5 breathtaking coastal walks you can take this summer in the UK

The UK boasts some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.

Trails across the country can take you through sleepy fishing villages, tumbling clifftops, and unique natural formations that are the stuff of legends.

Though your adventure may depend upon the whim of the infamously temperamental British climate, there are stretches of the coast so beautiful that, come wind, rain, or shine, simply cannot be missed.

So, with the summer finally here, what better time to discover five of the most breathtaking coastal walks the UK has to offer?

1. The South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path is England’s longest formally waymarked footpath and is among the longest coastal paths in the world. It stretches over 630 miles and covers the superb coastlines of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset.

The path has won the accolade of “Britain’s Best Walking Route” several times and is a regular feature on lists of the best walks in the world. It includes trails through the Jurassic Coast and the Cornwall and Devon Mining Landscape, both of which are World Heritage Sites.

For intrepid and seasoned hikers, you can do the full path in around seven to eight weeks, and the official site of the South West Coast Path outlines a 52-day itinerary complete with daily highlights and local transport options.

For the regular walker with just a day or two to spare, you can start at any of the numerous gateways to the trail. The paths through Combe Martin in Devon, Port Isaac in Cornwall, and the Exmoor Coastal Heath in Somerset all offer particularly outstanding views.

2. Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

A beautiful heathland peninsula with breathtaking scenery and a wealth of wildlife, the Marloes Peninsula is one of the highlights of the longer Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

The route takes you through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, as well as rolling clifftop pastures, and Iron Age forts.

And, of course, the main stop along the way is Marloes Sands Beach. A picturesque sandy beach that stretches over a mile, on a sunny day you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Mediterranean if it weren’t for the distinctly British sight of verdant clifftops towering over the bay.

If you are lucky, you might spot seals or porpoises swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and on clear days you could encounter all manner of seabirds, including guillemots and razorbills.#

Marloes Peninsula is a circular walk around seven miles long and is accessible for most able walkers.

3. Giant’s Causeway Red Trail, County Antrim

There are two versions of how the Giant’s Causeway came about.

The mythic version tells that the Scottish giant Benandonner challenged Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill to a fight. Fionn accepted the challenge and built a causeway into the North Channel so the two of them could meet.

Nowadays, the fighting place of the two is one of Northern Ireland’s best-known landscapes, but the legend lives on and is immortalised in its name: the Giant’s Causeway.

The scientific version explains that the area consists of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, created by an ancient volcanic eruption. The tops of the columns form huge hexagonal stepping stones that start from the cliffs and disappear into the sea.

Whichever story you prefer, the Causeway offers some of the best coastal walking in Northern Ireland, and after just a few minutes on the clifftops, you will see why it has inspired such stories and wonder.

The Red Trail is a bracing path that offers incredible views from the cliffs. It is a formally signposted route with a moderate climb that’s well worth it for the unparalleled vistas of a geological marvel.

4. St Abb’s Head, Scotland

St Abb’s Head is a rugged coastal headland surrounded by the dramatic cliffs of the Scottish Borders in Berwickshire.

The headland is near the quiet fishing village of St Abb’s and the surrounding area is a national nature reserve administered by the National Trust for Scotland.

The walk is a circular route of around four miles and takes you past the freshwater Mire Loch and a Victorian-era lighthouse that is still in service.

Both the ocean and the loch waters teem with wildlife, and the area is particularly popular with scuba divers, who you may spot on your journey.

5. The Cleveland Way, North Yorkshire

The Cleveland Way is a 109-mile route that winds through the peaceful North York Moors National Park before reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

From there on, the trail takes you along the breathtaking North Yorkshire coastline to Filey and runs through Robin Hood’s Bay and the ever-popular seaside resorts of Scarborough and Whitby.

The route is signposted throughout and is accessible to most people with a reasonable level of fitness, though it can be challenging at points.

Although the Cleveland Way is open all year round, the summer months are the best time to visit as you will be welcomed by the sight of the moorland heather in full bloom.

