Monthly Archives: July 2019

Bank of Mum and Dad part 2 …..

Innovative products to be created for would-be home owners

The Building Societies Association (BSA) have recently published a raft of recommendations as to how the mortgage industry can support the Bank of Mum and Dad in their endeavors to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

They have called for more innovative products to be created to enable parents and grandparents to loan or gift money to family members who are would-be home owners. The BSA also wants building societies to provide clearer communication to help explain all the options, and it wants regulatory and tax barriers to be broken down.

Helping younger homebuyers climb onto the housing ladder

The BSA’s report recognises the contributions of the Bank of Mum and Dad to date, highlighting the billions of pounds that have been gifted and lent to help younger homebuyers climb onto the housing ladder.

They also confirmed that 90% of all building societies expect this form of financing to play an increasing role in helping first-time buyers over the next five to ten years. Their priority now is to help create an environment whereby the financial well-being of the older generation is not put at jeopardy due to their generosity in helping younger family members achieve their housing objectives.

  • 86% of people surveyed wanted to own their own home, but the financial challenges facing first-time buyers meant many thought they would never achieve this aspiration
  • In 2017, there were 360,000 first-time buyers – but the minimum should be nearer 450,000. The ability to buy was increasingly concentrated on dual-earning households and those with higher incomes
  • More than half of aspiring first-time buyers expected the Bank of Mum and Dad to support them onto the housing ladder

Support between generations remains a fundamental ambition

The report also highlighted how the Bank of Mum and Dad wasn’t just about family members handing over cash in the form of gifts and loans – many customers wanted support between generations through guarantees or using their property or savings as security. Indeed, it also identified equity release or downsizing from larger properties as ways to support the younger generation.

Robin Fieth, Chief Executive of the BSA said: ‘Home ownership remains a fundamental ambition for the majority of people…against the challenging backdrop of high prices, a woefully inadequate supply of homes and a growing intergenerational divide, new ideas and strong debate are essential. Family help – the so-called “Bank of Mum and Dad” – is great for those fortunate enough to have this option, but innovations in underwriting could help all potential first-time buyers.’

Mums and Dads are you planning to lend money to your children?

It goes without saying that lending or gifting  money to your loved ones shouldn’t endanger your own financial status. But if this is your plan, then it requires professional financial advice to assess all of your options. If you would like to discuss this subject with us, please contact us.

 

 

 

Are Things Really That Bad

This week the World celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and it was fantastic to see such a positive story in the headlines, particularly as it seems that the media and people in general can sometimes take a dark pessimistic view of the world.

So, with this in mind, I decided to share some thoughts, courtesy of Jeremy Kisner, an American investment adviser and optimist.

Kisner reminds us that the world has improved dramatically over almost any time frame you can consider. But, he acknowledges, it doesn’t always feel this way because negative headlines attract eyeballs and sell advertising for the media. Granted, there are tons of very real problems. Nevertheless, Bill Gates nailed it when he said, “Headlines are what mislead you, because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not.”

Human progress occurs because every day a few billion people go to work and figure out ways to improve living standards. Individuals do not always recognise the gradual improvements. But one place you can see the progress is in the stock market which has been going up for most of our lives (with, granted, a few bumps in the road) and is now close to all-time highs.

People get scared reading the news — North Korea, Iran, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, refugees, economic disparities, global warming — and then they get even more scared thinking about the things that might go wrong. But meanwhile, people buy more things, companies grow, wealth is created, and billions of people live longer and better lives.

Here are a few of Kisner’s examples of human progress:

Life expectancy: Consider this: If you were born in 1900, you would have had a 23% chance of dying before age 20 and a 38% chance of dying before age 45. Kids born today have about a 1% chance of dying before age 20 and a 4% chance of dying before age 45.

Modern Conveniences: When our grandparents were born, virtually no one had electricity … or telephone or indoor plumbing. They didn’t have a car and couldn’t fly in an airplane. Today, 85% of the people in the world enjoy the benefits of electricity. And two-thirds have a mobile phone.

Poverty: Twenty years ago 29% of the world population lived in extreme poverty. Today it’s only 9% . . . and the rate is still falling.

Retirement: Some 90% of 65-year-old American men who were still alive in 1870 were working. Today only about 20% of 65-year-old American men are still working … and many of them are working by choice not necessity.

Housework: The average family spent 11.5 hours a week doing laundry in 1920. That has fallen to 1.5 hours a week as of 2014.

Safety: Americans became 95% less likely to be killed on the job over the last hundred years. Seat belts, air bags and other safety features have brought down auto fatalities from 50,000 a year in the 1970s to about 37,000 today, despite more cars on the road. The fatality rate from road accidents per 100,000 people has dropped from 25 to 11 — less than half what it was in the 1970s.

Disease: In the past century, vaccines and antibiotics have brought miracles for modern medicine. Just since 1990, the control of infectious disease has saved the lives of an estimated 100 million children.

Food. Between 1961 and 2009, the amount of land used to grow food increased by 12%, but the amount of food grown has increased by 300%.

Kisner maintains that people who think the best days for the Western World, and for our economies, are behind us are essentially saying that human innovation is going to slow down or stagnate. He says that doesn’t seem likely, at least over the next 20 to 30 years.

Don’t you agree?

 

How to Increase Your Generosity Without jeopardising Your Retirement

How are you going to get the best, most fulfilling life possible with the money you have once you retire?

