A half term treat at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin

A half term treat at the British Schools Museum in Hitchin
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Parents, kids, looking for something to do during half term? Then look no further and organise a trip to the British Schools museum in Hitchin, which re-opens its doors on the 15th February after winter maintenance.

My wife and I were invited to the launch of their new Joseph Lancaster exhibition last night showing off the full glory of the world’s last monitorial classroom that has been lovingly restored by the fabulous staff and volunteers. Also there, all the way from Mexico, were two of Lancaster’s great, great, great grandchildren  who have followed the BSM’s story since 1988.

Included in the exhibition are some wonderful videos donated by our friends at Hitchin TV, well done guys, they really bring the Lancaster story to life.

At Lyndhurst we are proud to support this wonderful example of a local community working together to keep alive the work of a man remembered as “The Poor Child’s Friend”.

Geoff Newman – Director.

More details about the Museum can be found on their website: https://britishschoolsmuseum.org.uk/

Grandchildren and Pensions

Grandchildren and Pensions
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One of our team pointed out an article in The Sunday Times, written by the wonderful freelance journalist Holly Black, where she wrote about a Hertfordshire couple who had set up a pension for their grandchild at birth and then gave it to him as an 18th birthday present. The teenager was flabbergasted to be told that they had saved £118,000 in a pension and even more amazed that by the time he is 60 his retirement pot could reach a £1m without him contributing another penny! (Based on a growth rate of 5.1%).

The grandparents had contributed the maximum permitted of £2880 per year, making it £51,840 over the 18 years, with the government topping it up by £12,960 through tax relief.

So, start saving early and see the benefits of compound interest, something we at Lyndhurst have been encouraging our clients to do for the last twenty six years.

The Obvious Differences Between Retirement in The UK and Australia

The Obvious Differences Between Retirement in The UK and Australia
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Retirement in The UK or Australia?

There comes a time for every retiree to choose where they want to retire and, of course, that can be a daunting task. Is it best to stay in your home country or travel abroad to spend those relaxing retirement years in an exotic, beach-filled oasis? There are so many different aspects to consider when retiring in Australia and the UK including the weather, the economy, the unique Aussie lifestyle and the financial systems.

In this article we’ll go over a few of the obvious differences between retiring in the UK and Australia.

Cost of Living

One of the most important things to know about Australia and the UK, when retiring is concerned, is that the cost of living is wildly different. When compared to the United Kingdom, Australia can be far more expensive especially for food, rent and fuel, though if you budget well enough the costs can be manageable.

A statistic that Australian retirees might want to be wary of are the median home prices. The average UK home price makes retiring in the UK so much more attractive, sitting at just over $400,000 or £232,554 whereas Australians can expect somewhere around $809,000.

Lifestyle Differences

This is where the bigger differences start to rear their heads. The Australian and UK lifestyles are quite different and that’s thanks to big differences in weather, restaurant prices and different approaches to outdoor living.

Australian retirees and seniors enjoy cheaper dining out costs and that’s where Australia’s massive foodie culture comes in. During retirement in Oz you’ll likely be eating out almost every few days with friends and family, whereas in the UK, you’ll more likely to spend a little more time indoors enjoying home cooking.

Another major difference is, of course, the weather. Australia and the UK are worlds apart when weather is concerned, and that means that lifestyles are a little different.

In Australia you’ll be far more inclined to go on dawn and dusk walks each day as you can be almost certain that the only things you’ll be dealing with are blue skies and sunshine, whereas the UK can be a little more dreary at times with well over 120 days of rain a year, whereas in most Australian capitals you’ll only need your brolly 60 to 80 days a year.

Budgeting for Australia and the UK

No matter where you plan on retiring, whether it be the UK, Australia or just about anywhere else, budgeting for the local economy is essential.

If you’re soon to be a retiree or are simply planning ahead, speaking long-term to a certified, professional financial advisor like ourselves or Financial Framework based in Perth, Australia is going to be essential to ensure you’re on track to retiring and sustaining the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

Choosing to stay in the UK or Australia as a citizen will mean that you’ll be eligible for additional pension support and other financial perks, so be sure to check with your local government’s guidelines.

Find out more information here: https://financialframework.com.au/

Focus for Women : Financial security and wellbeing

Focus for Women : Financial security and wellbeing
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Lyndhurst Financial Management, a leading Hertfordshire based financial planning and financial advice company, set up its Focus for Women department two years ago to offer its female clients a service that not only specifically relates to their needs but also provides a wealth of expertise from female financial advisors, which a number of women prefer.

A recent media and government focus on the finances and savings of women has shown a number of factors, which impact negatively on the long term financial security of women, namely that:

  • Women are more likely to save than men early in their careers, but typically the amount they save is less.
  • They are also more risk averse than men, being reluctant to invest in stocks and shares, preferring to choose a seemingly less risky option such as ISAs for their savings – which over a long investment period, will typically yield lower returns.
  • There continues to be a large gender pay gap despite much needed progress in the workplace.