What 70 years of BBC news bulletins could teach you about investment markets

70 years ago, the BBC broadcast its first daily television news programme. Since then, round-the-clock news has become available, and you can get the latest headlines with a few taps on your smartphone. While being connected can be positive, for investors, it can make periods of volatility and choosing an investment even more difficult. Read on to find out why.

On 5 July 1954, Richard Baker delivered the latest news, which started with an update on truce talks being held near Hanoi, Vietnam, and an item on French troop movements in Tunisia. It wasn’t met with universal approval. Indeed, the BBC received feedback stating it was “absolutely ghastly” and “as visually impressive as the fat stock prices”.

Sir Ian Jacob, who was BBC director at the time, noted that there were challenges because many main news items are “not easily made visual”. However, he added that he believed it was the start of something “extremely significant for the future”.

But how does this relate to investing? 70 years ago, you may have read about investment performance or the latest tip in the newspaper or heard a segment on the radio. Now, you can find out about stock market movements in seconds, and it could lead to knee-jerk decisions.

Too much “noise” could lead to poor investment decisions

Imagine you hear about stock market volatility affecting your portfolio now. You may hear in the news how stocks are “plummeting” or that it’s the worst day for a particular index in a year. How do you feel? You might worry about what it means for your financial future. As a result, it could lead to you making rash decisions that aren’t right for you.

Yet, 70 years ago before there were daily TV news programmes on the BBC, you might not hear about the volatility right away. The market and your portfolio could even have recovered before you knew. 

Being in the loop when it comes to stock market movements can work the other way too. You might see a segment about how technology businesses are doing well, and it tempts you to invest without considering how it might affect your overall portfolio or risk profile.

So, being exposed to too much “noise” may lead to investors making decisions based on short-term movements. However, if you look at some of the big events, and their impact on stock markets over the last 70 years, it indicates that investors who stuck to their investment strategy could have benefited.

The last 70 years demonstrate why a long-term view often makes sense for investors

When Richard Baker sat down to deliver the BBC bulletin, the stock market was doing well. After decades of uncertainty due to the world wars, by the late 1950s, it was booming. Indeed, work began on the new Stock Exchange Tower in 1967, which became a London City landmark at 26 storeys.

The markets didn’t remain stable though. The early 1990s brought a recession that led to unemployment of more than 12% in the UK. Then, the dot-com bubble saw technology stocks soaring at the end of the decade as investors were excited by the widespread adoption of the internet and innovative start-ups before the bubble burst in 2000.

Countless historical events have affected the markets. In the last decade, the 2016 Brexit vote and the pandemic in 2020 led to markets falling.

Despite the turbulence and the attention-grabbing headlines of the last seven decades, the overall trend in investment markets is an upward one. Once you look at the bigger picture, it suggests investing with a long-term view is savvy for most investors.

Indeed, take a look at the FTSE 100 – an index of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange. It launched in 1984 and started with a benchmark of 1,000 points. On 3 May 2024, it hit a record high at 8,248 points.

Of course, you cannot guarantee investment returns. It’s important you consider your goals and remember that all investments carry some risk. You may want to consider your risk profile and wider financial circumstances when creating an investment strategy.

Get in touch to talk about your investment strategy

If you’d like to understand how to create an investment strategy that reflects your goals, or would like to review your current portfolio, please contact us. We’ll help you build an investment strategy that reflects your goals and circumstances.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

Could downsizing help fund your retirement?

Research suggests that retirees could boost their income by downsizing. While selling your home and moving to a smaller property could be a valuable way to fund your later years, there are some important considerations you might want to weigh up first. Read on to find out more.

Over the last few decades, the value of the average home in the UK has soared. Indeed, according to figures from the Land Registry, the average home was worth almost £85,000 at the start of 2000. Fast forward 24 years, and that figure has increased to more than £280,000.

As a result, your home is likely to be one of the largest assets you own, and you might be thinking about how you could use it to fund retirement.

Downsizing could boost retirement incomes by £1,218 a month

Research from estate agents Savills suggests there are 1.29 million owner-occupiers aged 65 and over living in a four-bedroom house. The study suggests that if these homeowners downsized to a two-bedroom home, they could, on average, unlock £305,090.

