally be changed.
The income from the annuity plus Mrs Smith’s other secured income sources and State Benefits would allow her to get the care she and Mr Smith wanted.
How I saved a client £14,000 in tax
My colleagues and I are regularly asked about how to make the most of tax allowances. It’s an area we specialise in.
Some only think about it when it comes to tax year end but exploring ways to save tax needn’t wait until April. We can look under the bonnet of your finances at any time and look for ways to make your affairs more tax efficient.
Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different, but here’s how I helped one of my clients save £14,000 in tax.
My client’s background
My client got in touch for advice on investing some of the cash savings she’d built up. Her aim was to invest this money so it could help fund a retirement chock full of things to look forward to.
She planned to retire in around 5 to 10 years’ time – a good amount of time for her portfolio to have the chance to make a difference. Like many clients I speak to, she found investing interesting, but wanted some one-off advice to be confident she was making the right decisions. She was happy to manage her investments herself after we parted ways, safe in the knowledge she could call on me again at a later date - without being locked in to paying for yearly reviews.
How I helped her save £14,000 in tax
An in-depth understanding of the rules can result in big tax savings. And these savings, coupled with having more money in your pension, could add up to a big difference when you come to retire.
My client was a higher–rate Scottish taxpayer, so the most obvious place for her to achieve both these things, was to use the tax relief available on pension contributions.
But the opportunities didn’t stop there.
In our quest to boost her pension in the most tax efficient way, the ‘carry forward’ rule was a handy tool to have. This rule effectively allows a second bite at unused pension annual allowance from the previous three tax years.
So we took a dip into her pension history, where I uncovered a gem hiding in plain sight: £42,000 left in unused annual allowance. She was in a strong position and earned enough to allow her to contribute this amount in full to her pension. She did this by contributing more to her workplace pension.
My client managed to save an impressive £14,000 in income tax. As she did this via salary sacrifice, she also made a National Insurance saving, meaning her £42,000 pension contribution effectively cost her less than £28,000 - all things considered, a good day at the office.
I had one last parting gift. Because she had used her full ISA allowance, I helped her invest some leftover excess cash in an HL Fund and Share Account. I advised her she could move these investments into a more tax efficient account such as an HL Stocks and Shares ISA in the future. This allows her to take advantage of next year’s ISA allowance without committing more cash.
By working with my client, I was able to give her a clear view on the present and a strong plan for the future. She is now self-sufficient, but is free to call on me again if she needs a helping hand in the future.
This article is not personal advice. Tax rules can change and any benefits depend on personal circumstances. Unlike the security offered by cash, investments fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you put in. If unsure, please seek advice. We can advise you on how to make use of your tax allowances through financial planning but if you need complex tax calculations, we recommend consulting an accountant. Once money is in a pension you cannot usually access it until age 55 (57 from 2028).
How advice helped the Taylors retire early
Mr Taylor was an owner of his own business with Mrs Taylor also having share holdings. Mr Taylor had a long commute and was fed up with constant travel. Understandably, this made him keen to retire as early as possible and spend more time at their second property.
For some clients, retiring early can seem risky and Mr and Mrs Taylor wanted to make sure they wouldn’t run out of money if Mr Taylor retired early. They asked me to take a look at their situation and provide a clear plan to help them achieve their goal and provide them with peace of mind.
Mr Taylor had accumulated a number of assets through cash, ISA’s and SIPPs. He also had money within the business and a number of defined benefit (final salary) pensions at his disposal.
Cash flow is key to understanding when retirement is possible. I put together a cash flow model which, I’m happy to say, indicated they could retire early based on the assets they had. I was even able to show that their children could still inherit sizable assets.
A cornerstone of the advice I gave the couple was about utilising their assets in a tax efficient way. This helped them feel more comfortable that they had enough ‘in the tank’ to keep them going even if Mr Taylor retired early. Here are a few things I suggested based on their circumstances and attitude to risk. Tax rules can change and any benefits will depend on your personal circumstances.
- Use cash accumulated in Mr Taylor’s business by making contributions into both of their pensions. This meant a triple tax saving on corporation tax, National insurance and personal tax.
- Mr Taylor was also able to draw tax free income from the business using his personal allowance and dividends allowance. This means the majority of income from the business will be taken tax free.
- The couple were then able to cover any shortfalls in their income using ISA accounts and cash. So far, no tax has been paid on this income source.
To help Mr and Mrs Taylor feel more confident about where their income would be coming from, I created this plan for them. Here’s an outline.
- We could see the income from the business would finish at age 55. The couple would then call on each of their pensions using lump sums.
- Then, Mr Taylor’s final salary pension would kick in at age 65. Along with income generated from ISAs, cash and SIPPs.
- At age 67 a combination of state, final salary and personal pension income would allow them to live the retirement life they always wanted.
I’m happy to say Mr Taylor has now retired at age 53 and is pleased to see the back of that long commute. It was great working with the couple over the course of a number of meetings. I was able to present various cash flow models and settle on a plan which meant little tax will be paid until age 55 at the earliest.
Important information: What you do with your pension is an important decision that you might not be able to change. You should check you're making the right decision for your circumstances and that you understand all your options and their risks. The government's free and impartial Pension Wise service can help you and we can offer you advice if you’d like it.