At Retirement and Investment Solutions we have always been strong advocates of making sure that your wishes are clearly understood. That may be by ensuring that your plans meet with your financial reality or simply by ensuring that you have an up to date will. We do believe that you can go too far though...
Enter Norfolk pensioner Joy Tomkin. Legend has it that the 81 year old has chosen a most unusual way of communicating her desire to avoid life sustaining medical treatment. Apparently the words "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" are tattooed onto her chest. As if this was not clear enough she has made doubly sure that her wishes will be carried out by having the letters "PTO" tattooed onto her back!
You don't have to go this far though. One of the jobs we do at Retirement and Investment Solutions is to maintain important connections with legal professionals who can advise on wills and the type of arrangement that Joy required. Before you head for the tattoist's needle give us a call - we would gladly point you in the right direction of someone qualified to help more painlessly.
Pension experts are warning that the latest life expectancy calculations could lead the way for the state pension to hit 68 as early as 2027.
The newly revised numbers, from the Office for National Statistics, show that life expectancy is rising for the general population by one year every four. Experts are worried that this new information could cause the government to scrap their already accelerated plan to raise the state pension age to 68 by 2046.
The concerns are heightened as David Cameron and other prominent policymakers have recently made statements about austerity leading the way to prosperity. Experts warn that as state benefits come under pressure, it is important for the public to be prepared for the worst by saving privately.
There is a premium bond-holder living in London sitting on an unclaimed prize worth £100,000. The value of the premium bonds...? Just £25. There are also prizes of £50,000 and £25,000 amongst 740,000 unclaimed prizes worth a staggering total of £40m.
Prizes often go unclaimed as the bond-holder has moved house, had them gifted to them as a child or maybe they are the executors of a will.
Thankfully there is no time limit on making a claim as the oldest unclamed prize dates back to 1957. Fortunately you can visit the National Savings and Investment website (nsandi.com) and simply enter your Premium Bond Holders' number to check if you have any unclaimed winnings. Alternatively you can write to them at: Premium Bonds, National Savings and Investment, Glasgow, G58 1WA.
If you have moved house, have some old Premium Bonds and have 5 minutes to spare it might just be worth checking - you never know...
I feel almost guilty for doing it so early but Christmas is looming around the corner. With this in mind we would like to notify all those who deal with us of our opening times during the festive period.
The office will be closing at 5pm on Thursday 22nd December 2011. It will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January at 9am. If you need to get hold of us urgently during this time please contact the office on 01489 878300 and leave a message. This will be checked throught the Christmas period and somone will respond to you.
In addition the office will be closed from Midday on Wednesday 14th December for the staff Christmas lunch. Again if you need to get hold of us urgently please leave a message on the anwserphone and someone will respond as soon as possible.
One of our regular readers contacted us last month with a suggestion for an article. We thought this was a great idea so it will become an ongoing feature.
As many of you will be finding it is increasingly difficult to get decent savings and deposit interest rates. A combination of a historically low Bank of England base rates and high levels of inflation mean it is important to make sure you make the most of your savings. Otherwise you are faced with the very real prospect of the value of your money eroding over the years.
One of the things we regularly look at for our clients is who is offering the best interest rates - be it a cash ISA subscription or a fixed term bond or something else.
If you are happy to tuck the funds away then for as little as £500 you can open a 2 year fixed online saver with Halifax. As the name suggests this is an internet only account and the fixed term nature of the account means that no withdrawals are permitted during the term. The interest rate is 3.85% but remember that you will be taxed on the interest payable on this type of account.
With regards to cash ISA's, Northern Rock (soon to become part of the Virgin stable) are currently offering an eISA paying 3.05%. You can open this ISA with as little as £1. Again, we always recommend that you use your annual ISA allowance to take advantage of the tax benefits applicable to this type of account.
As with so many things the online rates are often marginally more favourable than the rates payable on the in-branch or telephone accounts due to the redcued overheads faced by the banks.
One important thing to remember with deposit account is the depositor protection limit of £85,000 per individual, per institution. Always ensure that you don't place morer than this amount with any one institution and remember that many of the banks and building societies are now part of larger global banking groups.
I will give you an update each month as well as offering some tips on where to look out for the best savings rates.