Based on using the money accessed to fund 20 years in retirement, downsizing could boost your income by £1,218 a month. While that certainly seems attractive, there are several factors you might need to consider before you start preparing to put your home on the market.

Here are four questions that you may want to answer first. 

1. What is the average house price in your area?

Your local property market will affect how much downsizing could unlock, so carrying out some research first may be useful.

Unsurprisingly, the Savills research found there was a significant difference in the amount retirees could unlock depending on where they lived. While Londoners, on average, could boost their monthly income by £2,523 by downsizing, the amount falls to £826 in the north-east.

As well as the value of your current home, you’ll need to consider the value of the property you’ll purchase. In some cases, a smaller property might not be as cheap as you expect. For instance, if you’re considering potential mobility issues and you want to buy a bungalow in a sought-after area, even a smaller property could have a similar value to your current home.

2. Do you have an outstanding mortgage?

If you currently have a mortgage, you may need to factor in paying off the outstanding debt if you’re hoping to unlock money for retirement by downsizing and the effect it could have on your budget when you’re searching for a new home. Depending on your mortgage deal, you might also need to pay an early repayment charge.

Downsizing could be a useful way to clear your mortgage when you approach retirement. It could cut your outgoings and mean you’re more financially secure in your later years. However, it’s not your only option and it is possible to have a mortgage in retirement. If you’d like to discuss the alternatives to downsizing, please contact us.

3. How much will downsizing cost you?

Downsizing could unlock money, but it comes with costs too.

You’ll usually need to pay a solicitor to handle the sale and purchase of property, estate agent fees, and, of course, there will be moving costs too.

In addition, if the property you purchase is more than £250,000, you’ll typically need to pay Stamp Duty. In 2024/25, in England and Northern Ireland, the Stamp Duty rates are:

Please note: Tax when purchasing property is different if you’re in Scotland or Wales.

So, if you’re buying a new home for £300,000, you’ll normally need to budget £2,500 to cover your Stamp Duty bill.

You should note if you already own an additional residential property, there is usually a 3% surcharge on top of the standard Stamp Duty rates.

4. Do you want to move home?

While downsizing could potentially boost your income in retirement, it’s also important to consider if moving is the right decision for you.

For some, downsizing might not be the right option. Perhaps having extra bedrooms means your grandchildren can visit more often.

Moving to a new area can be difficult too. You may have a lot of happy memories in your current home and you’re reluctant to move as a result. Or your home might be close to family, friends, or local amenities that you’d miss if you moved.

Are you retired or nearing retirement with a mortgage?

As property prices have increased, more households are finding they’re retiring with a mortgage. Downsizing could be one way to pay off the outstanding debt, but if you want to remain in your home, there could be other options too. Please contact us to discuss how you could manage retiring with a mortgage.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.

3 valuable pension lessons workers can learn from retirees’ regrets

2 in 5 UK retirees have retirement regrets, according to a Canada Life survey. If you’re saving towards your future, you could learn some valuable pension lessons and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Securing the retirement you want often means thinking about this milestone many years before you celebrate it. One of the key challenges is balancing your financial needs and goals now with your long-term ones. Retirement regrets indicate it’s something many people struggle with.

So, if you’re still working and saving for retirement, here are three lessons you could learn from older generations.

1. 17% of retirees wish they’d increased pension savings while working

The Canada Life research suggests one of the biggest retirement regrets is simply not saving enough – 17% of those surveyed said they wished they’d increased their pension contributions. Similarly, 12% said they regret not making lifestyle adjustments earlier in life to allow them to save more for their later years.

While auto-enrolment means you’re likely to be paying into a pension if you’re an employee, simply paying the minimum contribution may lead to a pension pot that falls short of your expectations.

Indeed, a report from the Phoenix Group, noted: “There is widespread consensus that current auto-enrolment contribution rates are unlikely to provide an adequate retirement income for most savers.”

The report advocates increasing the default pension contribution rate from 8% to 12%. While the current government hasn’t indicated that it plans to do this, you can choose to increase your contributions, and some employers also offer higher pension contributions as part of their benefit package.