Study after study has shown that retirees who spend their time and money on experiences are much happier than those who just buy stuff. Charitable giving can be a particularly meaningful way to keep yourself active and put your assets to good use.   Just as long as you don’t overdo it.

If you’re feeling an increased desire to give back now that you’ve retired, here are some tips on balancing your good intentions with what’s best for you and your family.

  1. Do your homework.

Recently, there have been high-profile cases of fraud and misappropriated funds at some very famous charitable organisations. But even if you’re giving to a charity that is well run, you should understand where your money is really going. If you’re happy with your money helping a larger organisation to pay its bills and employees, great. If you want your money to have a more immediate impact on those in need, consider giving to smaller organisations in your community.

Do some googling and check online watchdog databases to make sure your favoured charity is on the up-and-up and unless you know the organisers personally, avoid online crowd-funding campaigns that aren’t legally accountable for how they use donations.

  1. Consider a volunteer position.

Your favourite non-profit or charitable organisations need money. But they also need manpower.

If you’re thinking about working part time in retirement and a salary isn’t really important to you, diary regular volunteer hours instead. You’ll get all the same benefits of having a job: structure, responsibility, camaraderie. Plus, those who volunteer report lower levels of stress, an increased sense of purpose, and better physical and emotional health.

  1. Teach, tutor, or consult.

When looking for a charitable outlet, don’t overlook the professional skills that you honed over your career.

You might not have the qualifications to teach at a school or university, but you could talk to your local community centre about holding a seminar that could benefit your community. You might have finished running your business but there are high school children who could benefit from your mastery of business. Open your door to local small business owners or recent graduates who need an entrepreneurial mentor.

  1. Make a plan.

It’s a scientific fact that giving makes us feel good. But some retirees may get too caught up in their generosity. They forget that gifts and donations are coming from that same pool of assets that are supposed to keep them safe and secure for the rest of their lives. They may have trouble setting limits and saying no.

There is indeed such a thing as too much giving. You might not think much about writing an extra  cheque or two early in retirement. But it is important for retirees to maintain a long-term perspective on their nest eggs. This generation of retirees is going to live longer and lead more active lives than any in history. You need to make sure that helping someone today isn’t going to make it harder to cover your health care and cost of living needs tomorrow.

So, if you and your spouse want to make regular charitable donations, you should come in and talk to us. We can incorporate giving into your monthly budget and retirement income plan.

We’re always happy when our clients want to help others. But it’s our responsibility to make sure your financial plan covers your best interests first.  Let’s work together on a plan that will make your retirement secure and the world around you a little brighter.

 

 

Tax-efficient ways to fund the next generation

It’s natural that you may want to give younger members of your family a financial start in life, especially when we hear about some students graduating with eye-watering levels of debt. If you can help your children or grandchildren without risking running out of money yourself; it’s important that you do so effectively.

An obvious way is by funding university tuition fees and maintenance costs. By funding a student’s three-year course upfront, parents or grandparents can prevent the student from taking on a 30-year debt and the interest costs associated with that.

There are a number of ways do this.  Set out below are two tax-efficient ways to do this are:

Individual Savings Account (ISA)

Start saving whilst the child or grandchild is still very young.  If the investment is allowed to grow, it could build up into a sizeable sum. The money can then be given to the grandchild as an adult.  The capital could be enough to cover tuition fees and possibly board and lodging as well. If the ISA is a Junior ISA, set up in the child’s name, any gains will not incur Capital Gains Tax, and they will not be considered part of the parents’ or grandparents’ estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.

However, the child will automatically gain access to the money when they turn 18, hence they can choose what to do with it. If the ISA is set up in the parents’ or grandparents’ names, the parents or the grandparents would be able to decide how the money from the ISA is used, but it would be considered part of their estate for Inheritance Tax purposes for seven years after it has been gifted to the adult child or grandchild.  See our previous article on gifts and the 7-year rule.

Investment Account

For tax reasons, this approach may be best suited to grandparents. Grandparents can set up a designated account for a grandchild and invest a capital sum in it. The grandchild’s initials are put in the designation box when the account is set up, creating a bare trust. A bare trust, also sometimes known as a ‘simple trust,’ is one where the beneficiary (the person who benefits from the trust) has an immediate and absolute right to both the trust capital and the income received by the trust from that capital.

HM Revenue & Customs will view income and gains from the investment as being attributed to the minor, who will have their own Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax allowance, so there will be no tax implications for the grandparents. Any money invested in this way leaves the grandparents’ estate seven years after it has been gifted. At 18 (16 in Scotland), the grandchild is legally entitled to the money, however, and can use it however they see fit – which may not necessarily be for education.

Funding for purposes other than education

Many parents and grandparents want to set up their children or grandchildren to enjoy a secure financial future yet paying down student debt is not necessarily the best option if they have a spare capital sum to invest.

They could also consider helping their children or grandchildren to save towards a house deposit (using a lifetime ISA) or start a pension for them so that they have security in later life.

Looking for help to grow your money?

To help you make better-informed investment decisions about how you can assist the next generation(s), please chat to us about what you would like to do.  We can look at this with you to help you decide if you can afford to do so and how.

Warnings

This article is distributed for educational purposes only and must not be considered to be advice.  The information is based upon our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations.  Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change.  Errors and omissions excepted.