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Saturday April 13th, 2024 

News Archive - January 2008

Sort your life out!


It's the season for New Year's resolutions. Christmas is out of the way, and it's a great time to look at your finances and get yourself sorted for the year ahead.

This year in particular might be a tough one. If you have a fixed rate mortgage deal that is due to run out, you may well find it difficult to remortgage on such favourable terms. Lenders are getting cagey about their liabilities and are going to be a lot more choosy about the deals they offer. If you can afford to reduce your debts (especially expensive credit card debt) then this is the time to do it (or put in place a plan to do so over the course of the year).

On the plus side, the 'credit crunch' means that there are some good deals for savers, as the banks and building societies compete to raise cash.

If you have cash savings spread across various old bank and building society savings accounts, it might be the time to get them all amalgamated into one place that gives you a competitive rate. I don't advise doing this all the time (because you will drive yourself mad chasing the best rates, which change all the time) but every few years you should check to see if any of your accounts have become uncompetitive.

Many people have a misconception that savings accounts always apply a penalty on withdrawal. Many savings accounts and also Cash ISAs offer instant access to your savings, and higher interest rates which, in the case of ISAs, are free of tax.

Small improvements like this don't make a massive difference, but it all adds up. If you don't move your money, then you are effectively rewarding your bank for offering a low rate of interest. How do you think high street banks make such huge profits?

A financial review from Mulberry Financial would incorporate this type of advice, as well as pensions, life and health assurance, investments and Inheritance Tax planning. Why not give us a call?


Don't panic.


Worries about the global economy have translated themselves into widespread panic on world stockmarkets this week.

This is a dreadful scenario for anybody who is planning to retire in the next few months and was planning to buy an annuity with their money purchase pension fund. (anyone fortunate enough to have a final salary pension is much better protected from short-term market fluctuations). If your pension fund has just fallen sharply in value, buying an annuity will essentially crysallise your losses now and condemn you to a lower pension for the rest of your life.

If you cannot afford to delay your retirement, one solution might be to use Pension Fund Withdrawal rather than buying a conventional annuity. This allows you to draw an income from your pension fund whilst still leaving your remaining fund invested. Crucially, this allows it to benefit from any future recovery on the stock market. You can buy an annuity with the remaining fund in the future.

This is a product with its own risks attached and may not be suitable for you. However, at difficult times it makes sense to look at all the options. We specialise in retirement planning and we can help you to make the difficult decisions. Please call to arrange a discussion.

For those who are saving regularly towards their retirement, and still have many years to go, the falling stockmarket allows you to 'buy low' and should eventually benefit you assuming that the market eventually recovers.

Once again I must stress that stock market investments work best over the long term, so if you have suffered paper losses over the last few days, you should treat them as such and do not realise them by selling your investments (or switching them into lower risk funds) unless you absolutely have to.

If you are concerned about your pensions or investments or have any questions, please give me a call.


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The material here is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for individual investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decisions. Mulberry Financial Ltd does not accept any liability for any loss suffered by any user as a result of any such decision.
The information is based on our understanding of current HMRC rules and practices (as at the news article date) which are always subject to change. Taxation and trust advice and Cash ISAs are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This site is aimed at UK residents only.
Please remember that the prices of shares and other investments can fall sharply. You may not get back the money you originally invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future.

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