As your pension is often invested and benefits from compounding over a long time frame, reviewing your contributions now could mean the extra money really starts to add up.

The report notes that changing the minimum contribution level to 12% now could lead to a typical 18-year-old today having an extra £96,000 in their pension at retirement. However, as the graph below shows, delaying by even five years could lead to significantly less.

Source: Phoenix Group

Having a clear goal can be useful if you want to ensure you’re saving enough – how much do you need in your pension at retirement to live the lifestyle you want? From here you can work backwards to understand how much you need to contribute to your pension to make your goal more achievable.

Of course, setting a pension pot target isn’t always straightforward. You’ll often need to consider areas like life expectancy, inflation, and investment returns. Working with a financial planner could provide you with a tailored retirement plan that considers these factors.

2. 42% regret not accessing advice or guidance

Separate research from Standard Life found that more than 4 in 10 retirees regret not accessing advice or guidance either at the point of retirement or when they were still working. The survey results found:

  • 51% wished they had more information about how to plan and prepare for their retirement
  • 42% said they should have sought advice or guidance to plan for their retirement
  • 37% said they should have sought advice or guidance before they accessed their pension savings.

You don’t have to be nearing retirement to benefit from professional financial advice. Seeking advice ahead of retiring could be useful throughout your career.

A tailored retirement plan could help you assess what steps you may take to improve your financial wellbeing once you stop working, and regular reviews provide an opportunity to see if you’re on track and what adjustments you might make.

3. 8% of retirees say they would have retired later than they did

Perhaps surprisingly, the Canada Life survey revealed that 8% of retirees wish they’d retired later than they did.

For some, this regret may come from wishing they’d delayed retirement so they could contribute to their pension for longer and enjoy greater financial security now. Yet, the report notes that others wished they’d worked for longer due to the potential mental health benefits.

Work can provide a structure and sense of purpose that some people miss once they retire. Phasing into retirement by slowly reducing your hours or taking a less demanding role could help you strike a work-life balance that suits you.

Incorporating your lifestyle goals into your retirement plan, rather than simply focusing on the numbers, could be useful too. Considering how you’ll fill your days in retirement and what will continue to make you happy might mean you’re less likely to live with regrets.

Get in touch to start planning for your retirement

It’s never too soon to start thinking about your retirement. In fact, taking control of your retirement plan sooner could mean you have more options, enjoy the retirement you’re looking forward to, and offer peace of mind during your working life. Please contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your retirement plan.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates, and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts. 

How a financial plan could alleviate your inflation worries

The uncertainty of how the cost of living will change during your lifetime can make long-term planning difficult. After all, how can you be certain how your expenses will change in 20 years or more? If you’re worried about the effect of inflation on your security, a financial plan could provide peace of mind.

Research from Ipsos found that inflation is the number one global concern in 2024. Among the 29 countries that are part of the research, 35% of people say inflation is their top concern – in Great Britain, 37% said they were worried about it.

Given the soaring cost of living over the last two years, it’s not surprising that it’s on many peoples’ minds. Inflation has placed pressure on household budgets around the world, and it may have affected your long-term plans too. For example, you might have cut back your savings or pension contributions to reflect rising day-to-day costs.

In the UK, the Bank of England (BoE) aims to keep inflation at 2%. However, it began to rise above this target in mid-2021 following the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine. Inflation peaked at 11.1% in October 2022 – the highest figure recorded in more than 40 years.

While inflation is now nearing the BoE target at 2.3% in the 12 months to April 2024, you might be concerned about how another period of high inflation could affect you in the future. Luckily, a financial plan can help. Here’s how.

A financial plan could help you calculate how your assets and expenses will change over time

A key part of financial planning is understanding how to create long-term financial security. To do this, you’ll often consider how the value of your assets and your outgoings will change over time.

Cashflow modelling could help you visualise the data and see how your assets will change over decades.

You often start by inputting the value of your assets now, from savings to property. Then, you can assess how they might change during your lifetime. Some of the changes will be based on your actions. For example, if you’re regularly contributing to your pension, the value is likely to grow.

