It will soon be time for Britons to crack open something sparkling and sing Auld Lang Syne, but not before we reveal which Money Observer stories were our readers’ favourites in 2019.
I like many things about the 1980s: I was born, it produced some of my favourite films - Blade Runner to name just one - but I am particularly fond of the music.
My Dad played lots of 1980s songs (loudly) on long car journeys when my brother and I were children, and as a consequence we can spout all the lyrics to tracks by The Pet Shop Boys, Level 42 and other bands in the way that some people can recite poetry.
The ushering in of an era of pension freedom by George Osborne four years ago was a revolutionary change. Retirees were no longer compelled to use their pension pot to buy an annuity that would provide them with an income for life; instead, they could leave their money invested and dip into it at will.
This freedom is now taken for granted and widely used. The latest figures from HMRC show that in any given quarter hundreds of thousands of people are taking advantage of the pension freedoms. The average quarterly withdrawal now stands at just over £7,000.
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won a majority - the largest Tory majority since 1987 - following the UK general election.
Below, we round up key implications for the nation’s personal finances.
If Labour confounds the latest poll from YouGov and is able to form a government, then I will be due for a windfall of £12,833 over five years – that’s £2,566 a year.
HMRC has flagged up to pension schemes that some employees may unwittingly be failing to report all their pension contributions on their tax return. The oversight could result in large tax bills in due course when the taxman catches up with them, warns Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London.
Thousands of women could see their state pension reduced in retirement because their claim for child benefit is in the name of their partner.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request put in by Royal London to HM Revenue and Customs has revealed that around 200,000 couples are making the wrong choice about who claims child benefit, potentially costing them thousands of pounds.
Less than one in 10 of the British public are confident they have saved enough in their pension for their retirement.
That’s the finding of a survey conducted by insurer NFU Mutual of more than 2,000 people from across the country. Just 9% say they are “very confident” of being comfortable in retirement.
Labour has promised ‘recompense’ to women born in the 1950s hit by changes to the state pension age.
In its 2019 manifesto, the Labour Party pledges to compensate women born in the 1950s for the failure of the government to adequately notify them about changes in the state pension age.
Differing retirement dreams and money issues are likely to be some of the reasons behind the rising number of the UK’s “silver splitters”.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 92 out of every 10,000 married women aged 50 to 54 in England and Wales got divorced last year – up from 68 in 1993 – with the number also rising for those in their late 50s and over-60s.