Smart Money Guides
Welcome to our latest edition. Inside, we look at New Year’s tax saving resolutions to make sure you are fully utilising your relevant tax planning opportunities. With the tax year end (5 April) on the horizon, taking action now may give you the opportunity to take advantage of any remaining reliefs, allowances and exemptions. On page 08 we have provided some key tax and financial planning tips to consider prior to the end of the tax year. Now is also the perfect time to take a wider review of your circumstances and plan for the year ahead.
Is it time to give your financial future a boost? Then get ready to beat the ISA deadline. Savers and investors have less than three months to use the £20,000 they can put into their tax-efficient Individual Savings Account (ISA) before the end of the financial year on 5 April. With interest rates still at very low levels, you might be looking at investing for the potential to achieve a bigger return from your savings. Read the full article on page 07.
The government has set out its vision for the future of adult social care. On page 12 we explain the new plans announced for adult social care reform in England. This includes a lifetime cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care, alongside a more generous means test for local authority financial support. We all want the best possible long-term care for ourselves or our loved ones. Planning for the long term can help ensure you have sufficient income to pay for any care you, or an elderly relative, might need in later life.
Is your wealth protected from the damaging effects of inflation? Many people underestimate the damaging effect of low interest and high inflation on their cash savings. A continued period of low interest rates on cash savings and rising inflation could pose a real risk to savers in 2022, even if the Bank of England (BoE) moves to increase interest rates further in the coming months. Read the full article on page 10.
A full list of the articles featured in this issue appears on page 02.
Last year was one of the busiest for the housing market in more than a decade, driven by a reassessment by many homeowners of where they are living – prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a search for more living space, low mortgage rates, better access to mortgages for first-time buyers, and, of course, the stamp duty holiday. There’s little doubt that the pandemic and lockdowns have influenced what buyers want in a home, with a strong broadband connection, flexible space and ac-cess to nature high on the wish list. Turn to page 52 to see this year’s housing market predictions.
Are you sitting on a goldmine? The value of British homes has soared by 20% in five years. A major factor that has increased property prices has been the shortage of homes to sell to match demand in many areas. And despite the increase in property prices to ‘new all-time highs’, the typical mort-gage payment has ‘not been high’ by historic standards compared to take-home pay, largely be-cause mortgage rates have remained close to all-time lows. On page 10 we look at why under-standing the value of your home, and the equity you hold within the property, will help when it comes to making future plans.
Are you looking to buy your first home in 2022? Whether you’re a young professional or simply planning for the future and trying to be smart with your money, purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. The journey of purchasing a property is not always easy and hurdles can crop up along the way, so it can feel simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. With this in mind, on page 22 we have compiled our top ten steps to give first-time buyers an edge when they decide to get on the property ladder.
Where can you add real value to your home? That’s likely to be a question you’ve asked yourself at some point. Home improvements give you more than just a little more living space, they can add potentially thousands of pounds to the value of your home. On page 36, even if you have no immediate plans to sell your home anytime soon, it’s still useful to know how you can go about increasing the value of your property – that way, if you ever come to sell at a later date, the asking price you can set for your home is likely to be much higher.
A complete list of the articles featured inside this issue appears on pages 03 to 05. We hope you enjoy reading this issue and always welcome your feedback.