Other changes might be outside of your control, but you can make certain assumptions to give you an idea of your long-term wealth. For instance, if you’re investing, you might assume that the returns will be 5% each year based on your investment strategy.

Investment returns cannot be guaranteed, and there are likely to be years where your portfolio falls short of or exceeds this assumption. Even so, cashflow modelling can still provide a useful indicator of the value of your assets at different points in your life.

You’ll also need to input your expenses and factor in how these might change too. This is where you may want to consider inflation. You may account for the cost of living rising by 2% each year in line with the BoE’s target.

Of course, the unexpected does happen, including inflation rising above the BoE’s target. Cashflow modelling could help you understand how the unexpected might affect your finances.

Cashflow modelling may help you visualise the effect of high inflation

You can change the assumptions used in cashflow modelling to answer your questions and understand how different scenarios would affect your finances.

For example, you can change the data to calculate how inflation of 8% when you’re retired would affect how quickly you deplete your pension or other assets.

With a clearer idea about the effect high inflation could have on your financial circumstances, you might take steps to reduce the potential impact. You may choose to ensure you have other assets to fall back on to provide peace of mind, or you could focus on how to grow your wealth through steps like investing so you’re in a better position in a high-inflation environment.

Cashflow modelling can be useful if you want to model other scenarios too. For example, you could see how:

  • Taking a lump sum from your pension would affect your income in retirement
  • You’d weather a financial shock if you were unable to work due to an illness
  • Lower than expected investment returns may impact the value of your estate
  • Gifting assets to loved ones could affect your long-term financial security
  • Needing to pay for care later in life could affect your wealth
  • You could retire early by taking a lower income or increasing contributions during your working life.

So, financial planning could be beneficial if you want to be prepared, both for reaching your goals and for the unexpected.

Contact us to talk about how to manage the impact of inflation on your finances

There could be steps you can take to manage the risk of inflation affecting your finances in the future. Please contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your long-term financial plan and how we could support you.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate cashflow planning.

The value of financial planning: The intangible benefits that could boost your wellbeing

Consider the benefits of financial planning. If the first advantage that comes to mind is the opportunity to grow your wealth, you might be overlooking some of the intangible benefits that could improve your wellbeing.

Last month, you read about the potential financial benefits of working with a financial planner and how it could help you reach your goals.

Now, read on to learn more about some of the wellbeing benefits. While intangible benefits can be harder to quantify, they are just as important and might be something you value as much as growing your wealth.

1. Working with a professional could offer you peace of mind

A report in Professional Adviser suggests that one of the key reasons many people use a financial planner is the peace of mind it offers. In fact, in a survey of people with more than £300,000 of investable assets, more than half said this was important to them.

Worrying about your finances may affect your mental health. A survey from Standard Life found that 47% of women and 33% of men feel worried, anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed due to economic uncertainty.

A financial plan can help you focus on what you want to achieve in the future and the steps you might take to provide security, even if the unexpected happens. As a result, it could support your overall mental wellbeing.

2. A financial plan could improve your knowledge and confidence

Having someone you trust to turn to when you have financial questions could take a weight off your mind, and it could boost your finances too.

According to research from Moneybox, two-thirds of UK adults are, on average, £65,000 worse off because of low levels of financial confidence and knowledge.

The study found that less than a third of people claim they are very confident when managing finances. What’s more, 64% said they have missed out on financial opportunities in life – 35% blamed a lack of financial knowledge and 29% cited low financial confidence.

When asked why they struggled to manage their finances, the participants said they didn’t know where to start, found the topic overwhelming or struggled because of jargon. Yet, just 14% had spoken to a financial planner.

Working with a financial planner could mean you feel more confident about the steps you’re taking.

3. A financial planner could give you more time to focus on what’s important

Ensuring your financial plan remains on track and continues to reflect your circumstances can be time-consuming.

As well as keeping on top of your finances, factors outside of your control could also affect your financial plan. For example, if the government made changes to tax allowances, it could potentially lead to a higher tax bill or an opportunity to improve tax efficiency.

When you’re working with a financial planner, you can rest assured that your finances are in safe hands and focus on what’s most important to you.

