Thursday, 14 June 2012

Investment Property SIPPs

As A Day looms we examine Investment Property SIPPs and what the advantages and disadvantages of buying property with the money in your SIPP are likely to be.

Like any pension scheme Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) provide you with retirement and related benefits. SIPPs allow you the accessibility and control to invest into your pension scheme more flexibly and you also have the possibility of income withdrawal. In other words, SIPPs enable you to manage your own investment. The regulations behind SIPPs are basically the same as those behind personal pensions (e.g. 25% tax-free lump sum etc) and since April 2005, SIPPs are now available to anyone. Investors can put in a maximum of:
  • 100% of their Annual Salary or, if self employed, up to £215,000 tax free
  • Life-time limit of £1.5 million
Investment Property - SIPPs
From the 6th of April 2006, also known as A Day, changes in the UK Pensions regulations will come into effect, allowing the money in SIPPs to be used in purchase of any investment property, including your own home. However, it should also be noted that the property purchase will only be allowed on a property that will earn an income for the purchaser. This change to SIPPs will apply not only to investment property within the UK but also overseas properties which are purchased for the purpose of ‘Buy-to-Let’. 
Recent figures suggest that 60% of SIPPs savers are intending to take advantage of the change in legislation and use their SIPPs to purchase investment property. They may also be interested in benefiting from the change to the annual contribution allowance as A Day will also mean that SIPPs savers if employed will be able to make contributions of upto £215,000 per member regardless of earnings.
Benefits of Investment Property through SIPPs
The positive features of buying property through a SIPP are generally considered to be:
  • The rent charged on the investment property bought is received tax free by the pension scheme, enhancing the investor’s retirement fund
  • SIPPs can be used to pay all the legal expenses associated with buying the investment property
  • There is no capital gains tax levied on any eventual sale
  • The asset is able to augment in a largely tax-free environment
  • If the investor is forced to declare bankruptcy the property will not be classed as an asset
To learn more about investment and Robinia Investments follow this link now.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Contract hire: Ways to save money on car insurance

Car insurance can be very expensive, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you save money

Contract hire is a very cost-effective way of using a vehicle, without actually owning it. Along with a low initial outlay, you pay a low fixed-monthly rental, so you can always keep track of your finances. Fuel and insurance are not included in the monthly rental, but if you choose to include a service and maintenance package in your plan, these are the only extra costs you have to bear. Have a look at our suggestions below on ways to save money on your car insurance

  • There are now hundreds of car insurance companies all vying for your business, so the competition is hot and you can take advantage of some good bargains. If you shop around you will almost certainly be able to beat the renewal quote offered by your current insurer

  • Keep your car in the garage overnight. You will pay more in insurance for keeping your car on the road, because there is more chance of your car being broken into or damaged. As a second best option, put your car on a driveway

  • Go through a car insurance broker's website so you can get access to quotes from at least 40 car insurers, by simply inputting your details once. When you've received a quotation, call them to discuss the details of the policy, and maybe even request a further discount

  • Keep track of how many miles you do each year, if you travel less then you will save on premiums

  • If you're aged between 18 and 21 then you have got the option of “pay-as-you-go insurance”. This is a new type of insurance pioneered by one particular insurance company. It's especially for younger people who find it hard to afford car insurance. You're charged for the miles you drive, and it gets more expensive per mile between 11pm and 6am. For a one-off fee of £199, your car is fitted with a Global Positioning System which communicates details of your mileage direct to Norwich Union, they then send you a monthly bill

  • If you've got more than one car registered at your address, you can get extra savings by insuring them all in one policy

  • High spec and performance cars cost more to insure, because statistically speaking, there's more chance of them being stolen or being involved in an accident. Save money by choosing something a bit more practical

House insurance – what to itemise

When you renew your house insurance you may think your contents insurance covers everything in your home – think again.

Most house insurance policies have a ‘high risk items limit’; this can vary widely between policies with some insurers having the limit as low as £1,000. Whatever the limit on your particular policy it is important to be aware of it.

