More than a decade since the financial crisis, the world is still a very uncertain place. Despite that, investors have enjoyed the benefits of a strong run by stock markets around the world, coupled with record-low volatility.
However, it would be wrong to believe that market shocks are a thing of the past. From uncertainty over Brexit to the threat of rising tensions with North Korea, there are many risks that pose a challenge to investors now; and any number of unforeseen factors in the years to come.
But these are beyond our control. They cannot be allowed to prevent individuals and families planning their financial future.
You will give yourself the best chance of achieving your financial goals if you focus on what you can control: how much tax you pay on your investments, the size of your retirement fund, and how much of your estate passes to your family free of Inheritance Tax.
What’s vital is that you put together a plan and take the necessary steps to make those financial goals a reality.
The run-up to the end of the tax year provides individuals and couples with a final opportunity to take advantage of reliefs and allowances that would otherwise be lost; tax breaks that can help create long-term financial security for you and your family.
The principal areas to start thinking about prior to the tax year ending on 5th April are ISAs, Pensions,
Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. While it can seem confusing to know how best to use these, taking some time to consider your options can make a considerable difference in helping to achieve your financial goals.
Here are eight questions to ask yourself before the 5 April (you can also complete them online here).
1. Have you maximised your ISA allowance of £20,000?
2. Has your spouse or partner maximised their ISA allowance?
3. Have you made contributions of up to £4,128 per child into a Junior ISA?
4. Have you fully utilised your annual pension allowance?
5. Are you thinking of making a pension withdrawal?
6. If you're drawing down on your assets, have you taken advantage of your annual Capital Gains Tax (CGT) exemption by taking gains of £11,300 in this tax year?
7. Have you looked to reduce your taxable income by making pension contributions?
8. Have you used your Inheritance Tax gifting exemption of £3000 for this year?
Please do give these important areas some thought.
Mark McCue is Director of McCue Wealth Management, a Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, and holds Chartered status. Mark has more than 20 years’ experience of wealth management. For further information visit www.mccuewealthmanagement.co.uk
The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. An investment in equities will not provide the security of capital associated with a deposit account with a bank or building society.
The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are dependent on individual circumstances.
The Partner Practice represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group's website www.sjp.co.uk/about-st-james-place/our-business/our-products-and-services. The 'St. James's Place Partnership' and the titles 'Partner' and 'Partner Practice' are marketing terms used to describe St. James's Place representatives.
McCue Wealth Management Ltd is registered in Scotland, Number SC508676. Registered Office: 29 Berryhill Circle, Westhill, Scotland, AB32 6BE.