4. You’re more likely to reach your goals with a clear plan

Only 17% of people in the UK have a plan to achieve their long-term money goals, according to data from the Aegon Wellbeing Index. In addition, only a quarter of people surveyed said they have a concrete vision of the things and experiences their future self might want.

If you don’t clearly outline your goals and how you’ll achieve them, it can be difficult to measure your success and stay on track. Understanding what you want to achieve now and in the future is an integral part of financial planning.

While you might link effective financial planning to growing your wealth, that’s not always the case. Indeed, in some circumstances, your plan might involve depleting your assets to allow you to reach your goals. For instance, when you retire, you’re likely to switch from accumulating wealth to turning your assets into an income stream.

A financial planner can help you assess how to manage your finances with your goals in mind.

Contact us to talk about your financial plan

If you’d like to discuss how a financial plan could support your wellbeing and help you create a path to reaching your goals, please contact us to arrange a meeting.

Next month, read our blog to discover how financial planning could lead to you making decisions that align with your aspirations and deliver even greater value.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

SME Business Awards 2024

We are pleased to announce that we received the Silver Winners of the Business of the Year less than 50 Employees. We are immensely proud of our achievement having been awarded this for a second year in a row at the SME Ely Business Awards 2024.
#SMEEly #SME #SMEBusinessAwards #Ely #financialadvisor #Events

8 fantastic reasons to support local causes for Small Charity Week

Every year, the UK celebrates Small Charity Week. The event’s goal is to raise awareness for the thousands of local causes which make a huge difference to vulnerable communities across the UK and the rest of the world.

This year’s theme is “Resilient Charities for Stronger Communities”, and the movement is encouraging everyone to get involved in helping the small charities that matter to them.

Read on to discover eight reasons to celebrate Small Charity Week from 24 to 28 June 2024.

1. Watch your community improve

People often choose to help a cause close to their hearts. Whether you’re a cat lover helping out at your local rescue or want to give back to a charity which has supported you in the past, the causes you donate your time or money to will directly affect you and the people around you.

By helping out a small charity, you can watch the positive effect your kindness has on your local area or the group of people you care most about.

2. Help society’s most vulnerable

Often, the people turning to charities are desperate and vulnerable. Charities are designed to protect those who have nowhere else to turn, and small charities especially tend to focus on the causes that are overlooked by everyone else.

When you donate your time or money to a small charity, you know that you are helping the people who need it most.

3. It makes you feel good

Although much of the focus of charity work is on the people you are helping, it can also be good to think a little selfishly sometimes.

Not only does volunteering help make the world a better place, but acts of kindness can also boost your mood by helping you feel better about yourself and the world you live in.

4. Earn a sense of belonging

Dedicating your time to a small charity will help you foster a sense of community and friendship between you and your fellow volunteers, as well as the people you support.

By volunteering, you’re not only spreading kindness in your local community but also building strong connections with the people around you.

5. Set an example for others

There is power in numbers. By helping out at your small charity of choice, you may encourage other people to do the same.

In an ideal world, charities wouldn’t have to exist. But the more people there are striving to improve the world we live in, the closer we get to a society where no one is left behind.

6. Get stuck into new opportunities

One of the benefits of helping a small charity over a larger organisation is that you can get more deeply involved in the cause.

A small charity is classed as one that makes under £1 million per year, which means that they often have fewer volunteers and resources. When you offer to help a small charity, you can help change the world while also learning new skills and experiencing incredible new things.

7. Strengthen your personal values

Many people who help charities feel they have a “moral duty” to help people less fortunate than them, which is a sentiment deeply rooted in your personal values and principles.

Having the power to improve the lives of others may come with a feeling of responsibility. Acting on this sense of obligation will help you to feel like you’re living your life true to your beliefs, making your life feel more meaningful.

8. Enjoy tax relief when you donate

A bonus of donating to a charity is that there are some methods to donate tax-free, such as when you donate directly through your payroll. It could reduce your tax bill while supporting good causes.