These factors amongst others undoubtedly  impact significantly on the pensions of women at retirement. Research from the Insuring Women’s Futures organisation revealed that when an average 65-year old woman retires she is likely to receive a pension pot of approximately  £35,800, in stark contrast to a man of the same age who is likely to have a pension pot up five times greater or more, which could be as much as £175,000.

Ironically, due to greater longevity, women’s pension pots are generally required to last longer and their care home costs are on average roughly double those of men, putting considerable pressure on their income and quality of life in retirement.

Susan Leggott, who is training to become a financial adviser and previously worked in the City, says

“Prior to joining the team at Lyndhurst I had not wholly appreciated the value of good financial advice, particularly early in career. This is true for anyone, but particularly for women, where evidence shows they are facing significant financial challenges compared to their male counterparts. The more time they have to plan and invest wisely, the better off they will be in later life.
A secure financial future is something we all want to achieve and more women are taking responsibility for their finances. It’s a very exciting time – good financial health has been proven to have a positive effect on overall wellbeing and women deserve the same peace of mind as men”.

Harpenden’s Annual Christmas Carnival 25 NOVEMBER from 12pm

Harpenden’s Annual Christmas Carnival 25 NOVEMBER from 12pm
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Lyndhurst Financial Management Supports Harpenden’s Annual Christmas Carnival

Lyndhurst Financial Management, a leading Hertfordshire financial management and financial planning company, is fully supporting Harpenden’s Christmas Carnival by becoming one of the sponsors of this very popular annual event.

The Christmas Carnival, which is organised by Harpenden Town Council will be on Harpenden High Street on Sunday November 25th from 12midday. This year’s festivities include the town’s monthly Farmers Market which is being expanded for the occasion to Thompson’s Close, where families with young children will find Santa’s Grotto from 12.30pm

There will be Henry Harris’ Funfair, entertainment on the Main Stage, stilt walkers, walk about entertainment, a Young Enterprise Trade Fair with stalls and the magnificent annual procession at 3pm, coming down Sun Lane and along the High Street and up Vaughan Road. At 5pm the excitement is at fever pitch as the Christmas Lights are switched on.

Geoff Newman, Development Director at Lyndhurst says

“Lyndhurst has been in Harpenden for just under 20 years and many of our clients will be attending the festival fun. As a long time Harpenden resident myself I love the annual Christmas festivities. We live and work in a very close community and everyone turns out for the Christmas Carnival.
At Lyndhurst we are delighted to be able to give our support to such a great community event and we just hope that the mild weather continues until the end of the month. Whatever happens, rain really won’t stop play.”

Government’s Increased ‘Death Tax’ To Hit 280,000 Families

Government’s Increased ‘Death Tax’ To Hit 280,000 Families
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Last week’s budget received mainly positive responses from the general public and the media, but one subsequent item which the Treasury was clearly trying to keep under the radar is the proposed massive hike on probate costs, causing uproar all round.

Currently the cost of probate is £215 (£155 through a solicitor), with the IHT threshold (Inheritance Tax) having been frozen at £325,000 for the past decade. In 2017/18 the taxman took a record breaking £5.2bn in IHT and this year the amount is expected to be at least £5.5bn, with anticipated continuing increases of 3.5%-6% over the next five years.

From the increase of probate costs alone, the taxman will receive an extra £185million a year in charges from 2022-23.

Geoff Newman, Development Director of leading Hertfordshire financial planning and financial services company Lyndhurst Financial Management says

“The Government has decided to link the probate charge to the size of the deceased’s estate and the levy ranges from £250 for estates valued between £50,001- £300,000 to £6,000 above £2million.
Probate fees were meant to cover the cost of a simple service, now they are another way for the government to bring in more death duties. Although the Justice Minister said fees will never be more than 0.5% of an estate’s value, there are concerns that this is just the start of more taxation on assets that people have acquired throughout their lifetimes and justifiably want to leave to their families when they die.
There are complications as the probate fee needs to be paid upfront and there may be questions on how the money will be recovered from the estate as assets are frozen until the executors receive grant of probate.
As always, we advise people to get professional advice on all aspects of inheritance tax and how best to protect their assets for themselves and their families.”

Why Are Women Underinsured Asks Lyndhurst?

Why Are Women Underinsured Asks Lyndhurst?
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There have been many discussions on the subject of female gender pay gaps and also how women are less likely to have stocks and shares investments than the safer but far less profitable cash ISAs.

Now it seems a recent study has also highlighted the fact that women are less likely to take out any kind of protection insurance (ie life, income protection, medical, mortgage etc) and, if they do, are likely to insure themselves for up to 33% less than their male counterparts.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)s report on Insuring Women’s Future discovered that women tend to face different kind of risks from men, such as those from divorce or separation.

Johanna Haigh, a Financial Adviser at leading Herts-based financial management and financial planning company Lyndhurst Financial Management says

“In general, women still tend to earn less than men over their working lives and acquire fewer financial assets. However, this does not stop them needing valuable cover should the worst happen, ensuring themselves and their dependants are protected.”

The report highlighted six key ‘moments that matter’ in women’s lives

  1. Growing up, studying and re-qualifying
  2. Entering and re-entering the workplace
  3. Relationships: Making and breaking up
  4. Motherhood and becoming a carer
  5. Later life, planning and entering retirement
  6. Ill health, infirmity and dying

Johanna continues

“The insurance industry has at last recognised that women have a number of different needs to men and they are creating policies which represent this differential. We would always advise women to seek professional financial advice to help them make the best decisions for their financial future.”

