Topic: Retirement

Care Fees Update, National Insurance & Dividend Tax & Budget Date

Care Fees Update

We have this week finally seen the much-hyped changes to care fees announced.

This is an issue that has been ignored and deferred by successive governments. There have been countless consultations and suggestions over the years, but none of them have really moved far off the starting line. But now we have a new care fees system.

I think most people will now be aware of the key points which are as follows:
The ‘full fees capital means test’ limit will be increased to £100,000. This means that if you have over £100,000 of capital assets (including the family home, unless it continues to be occupied by a partner, relative or dependent aged over 60), you will be responsible for your care fees in full.

There will also continue to be a lower limit of £20,000 below which assets will not be taken to fund care fees.

For those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000, there will be a partial contribution required towards care fees, with this increasing the closer you are to the £100,000 asset limit.

In addition to the above, there will remain a (very significant, but far less publicised) income based means test that says that if you have sufficient income to pay your own care fees (regardless of capital), then a contribution could still be required.

All of the above will be subject to a cap on what an individual will be expected to contribute to their care fees. The cap will initially be set at £86,000. Beyond this point, no individual will have to pay towards their care costs.

So far so good, however, as usual, we have been looking beyond the headlines to try and find some of the devil in the detail.

The most significant point not really being covered in the mainstream media is that the whole set of rules above only apply to your personal care costs, not your ‘hotel’ costs (‘hotel’ costs being the cost of staying in accommodation, food, utilities etc).

As such, the amount an individual could pay in their lifetime for how they would view their ‘care fees’ could well be much greater than the £86,000 cap when you factor in the ‘hotel costs’.

Now, to be clear, this has always been the case. Hotel costs have always been assessed separately from actual personal care fees, but people often don’t appreciate that there is this distinction.

As such, the new proposals are a welcome addition to the care fees system and at least provide some degree of certainty.

What is perhaps more interesting is that these proposals could well pave the way for insurers to re-enter the long-term care market and produce the first real insurance products for long-term care in several decades.

We will continue to monitor developments and will of course report on anything significant that becomes apparent in the months ahead.

National Insurance & Dividend Tax

In order to pay for the above, the government has introduced an additional 1.25% levy to be added to national insurance as an interim measure and then split out as essentially a third kind of tax on employment income.

Moving forward, you should see your income tax, national insurance and a ‘health and care premium’ on your payslips.

In addition, the dividend tax rates have also had 1.25% added, meaning the basic rate of dividend tax will rise from 7.5% to 8.75%. Dividends will still represent a tax efficient income source for most people, although of course these changes make them slightly less attractive.

What they also do is increase the relative attractiveness of capital gains as a form of ‘income’, especially when levied on shares and bonds, as this is charged at a basic rate of 10% and a maximum rate of 20%, even for higher rate taxpayers.

Budget Date

Finally, we do now also have a confirmed budget date of 27th October 2021. This budget will be particularly telling as the UK continues to recover from the Covid pandemic.

We will of course continue to monitor any proposed tax changes and will report to clients anything that might be relevant to their financial planning.

What’s the Difference?: ‘Green’ Investing

Financial planning is an industry that tries to make the complicated more simple but I always tend to find that it fails to do that in the realm of investing sustainably. In writing this article I had to consider what to put in my title: green, ethical, sustainable, responsible, socially responsible, ESG, impact, thematic… the list goes on! How then can we go about breaking down the differences to make it easier for everyone to understand and more importantly: to provide solutions in line with people’s views.

Lies, Damn Lies and Speculation

As budget day approaches, the volume of rumour, speculation and mistruth is stepping up in traditional fashion.

Of course, there are the old favourites (you know, the things that the media report ‘might’ happen in the budget every single year, but never seem to actually occur) such as the removal of the 25% tax-free cash on pensions and restrictions to pension tax relief (for what it’s worth, I don’t believe we are likely to see either at this coming budget).

Top Rated Adviser’s 2020

This month two Buckingham Gate Chartered Financial Planners have made it into VouchedFor’s Top Rated Adviser Guide for 2020.

The guide is distributed nationally in The Times and digitally through the Telegraph’s website and so this is a great achievement that Buckingham Gate are tremendously proud of.

Congratulations Matthew Smith and Peter Ditchburn for receiving such well-deserved recognition for the fantastic advice you provide to your clients.

What makes their inclusion in the guide so much more special, is knowing that it was thanks to their lovely clients for leaving such powerful reviews on VouchedFor.

VouchedFor is a leading review site for Financial Advisers and helps those looking for advice, find the right adviser for them.

Our unique combination of expertise, makes us a one stop shop for your retirement, investment and estate planning needs.

Matthew and Peter would like to say a huge thank you to their clients for taking the time to leave a review, it really means a lot to them.

If you’re looking for financial advice, you would definitely be in good hands with these two!

The 4 Ps of Retirement Planning

I was having a conversation with my father over the weekend about his retirement and it occurred to me that there are 4 things that you must have to live a successful and happy retirement. All of them beginning with the letter P:

Purpose

People

Places

Projects

The first is arguably the most important and drives the other 3, so what better place to begin than:

Purpose

Those clients that go onto live happy retirements often enter retirement with a sense of purpose. They don’t feel that this is ‘it’, there is usually ‘something more’, ‘something next’ that is driving them forward.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Your purpose is just that – yours. It could be that you wish to write a book to change how people view the roman empire, perhaps you wish to play in a band and perform in front of 50,000 people. Maybe you want to visit each country on the planet, or it could be that you wish to provide the best support to your children and grandchildren.

It doesn’t matter what your purpose is, more that you have one.

Mitch Anthony, a US retirement expert says, “To have a wonderful retirement you only need two things: enough purpose to get up in the morning and enough money to sleep at night”.

I think this is quite true. Although it can be tricky, it is important that you figure out your purpose before you go into retirement to give yourself a sense of direction and meaning. Once this is clear, the other 3 p’s then fall into place.

People

The next thing most people will think about is people. Who do you want to spend more time with now that you have more of it?

It could be children and grandchildren. Perhaps you wish to spend more time with friends and family. It can also help to think about what you wish to do with those people. Is it simply spending more time with them that counts or is there something specific you need to work on or achieve together?

We have clients who have had slightly rocky relationships with their loved ones that have been repaired as they have gone into retirement. Perhaps it is simply the addition of more time that makes the difference.

Places

Where you do wish to go and see? What do you wish to do while you are there? For some people there will be grand plans to see the world (perhaps the whole of it), for others, their travel plans will be more modest.

However, it is important to decide in which places you wish to spend your retirement as this will very much drive the cost of your desired lifestyle.

Projects

Finally, it is useful to think about projects. Some projects could be short term and arise because you simply haven’t had the time to tackle them before. Clean the garage out, tidy that draw full of papers – that type of thing.

Other projects are far wider reaching and could transcend years or even decades. Learn to play the guitar, influence government policy, save the rain forest. All examples of projects that clients have wanted to undertake which could very well be works in progress forever!

Summing Up

From my own experience (and there is now a lot of research and science backing this up as well), the people who enjoy their retirement the most, are the ones that have really thought about the 4 P’s before they retire. In doing so, some people realise that they don’t really want to retire at all. Others will decide that their retirement might not really be ‘retirement’, more a new chapter in life.

If you would like any help on your own retirement journey, we would be delighted to assist. Please contact us now for your discovery meeting, provided at our own expense.