If you’re in your early 60s and looking forward to retirement, the past couple of months have hardly been a time for celebration of the approach of your golden years – indeed, quite the opposite. On 6 November 2018, the state pension age (SPA) for men and women was briefly equalised as women’s SPA rose to 65. It’s the latest hike in a series of adjustments that started in 2010 and were accelerated in 2011, designed to bring men and women into line in state pension terms.
In a financial world where transparency for consumers has become a huge buzzword in recent years, one of the biggest relics from a past, non-digital age is the platform exit fee.
The latest figures from the government show that in the period from July to September 2018, more than £38 million was reclaimed by more than 18,000 pension savers who had been charged too much tax when they made pension withdrawals. The average repayment by HM Revenue & Customs for this period was more than £2,000.
Higher earners with incomes approaching £50,000 have been dealt a backhanded blow by chancellor Philip Hammond in the Budget small print.
In yesterday’s Budget, he announced that the basic (20%) rate tax threshold will rise from £11,850 to £12,500 and the starting level for higher rate (40%) tax will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2018.
The chancellor stopped short of major pension changes in his Budget speech, but the small print holds several significant pension announcements.
There was little or no mention of the P word in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget speech this afternoon (29 October). Pension allowances and tax relief were left well alone.
For the past two decades or so, as final salary schemes have declined and it has become increasingly clear that the state pension alone will be barely enough to scrape by on, we have been exhorted by the powers that be to take control of our own financial destiny.
The 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which precipitated the global financial crisis in mid-September 2008, has provided a great opportunity for the financial services industry’s statistics geeks to wheel out some impressive figures demonstrating the power of long-term equity investment to dull the pain of market crashes – and the extent of people’s capacity to be wise after the event.
August was not an easy time for the FTSE 100 index: it fell 4.1 per cent over the month and as a consequence is now down almost 5 per cent over 2018 to date.
Historically, the summer sees low trading volumes which can contribute to volatility, but it was exacerbated by geopolitical concerns such as the continuing trade standoff between the US and China and troubles for the Turkish and Argentine economies.
The Lifetime Isa (Lisa) has been surrounded by controversy ever since its adoption in April 2017. It’s the seventh member of the Isa family, and one that appears to have been set up specifically to squabble not only with at least one of its siblings, but also with its pension cousins just down the road.
We have run queries on the letters pages of previous issues of Money Observer from readers concerned about the safety of the investments they hold on broker platforms in the event of their broker going to the wall. We’ve reassured them that rules set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) mean their funds (and cash) must be held in a separate nominee account that cannot be raided by a broker or its creditors if the firm goes out of business.