Take a look around

There are many items in the average home that could potentially be worth more than your high risk items limit. These items can range from computer and audio visual equipment to antiques. Electrical equipment that may exceed the limit is often quite easy to identify as it is likely to have been purchased relatively recently. With regard to the latter, people are often unaware of how much that statue handed down from great aunty whoever may be worth; any such items should be taken to a dealer for a professional valuation.

Replacement price not current value

It is important to note that when talking about house insurance, in particular contents insurance, it is the price of replacing a particular item that should be of paramount concern to both you and your insurer, not its current sale value.

Paying the premium

It is important to note that you will have to pay a premium on any item that you value above your high risk items limit and avoid the need for ppi claims if you can. The number of such items you possess may affect the type of policy you take out; if you only have one or two items it may be worth specifying each item; if you possess many high value items it may be more economical to simply take out a policy with a higher high risk items limit. However, even if you do have a large high risk items limit it may still be prudent to supply your house insurance provider with a list of your valuables; this will help avoid any disputes should you need to make a claim.

Pension Advice: Part Time Work and Pensions

Are you one of the many employees working within a UK company on a part-time basis? Do you have access to your work’s pension scheme? As a part-timer it is just as important that you take high quality pension advice in order to consider the pension options and the pension rights available to you. In fact, as a part-time worker you need to remember that you have the same pension rights as a full-time worker, read on to find out why.

In the past, many part-timer workers would miss out on the Occupational Pension scheme which was set up within their organisation or they would not receive the employer’s part of the contribution to their pension. Part-time workers were not seen as having the same rights as full-timers or the Work Pension scheme would require that the employee work full-time in order to qualify for the scheme membership. However, this all changed in 2001 when the House of Lords ruled that part-time workers who could justifiably claim they had been discriminated against could make claims for pension rights dating back to 1976.  The part-time workers regulations were put in place in order to ensure that part-timers have the same working rights and conditions as full-time workers. As many part-time workers are women (as the primary carer of their family unit) these regulations might also correspond to the sexual discrimination regulations.

What if you do not have access to an Occupational Pension?
If this is the case you may possibly have the right to claim compensation as you are not being treated as fairly as your full-time counterparts. In the past this would mean that you would only be able to claim for two year’s backdated pension contributions based on discrimination regulations. However, this has now changed and if you meet the correct requirements to entitle you to make a claim you may be able to claim back-dated contributions from as far back as 1976.

Are there many conditions you need to meet in order to make a claim?
One of the main requirements is that you have to have been working for your employer within the last six months

Pension Advice: Pension decisions

It is the most important decisions in life which are often the hardest  to make and making a decision about which pension scheme is best for you is certainly an important decision. If you want to have peace of mind about how you will live when you retire then it is important that you get it right the first time. This means taking sound pension advice and understanding how best to weigh up your options. So, should you bear in mind when considering your pension options?

There are quite a few pointers which might be considered when trying to decide which pension scheme will be of the best benefit to fulfill your needs. An experienced Financial Adviser will always advise you of the pension options available to you and what the pros and cons are of each. However, it is also important that you understand the options being presented to you and that you take your time in making this decision as it will affect your finances for the future. Below are some pointers for you to consider:

1)      Fully research all the pension options available with firms such as Pension Lite to you by seeking advice from a Financial Adviser who has access to the maximum number of lenders possible.
2)      Certain pension schemes give you more control over how your pension fund is invested. If you want this level of control then be sure to ask your Financial Adviser about these types of pension schemes.
3)      Write a list of all pros and cons of each pension scheme available to you
4)      Always compare the charges on different types of pension schemes as this will influence which scheme you decide to go for. Stakeholder Pension Scheme’s charges may differ to occupational scheme charges.
5)      Always bear in mind how flexible the pension options are and how flexible you are wanting them to be.
6)      Be aware that with Stakeholder Pensions the extra charges must be clearly defined and explained to you.
7)      Speak to your employer about your pension options before deciding on which is best for you, as they may also decide to contribute to your pension scheme.
8)      Fully research pension transfer charges

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bankruptcy – The Stress of the Credit Crunch

Obviously, the credit crunch has been felt throughout the UK and experts are warning that it generating significant increases in stress levels as more and more are faced with bankruptcy and various financial ailments.

