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 Monday and the Chancellor, George Osborne threw another curve ball at us about pensions.

 Following his shock announcement earlier this year, removing restrictions on the ability to withdraw funds, we were surprised with his announcement on death benefits.

 Where someone dies before they start to take benefits from their pension, lump sum death benefits have normally been tax-free. However, where the individual died after benefits had been taken, lump sum death benefits have been taxed at 55%. This will change going forward.

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Although the terms are familiar, there is a big difference between the types of service your Financial Planner will provide, compared to the work a financial adviser will carry out for you.

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Revised Annual ISA allowance - The amount you can invest each tax year - will increase to £11,880 on 6 April. It will then rise to £15,000 from the 1 July 2014.

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A recent survey by Blackrock Investment Management has highlighted the concerns of people when it comes to planning for their retirement.

Funding a comfortable retirement was vitally important for most of the people surveyed, however only 41% were confident that they would have sufficient income in retirement.

The report showed that there is a massive gap between the pension goals people have and what their actual pension will provide when it comes to taking their pension income.

 

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dangerA recent vote organised by MEP Sven Giegold, named and shamed financial products that consumers felt were the most dangerous consumers and the environment.

One of the culprits was Food speculation funds. This type of investment topped the table for financial products that were most likely to harm the environment.

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216 Reasons to make a will


I was recently asked by a sceptical friend to give a good reason why she should make a Will. I answered that, in fact, I could give her 216 reasons.

216 is the number of beneficiaries who recently inherited a moderately valued estate of £250,000; where some received cheques for as little as £3.76

The deceased had close friends and favoured charities; however because he did not have a valid Will, his estate passed under the intestacy rules with the total number of persons benefiting reaching 216.

Of the 216, few knew the deceased personally, and the majority had never heard of him.

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The recent minutes from the recent Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, gave concerns about the state of the UK economy.

Three MPC members including the Governor Mervyn King voted in favour of further £25 Billion of Quantitve easing, increasing the total amount of QE so far to £400 Billion.

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georgeosborneThe 2013 Annual Budget Statement painted a somewhat bleak economic picture, alleviated by a few crowd-pleasing bright spots. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne cut the predicted level of growth in the UK during 2013 from 1.2% to 0.6%.

The UK’s borrowing is expected to increase to £114bn in 2013, then forecast to start falling in 2014. For its part, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility does not expect net debt to fall until 2017/18 – a year later than previously anticipated. Further cuts in government spending were also announced. 

The UK is expected to avoid tipping back into recession this year, although the Chancellor warned that further turbulence in the eurozone could hamper economic recovery. He maintained that the coalition government’s economic policies were proving effective, although he admitted that “it is taking longer than anyone hoped.”

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NationalInsuranceA recent article in the Daily Telegraph has blamed the government over confusion about National Insurance Contributions.

The recent White paper on State Pension Reforms outlined the plans to introduce a flat rate pension of £140 per week. However the number of years required to meet the new level has increased from 30 years to 35.

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The Pension reform white paper was published yesterday by Pensions Minister Steve Webb.

Detailed plans on the proposed changes were announced. A flat rate pension of £144 per week has been recommended. The current coalition government believes that a flat rate pension will be simpler to administer and will help people plan for retirement.

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