News and blog

Watch out for NI errors!

You may have read recently that up to two million workers a year who faithfully paid their tax bills have not been matched with their NI contributions – another shocking scandal to involve Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs - which is still reeling from last year's crisis that left millions paying the wrong amount in tax.

So what has gone wrong?

Millions of workers who have paid National Insurance have not been awarded the National Insurance credit for that year. As a result, they risk losing part of their state pension.

Every year of missing NI will reduce the basic state pension by £3.25 a week. For instance, if five years are missing this will reduce the pension by £16.25 a week.

Escape the winter in style!

After a bitter cold Winter that has seen the Nation plagued by snow and illness, coupled with a dawn of 2011 and a gloomy economic outlook, we thought it would be nice to offer our clients the chance to escape from it all.

Simply refer anyone to RIS in the month of February, and you can enter our free prize draw* to win a night at a fabulous Hand Picked Hotel, for two persons in a classic room and full traditional English breakfast with 3 course fine dining dinner. And for that extra special treat, complimentary Champagne and chocolates will be ready on arrival.

Are Structured Products right for you?

In a world of low interest rates and relatively high inflation it is important that you earn a return that protects the real value of your capital.  Structured products offer one such way of achieving this objective. 

There are a number of different ways to access stock markets from direct investments in shares, mutual funds, exchange tracking funds and structured products.  Structured products are investments which can be manufactured to offer income, capital growth, or a combination of both.  The returns are usually based on the performance of the underlying investments and are most often linked to a stock market index such as the FTSE 100. 

Did I hear more change in the world of pensions?

Another month, another set of changes in pensions, so to keep you up to date here is our snapshot of the key changes-

State Pension age increasing – it has been proposed that the age at which you can begin drawing your State Pension will be increased to age 66 by April 2020.

Contracting Out of the State 2nd Pension Scheme – you will no longer be able to contract out of the State 2nd Pension Scheme on an money purchase basis (e.g. Personal Pension Plan) after 6/4/2012. If you are still contracted out on 6/4/2012 you will automatically be contracted back in to the State 2nd Pension Scheme from that date.

Annual Allowance - the maximum amount that you and your employer can contribute to a pension arrangement each year without incurring tax penalties is being reduced from £255,000 to £50,000.

Free Seminar - 7 Essential Steps for Everyone Facing Retirement

7_steps_smallAfter the phenomenal success of our seminars in 2010, I am delighted to confirm that we will be running our ever popular  7 Essential Steps for Everyone facing Retirement seminar again on 31st March 2010 at the Botley Park Hotel.

When you come along to our Free Retirement Planning Seminar, you’ll learn:

  • Why relying on a state pension for significant income is unwise
  • How to minimise any tax liabilities when your pensions or investments pay out
  • The options available to you when taking your pension benefits
  • The value of independent advice at this crucial time
  • The importance of keeping your options open throughout your retirement to handle any unforeseen expenses that may occur
  • What action you need to take now to ensure a stress-free retirement
  • Plus much, much more!

RIS top tips for 2011

The New Year is typically a time when we get our financial affairs in order, aim to get round to doing all those things we mean to get organised and try to get ready for the year ahead. Therefore RIS have come up with a list of Top Tips for 2011 to help you feel secure knowing you’ve got all the essentials covered.

 1. Don’t put it off

Most people procrastinate over financial planning issues for a number of reasons: they don’t want to know the truth, they are worried about fees, or they think it will be hard work.  If you don’t take action now, when will you start? What could you be missing out on if you don’t take the bull by the horns?

 2. Make/Update your Will

None of us can predict what the future has in store, and making provisions for when we are gone is the last thing most of us want to consider. But the New Year is an ideal time to check that your Will still reflects your wishes.

Perils of relying on Sat Navs

Christmas and New Year was a complete break from our normal celebrations and a very pleasant change it made.

Our Son came over from Greece in time to hit the shops for all the goodies that are not available (or are too expensive) where he lives and we volunteered to drive him and a car load of presents and supplies back to Greece, via an overnight Ferry from Italy.

The Sat Nav did a sterling job on the way down and as we had a limited time in which to catch the ferry in Italy we made use of the excellent Toll Roads in France.

The best and worst With Profit Bonds

With Profits are once again under fire after a survey by Money Management, the financial magazine, confirmed dwindling returns.

Its survey showed that over 10 years the average with-profits bond has produced an annual return of just 1.7pc. Significantly less than the 8.2pc average return recorded in 2003, when Money Management first started carrying out the survey.

To make matter worse the vast majority of insurers still levied exit penalties on customers who cash in their bonds. Just nine of the 25 companies surveyed don't currently impose these penalties - known as market value reductions (MVRs).

Why Decoupling is good news for couples

Yet again changes to State pensions have been introduced without anybody being aware but the difference is this time that it’s good news for some.

Most people are probably aware that a married woman who hasn’t made sufficient National Contributions herself can still qualify for a State pension based on her husband’s National Insurance contributions.

This pension is known as the Dependent’s Additional pension and for 2010 it is £58.50 per week.

Until recently the problem was that she couldn’t begin to receive this until her husband claimed his pension from the State – so she couldn’t claim it if her husband was under 65 or if he had deferred taking his State pension.

Misery and chaos?

Well the seasonable/unseasonable weather seems to have brought the country to a standstill and given the journalists a fresh opportunity to blanket the country with a dusting of clichés!

There are those who are have been genuinely delayed and have the potential to miss out this Christmas time. This is unfortunate as no-one wants to have change their plans at the last moment.

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Retirement and Investment Solutions
5 Lancer House, Hussar Court
Hampshire, PO7 7SE

T: 01489 878300
F: 0870 0104883