According to research from BUPA, stress levels amongst those in the UK have increased significantly since the onset of the credit crunch as more and more people’s finances become untenable and they are faced with the very real threat of bankruptcy. Fortunately, however, there are numerous steps that can be taken to help offset the likelihood of bankruptcy in the form of schemes such as individual voluntary arrangements or debt consolidation loans. It is important to realise how the stress of being in significant debt is affected consumers across the country and all methods should be employed to help steer heavily indebted individuals clear of the perils associated with declaring bankruptcy. Those who file for bankruptcy shouldn’t do so in haste because there is a plethora of consequences that are likely to arise from being made bankrupt which will invariably make it hard to get back on your financial feet; which will only serve to increase stress levels. Using schemes, such as an IVA, which don’t have the same implications as bankruptcy, may be a more viable option for dealing with monetary problems.

Bankruptcy – Keeping Stress to a Minimum

It is clear that having any form of financial arrears can be demoralising and stressful but when it has gotten to the stage whereby bankruptcy is a viable option, the stress levels are likely to be through the roof. It is imperative, however, to be level-headed when faced with the threat of bankruptcy and to seek the counsel of debt management professionals who will offer advice and assess your applicability for schemes such as IVAs and credit card consolidation which will help to avoid the precarious financial problems that go hand in hand with declaring bankruptcy. For example, those who declare bankruptcy will be unable to work in certain sectors, will have the fact that they have been made bankrupt published and may struggle to get credit for many years. With individual voluntary arrangements, there are no such ramifications and debts are often cleared in as little as 60 months.

Bankruptcy – Fear of Redundancy

Obviously, with the impending recession, many workers are worried about being made redundant. Many of these workers will already be in financially perilous positions and losing their job may be the catalyst for facing bankruptcy. For those in this position, it is prudent to speak to debt management professionals who will offer advice which will be pertinent to helping to avoid bankruptcy.

IVA – How to use an IVA to Shield Yourself from Bankruptcy

An individual voluntary arrange or IVA is increasingly becoming the chosen course of action for those who are experiencing substantial debt problems because an IVA is one of the best methods to stave off the consequences of bankruptcy.

Individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) first came to pass in 1986 in conjunction with the Insolvency Act and since that time over two decades ago, many thousands of people across the UK have utilised an IVA in order to prevent bankruptcy and the myriad of negative implications which go hand in hand with declaring oneself as bankrupt. An IVA is essentially a means by which to show your creditors that you aim to pay back your debts and is a legally binding agreement between creditors and those in debt. One of the principle benefits of an IVA for those experiencing profound debt problems and facing bankruptcy is the fact that, in many cases, an IVA will significantly reduce the amount that an indebted individual has to repay. In order to best understand how an individual voluntary arrangement can work for you, it is prudent to speak to specialist IVA providers who are well versed in the processes that underpin individual voluntary arrangements and will offer advice that will help stave off bankruptcy.

IVA – A Clear Choice for those Struggling with Debt Management Problems

It is safe to say that in the last 12 months alone, individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) have positively soared in popularity and this is largely due to the fact that most indebted consumers and homeowners have now come to realise just how many tangible benefits and IVA can have when it comes to getting their finances on track. For example, with an IVA most will find that the high interest rates that were likely to have been problematic with their repayments beforehand will be frozen and they can go about making more manageable repayments, usually over a period of 60 months, until they become debt free and by opting for an IVA, they won’t be lumbered with the negative consequences that are prevalent with declaring bankruptcy.

IVA – Weight of the Shoulders

It really is a horrible burden to be in debt and faced by bankruptcy, which is why so many consumers and homeowners are relieved with the emergence of individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) as a viable means of stepping clear of large level debts. Once a IVA has been successfully completed, the individual in debt will be issued with a Statement of Completion and will be officially considered debt free from that point onwards.