Johanna Haigh can be contacted at our Hitchin office on 01462 441100 or mobile: 07896 651641

Foreign Offshore Assets No Longer A Secret From HMRC

Foreign Offshore Assets No Longer A Secret From HMRC
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The Cayman Islands and many other tax free havens are probably starting to look less attractive to those Brits who are keen to hide at least some of their undisclosed wealth from the taxman.

Since Monday October 1st HMRC has new legislation that demands all UK taxpayers have to declare their foreign assets and pay UK income tax, capital gains or inheritance tax on them, otherwise fines will be swift and severe.

Geoff Newman, Development Director at leading Hertfordshire-based financial planning and financial advice firm Lyndhurst Financial Management says

“There will always be people who want to hide their wealth, whether from the taxman or an angry ex spouse and, equally, disreputable companies which will help with offshore funds or dodgy film schemes and the like.
Under this new legislation HMRC can fine UK taxpayers twice the amount of tax they already need to pay because of the new “requirement to correct” rules. Taxpayers who have declared foreign assets have a 90 day breathing space before full disclosure and subsequent tax payments.
I think that while this is good news it’s going to be hard to monitor or trace foreign assets and the money that would have to be spent on investigations may be worth more than the recovered tax. However, if it helps to stop people avoiding tax and prevents at least some criminal activity around money laundering it can only be for the good of the UK economy.
High net worth individuals don’t have to hide their wealth. If they get good professional financial advice they can actually use the money they might want to hide from the taxman by investing in the UK, thereby benefiting both themselves and the country as a whole.”

As Mid Lifers Top Divorce Rates Sorting Out Finances Can Be a Nightmare

As Mid Lifers Top Divorce Rates Sorting Out Finances Can Be a Nightmare
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Although there are encouraging signs that divorce rates have fallen to a 44 year low, rather than a ‘seven year itch’ scenario it seems that the mid-life crisis generation is now topping the divorce statistics.

The rise in the so called ‘silver splitters’ is related to a number of different factors according to the ONS (Office For National Statistics)  People are living longer and, in general., healthier lives. Hitting 50 or 60 is no longer ‘old’, with many people choosing to ‘spend the children’s inheritance’ and have a ball, travelling the world and enjoying their freedom like no other older generation before them. Faced with another 20 or 30 years stuck in an unhappy union and the children off their hands, many people decide to call time on their marriages.

Geoff Newman, Development Director at leading Hertfordshire financial advice and financial planning firm Lyndhurst Financial Management says

“Later divorce is a growing trend that we are aware of at Lyndhurst. It’s now so much easier to get a divorce but for older couples, whose lives and finances have been entwined for many years, splitting the assets fairly can be a nightmare.
As well as the bigger assets such as property and pensions, there is also life insurance, inheritance and any other assets the couple may have that have to be shared legally. It’s often a complex situation because couples can accrue a lot of wealth over the lifetime of their marriage. A property that was bought in the 80s or 90s would now be worth considerably more for example.
We would always advise divorcing couples or co habiting couples who are separating to get professional financial advice. It will save them lots of time and heartache. We acknowledge that divorce can be an emotional time for both partners and we have a Focus for Women team who specialise in helping women make the best decisions for their financial future.
It’s always best for both parties to outline both joint and individual assets so that the fairest solutions can be reached. This is usually done with the help of their solicitor(s) but that’s essentially from the legal side. A financial advisor has been trained to give people the best options available based on their current financial situation so that both sides can plan for a secure future and positive retirement.”

Saving in Cash or Stocks and Shares ISAs – Which Option Will Give You A Wealthier Retirement?

Saving in Cash or Stocks and Shares ISAs – Which Option Will Give You A Wealthier Retirement?
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Cash ISAs have proved very popular since they were introduced to encourage people to save money by not taxing any interest earned. They have always provided a safe nest egg but since the financial crash of 2008 record low interest rates have meant that cash ISA savers have been really losing out on their financial returns.
The fact that there is no longer any tax to pay on the first £1,000 of annual interest has been of little comfort to cash ISA savers, who have seen the value of their money depreciate year on year. Interest rates are likely to remain relatively low for a long time to come and,with inflation rising, many savers are looking elsewhere to invest their money to ensure a decent return for their retirement.

Geoff Newman, Development Director of Lyndhurst Financial Management, a leading Hertfordshire based financial planning and financial advice firm says

“We help our clients make better financial decisions and this is extremely important when planning for retirement. Although some people are reluctant to invest in stocks and shares, the average dividend yield of the FTSE All Share has been 3.42% between 1995 and 2015.
While investors could experience capital losses in the unpredictable marketplace, as retirement planning tends to involve long term activity it’s likely that over a period of time the markets will rally and the value of someone’s investments will still be greater than if they’d left their cash in a typically low return ISA.
Before making any decisions we always advise people to seek professional financial advice so that they can make the right decisions for their financial future and retirement.”