All too often it can seem like we are bombarded with bad news from the media about the state of the economy, double-dip recession, Eurozone Crisis etc. We know how complicated it can be to wade through this and make sense of the different opinion pieces and editorial slant from the journalists.
Over the last couple of years we have run a market commentary seminar with a leading fund management group, Brooks MacDonald Asset Management, which aims to cut through these messages and get right to the heart of what is going on with commentary from people who are at the cutting edge. As the nights are starting to draw in we are considering arranging another one of these if people would be interested. If you would like to attend a meeting like this please contact to register your interest and we will organise something for late November/early December.
As many of you will know one of the key messages that Retirement and Investment Solutions like to deliver is that we believe everybody planning for, considering or at retirement should have access to independent advice about their options and circumstances.
Allied to this is our belief that the greatest compliment that you can pay to us is by recommending our services to a relative, friend or colleague. You may not be sure how we can help but that is something we can ascertain when we have a chat or meet with them.
If you think we could help someone in any way then please do pass on our details or get in touch with us and we would be happy to contact them and discuss their needs further. We value referrals of this nature and if you recommend someone to us who subsequently becomes a client then we like to say thank you by way of a gift. This can be something like lunch at a local restaurant, vintage champagne or a food hamper. For example just yesterday we sent one of our clients Thompson holiday vouchers to the value of £100 to thank them for referring a new client.
So please don’t hesitate to recommend us – you may be able to help a friend or relative and at the same time be rewarded for doing it!
I am sure that many of you will have seen that the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the UK matched its record high in September, rising to 5.2% from 4.5% the month before.
An increase in energy costs has been blamed for the majority of the increase. The rate of 5.2% is the highest CPI measure since September 2008, and CPI has never been higher since this measure was introduced back in 1997.
September's CPI measure is considerably higher than the Bank of England's target rate of 2%. However, the Bank of England governor Mervyn King is still expecting inflation to begin falling next year once factors such as the rise in VAT last January begin to drop out of the equation.
This recent rise in the cost of living highlights the risk of the Bank's latest move to revive the economy through further quantitative easing, which could help to stoke inflation.
The CPI figure delivered in September is key because it will be used to set the amount by which the state pension and Jobseekers' Allowance will rise next April.
It will be the first time that benefits have increased with CPI instead of the RPI.
Other rates set by the September inflation figures include allowances and indexation for income tax, national insurance, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, disability and maternity benefits, income support and tax credits. With pensions and other benefits rising by 5.2%, it will place increasing pressure on the chancellor, who is already battling to reduce the budget deficit.
We work pretty hard at Retirement and Investment Solutions. Although we all work in a fairly small office environment it is easy for us to become wrapped up in our own little worlds of work. For this reason we like to get together a few times a year for some form of team-building exercise.
However being Retirement and Investment Solutions and having a penchant for doing things differently these things can be quite exciting. In the past year we have subjected our loyal band of staff to pub quizzes, go-karting and a night at the casino! However 2012 is just around the corner and we need to plan our agenda of activities.
Here at Retirement and Investment Solutions we are not ones to rest on our laurels. With this in mind we have commissioned a professional firm - TLC Business - to contact a number of our clients for a short survey about how they perceive us, how they came to work with us, what they think we do well and also what else we could be doing. The contact will come over the next couple of weeks and the results will then be compiled and digested so that we can continue to ensure that we offer the type of service that our clients have come to expect.
You may be contacted shortly to take part in this survey - please answer honestly as we value your opinions and it helps to shape how we work and constantly improve our offering.
The rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation in the UK rose to 5.2% from 4.5% in September 2011. Meanwhile the Retail Prices Index (RPI) reached 5.6% which is the highest RPI annual inflation rate for over 20 years.
High inflation does however mean that ISA limits will increase to £11,280 from next April, the Treasury has announced, up to half of which can be saved in cash ISA’s.
The CPI will also be used to set the amount by which the State Pension and Job Seekers Allowance will be increased in April 2012. It will be the first time that benefits have increased by CPI and not RPI.
Other rates set by the September inflation figure include allowances and indexation for Income Tax, National Insurance, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
A large number of economists believe that the September rise should represent a peak and predict that inflation should start to fall, possibly as low as 2% by the end of 2012 but this is dependent on what happens to oil price movements.
Watch this space…
According to a statement made by the Government today, plans to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2020 will be delayed by six months to address concerns of thousands of women who have already had their state pension age increased from age 60 to 65.
The government has listened to concerns about the effect that the current proposals would have on certain groups of women. But who will benefit, if these proposals go through?
The Direct Gov website has a very useful table showing the revised increase in State Pension age, by birth date, from 65 to 66 (for men and women) and shows by date of birth those women who will still receive their State Pension before age 65.
As the evenings begin to draw in and we are all thankful for the last little burst of summer we here at Retirement and Investment Solutions are busy planning our next round of seminars.
Each year we run a series of informal but highly informative seminars for those facing retirement. I am pleased to announce that we are now taking bookings for our next seminar. This is to be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday 23rd November 2012 at the Botley Park Hotel in Boorley Green. The seminar is called 7 Essential Steps for Everyone Facing Retirement. The aim of this event is to take the worry and guesswork out of planning for retirement. At our Free Seminar where you will learn:
- What action you need to take now to ensure a stress-free retirement
- How you can boost your retirement income at no extra cost
- How to work out the income you will need when you have retired
- How to find out what the State will pay you and when
- What you can do to improve the retirement pots you already have
- Your options at retirement
Places are limited at these popular events so to ensure that you can come along please register your interest by clicking on the seminar banner on our homepage or by giving one our friendly team a call on 01489 878300.
We would love to see you there!