A financial planner can help you donate to charity as tax-efficiently as possible. Get in touch with us to add charitable donations to your financial plan, so you can save money and the world at the same time.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

3 useful options you may want to consider when passing on assets to your loved ones

There’s more than one way to pass on wealth to your family. Which option is right for you could depend on a range of factors, from whether your loved ones could benefit from support now to the implications of Inheritance Tax (IHT).

Read on to find out what you might want to consider when passing on assets using three different methods.

1. Gifting during your lifetime

Providing gifts to loved ones during your lifetime is becoming an increasingly popular option. With younger generations often facing financial challenges, a gift now could provide greater security than if they received an inheritance later in life.

Being able to support your loved ones when they need it most is a key benefit of gifting during your lifetime. It could mean your family can get on the property ladder, pursue further education, or simply manage their budget more effectively.

Many young people rely on family to reach milestones. Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that around half of first-time buyers in their 20s received some financial help. Not only did this allow them to buy a home, but it could improve their finances over the long term, especially if they were able to access a lower mortgage interest rate as a result.

In addition, gifting during your lifetime could be useful if your estate may be liable for IHT.

Gifts that were given more than seven years before you passed away are not usually included in your estate for IHT purposes. Some gifts, including up to £3,000 in the 2024/25 tax year, are considered immediately outside of your estate when calculating IHT.

As a result, you could gift assets to reduce the overall value of your estate to mitigate or reduce an IHT bill.

In 2024/25, the nil-rate band is £325,000 – if the entire value of your estate is below this threshold, no IHT will be due. If your estate exceeds this threshold there are often other allowances and steps you may take to reduce the bill. Please contact us if your estate could be liable for IHT.

Whether you want to gift a lump sum or lend regular financial support, there are some key areas you may want to consider before you put your hand in your pocket, including:

  • How could taking wealth out of your estate now affect your long-term financial security?
  • As you’ll be gifting assets during your lifetime, will it affect the inheritances you leave behind for loved ones?

Financial planning could help you assess the implications of gifting to help you understand if it’s the right option for you.

2. Passing on assets in a will

Leaving assets to your loved ones when you pass away is the traditional way to pass on wealth, and it’s an option that’s still right for many people.

It might be attractive because you want to leave a legacy to your beneficiaries. It could provide a wealth boost to your family later in their life and might be used to support a range of aspirations, like retiring early or sending your grandchildren to private school.

A legacy could also be a good option if you’re worried that gifting during your lifetime could affect your financial security in your later years.

If you want to leave assets to your loved ones when you pass away, it’s important to write a will – it’s a way to state how you’d like your assets to be distributed. If you die without a will, your assets will be passed on according to intestacy rules, which may not align with your wishes.

However, there are drawbacks you might need to consider when leaving assets in a will.

Among them is whether the financial boost will come too late in the lives of your family. If they’re struggling financially now, could receiving some or all their inheritance before you pass away be more beneficial?

Again, it might also be useful to consider if your estate could be liable for IHT when you’re writing a will. If you’re proactive, there are often steps you can take to reduce an eventual bill.

3. Using a trust to hold assets

A trust is a legal arrangement to pass on assets where a trustee manages assets on behalf of the beneficiary according to the trust deed, which allows you, as the “settlor”, to set how the assets in the trust should be used and when.

There are many reasons why you might choose to use a trust, including to:

  • Retain greater control over assets you pass on
  • Pass on assets to young children or vulnerable adults
  • Allow you to pass on assets but still benefit from them during your lifetime
  • Preserve wealth for future generations
  • Mitigate an IHT bill.

One of the key benefits of a trust is that you can state how the assets are used. So, if you have a clear idea about how you’d like your loved ones to use the wealth you give them, it’s an option you may want to consider. For example, you could create a trust on behalf of your grandchild and state that it’s to be used for education purposes during their childhood, and they can then access the assets once they reach a certain age.

There are several different types of trusts and, once they’re set up, they can be difficult or impossible to reverse. As a result, you might want to seek legal advice when creating a trust to discuss your objectives and whether it’s the right option for you.

Contact us to set up your estate plan

You don’t have to just select one of the options covered in this article. You might choose to pass on some of your wealth now, but leave the rest of it through a will. Or you might decide to gift assets to some loved ones but use a trust for others, such as young children.

A complete estate plan might encompass more than how you’ll pass on assets to loved ones. You might also want to consider what steps you could take to improve your security if you needed care later in life, how to mitigate a potential IHT bill, set out your funeral wishes, and more.

Please contact us to talk about how to prepare for your later years and discuss how we could help you put an estate plan that reflects your wishes in place.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning or Inheritance Tax planning.

Hooked on Ripley? Fraudsters may use some of the same tactics to scam you

The psychological thriller Ripley has received critical praise for its cinematography and writing. If you’ve been on the edge of your seat watching the story unfold, you might have thought “I’d never fall for the tactics of a con artist”, but a scam carried out today uses many of the same ploys and relies on catching people off guard.

Ripley is the latest adaption of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. In 1950s New York, con man Tom Ripley is hired by a wealthy man to convince his son to return home from Italy. As he embarks on a trip to Europe, Ripley starts building a complex life of deceit and fraud.

It’s not only those who come across Ripley that need to be careful. Indeed, there are many “Ripleys” scamming victims today – according to a report in Money Marketing, more than £2.6 billion was stolen between 2020 and 2023 through investment scams alone. More than 98,500 victims reported crimes, with an average loss of £26,773.

So, here are some valuable lessons you could learn from Ripley to protect your wealth.

Appearances can be deceiving

Ripley gets the opportunity to carry out a scam after Herbert Greenleaf mistakes him for a friend of his son, and then he takes up the charade. Ripley uses his ruthless charm and skills to build a rapport with others to get what he wants.

It’s an important reminder that people aren’t always who they seem. If you receive contact out of the blue, a measure of caution could help you spot a potential scam.

It’s not just people you need to be wary of. A growing number of scammers are posing as legitimate companies.

Which? found that more than 2,000 suspected banking copycat websites were reported in 2023. These websites might look genuine and could dupe you into handing over sensitive information.

Fraudsters might also use text messages, emails, or other forms of communication in a way that looks similar to real organisations to build up a sense of trust.

If you’re unsure if the person you’re speaking to is who they claim to be, don’t be afraid to end the contact and directly call the organisation using the details listed on the Financial Conduct Authority’s register. A legitimate firm will understand why you’re being cautious.

Protect your personal details

Scammers don’t always need to contact you to take control of your assets. If they get hold of your personal information, it might be possible for them to carry out identity theft.

In Ripley, Tom assumes the identity of another person to gain access to their trust fund and enjoy a lavish lifestyle. Modern fraudsters who have sensitive information could gain control of your bank accounts and other assets. Criminals may even take out credit in your name.

Keeping personal details such as your date of birth, current and previous addresses, and passwords secure could reduce the risk of identity theft. If you’re getting rid of old documents, shredding or destroying them before putting them in the bin may be a useful step to take too.

Victims of a scam might not get a happy ending

In the novel, Ripley comes out on top at the end – he’s rich and plans to continue his travels in Europe, although he’s plagued by worries that the consequences of his actions will come back to haunt him.

However, The Talented Mr. Ripley doesn’t have a happy ending for the victims of his scams, and, sadly, that can all too often be the case in real life. Tracking down scammers can be impossible, and you might not recover the assets that have been stolen.

While some banks or other financial institutions might offer you a refund if you fall victim to a scam, they often don’t have to, and many are left out of pocket. Indeed, according to UK Finance, in the first half of 2023, around a third of people who lost money to authorised push payment scams didn’t receive their money back.

So, taking a cautious approach if you’re offered a financial opportunity, even if it appears genuine, is usually a good idea.

You should be particularly cautious if you’ve been approached out of the blue and the person is putting pressure on you to act quickly – both these potential red flags could signal it’s a scam. 

Contact us to talk about your financial plan

Feeling confident about your financial plan could mean you’re less likely to fall victim to a scammer. You could also contact us if you’re unsure if a financial opportunity you’re considering is legitimate or right for you. Please contact us to arrange a meeting.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.