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Tag Archive: Chartered Wealth Manager

  1. Marriage Tax Allowance – What Is It?

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    As you may be aware the Government has introduced a tax break called the Marriage Tax Allowance.

    The allowance, which came into effect from 6 April 2015, is available to couples who are married or in a civil partnership and enables a transfer of a proportion of their tax free personal allowance between them.

    The transferable amount for 2016/17 is set at £1,100 (10% of the personal allowance) and will change each year as the personal allowance increases.

    To be eligible to claim you must:

    • Be married or in a civil partnership,
    • One of you needs to be a non-taxpayer (which usually means earning less than the personal allowance),
    • The other person needs to be a basic rate (20%) taxpayer, and
    • You must both have been born after 6 April 1935 as there is a different tax allowance for couples where one partner is born before this date

    HMRC have stated, however, that to date fewer than 1 in 10 eligible couples have applied for the tax break. It is thought that this might be because many people simply aren’t aware of the new allowance or that it can be quite time consuming to claim for the tax break, which is worth £220.

    An application for the Marriage Tax Allowance is a straightforward process and once in place the election will remain until one of you cancels the election or your circumstances change e.g. because of divorce or you become a higher rate taxpayer.

    Where both partners have already filed a self assessment tax return, the claim to transfer can be made when completing their self assessment tax returns.

    Alternatively the non-taxpayer can apply online to transfer their allowance and HMRC will include the additional personal allowance in the partner’s tax code. Where the partner does not have a tax code, i.e. where they are self employed, the additional personal allowance can be included in their self assessment tax return for the year to reduce their tax liability.

    Should you wish to take advantage of this tax break go to https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance

  2. The FTSE 100

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    The FTSE 100 – the “Footsie” – is the UK stock market index which garners most of the headlines. It was launched on 31 December 1983 with a base value of 1,000. Today it is about 7,550, which equates to an average annual return (excluding dividends) of 6.2%.  RPI inflation over the same period averaged 3.5% a year.

    Two years after the FTSE 100 was launched, the FTSE 250 came on the scene to cover the 250 UK listed shares below the Footsie’s 100 large cap constituents. The FTSE 250’s base figure was 1,412.60, a number chosen to match the level of the FTSE 100 at the end of 1985. Last week the FTSE 250 broke through the 20,000 level for the first time.

    What looks like a massive outperformance, is not quite so great when subjected to the power of compound interest. The average annual return (again excluding dividends) comes to 8.8% whereas the Footsie over the same period achieved 5.5% (those first two pre-FTSE 250 years were good ones). Inflation from the end of 1985 comes in virtually unchanged at an average of 3.4%.

    The outperformance of the FTSE 250 is not quite as great as it seems because the constituents of the FTSE 100 have generally delivered a higher dividend yield (the FTSE 100 currently yields 3.66% whereas the FTSE 250 offers 2.64%). However, overall there is no denying that the FTSE 250 has trounced its larger counterpart. Look at the long-term graphs and the outperformance turns out to be something of a roller coaster:

    • The two indices performed quite similarly until 2003: on 7 March of that year the FTSE 100 hit a low of around 3,492 while the FTSE fell to 3,890 (11.4% higher).
    • By June 2007, just as the financial crisis was about to hit, the FTSE 250 peaked at 12,197, 81% higher than the FTSE 100’s 6,732.
    • The FTSE 250 took a big dive in 2007/08, bottoming out at 5,492 in November 2008, a decline of 55%. The FTSE 100 took longer to find its low of 3,531 in March 2009, down 48% from its peak. That low coincided with a figure of 5,831 for the FTSE 250, 65% higher than the FTSE 100.
    • Since that 2009 nadir the FTSE 100 has risen by 114%, whereas the FTSE 250 is up 243%.

    Some of the difference in performance is down to the different companies in the two indices. For example, the FTSE 100 has suffered from its exposure to commodities and energy (18.1% against 6.8% currently). A sector breakdown of the industrial sectors of the two indices can be found here. There may also be an effect that, as the top index, the Footsie’s constituents can look like companies that have reached the end of the small/medium company growth stages.


    The graphs can be rather misleading. Unless they are log-scale, a jump from 10,000 to 20,000 looks much more impressive than 3,500 to 7,000, even though both represent a doubling. On a price/earnings ratio basis the FTSE 100 is more expensive (30.04 v 22.46), but that is largely because the figures are historic, capturing the miserable performance of that all-important commodity sector in the last financial year. In terms of five-year volatility, the two indices were identical to the end of April according to FTSE Russell.

    Whether or not you view the FTSE 250 to be in bubble territory, its progress since 2009 is a useful reminder that there has been plenty of scope to outperform the main market index.

  3. Personal Allowance – Do I lose it if I earn over £100k?

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    The Personal Allowance is the amount of income an individual can earn before they start to pay Income Tax but it will be reduced and potentially lost altogether for those whose total income exceeds £100,000. The Personal Allowance (under age 65) is currently £11,000 but you will lose £1 of Personal Allowance for every £2 of Income over £100,000. Anyone with income over the £122,000 (£11,000 x 2) will lose their entire allowance.

    As a consequence the Marginal Rate of Tax for someone with income between £100,000 and £122,000 will be 60% (Tax at 40% on income over £100,000 up to £122,000 PLUS Tax at 40% on the loss of Personal Allowance up to £11,000). You can recover the Personal Allowance by reducing your income below the £100,000 limit. Apart from asking your employer to pay you less (not a sensible or popular decision, it may save Tax at 60% but you still lose out on the remaining 40%) the only viable option to consider is a Pension Contribution. Your Total Income is expected to be £112,000 i.e. you have £12,000 of income over the £100,000 and in effect you are losing £6,000 of your Personal Allowance.

    If however you invested a gross amount of £12,000 into a pension it would reduce your income to £100,000, thus restoring your Personal Allowance. The pension investment will qualify for Basic Rate Relief at source and so to invest a gross amount of £12,000 a pension would only cost you £9,600. You would then be eligible for a further 20% Tax Relief (representing the Higher Rate Tax Relief). This is claimed via your Self-Assessment Tax Return and you would end up with a Tax Rebate of £2,400. Overall it has cost you £7,200 to invest £12,000 into the pension. But in addition you will regain the lost £6,000 of Personal Allowance which gives you a further Tax Saving of £2,400 (£6,000 x 40%). It could therefore be argued that the cost of the £12,000 gross pension contribution is £4,800 (£7,200 – £2,400).

    Please contact us if you would like further information regarding the above.

  4. How much can I pay into my pension?

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    The maximum you can personally invest into a pension and receive Tax Relief on, is 100% of your salary subject to an Annual Allowance limit which is currently £40,000. Please note dividends are not classed as salary. If, as an example, you have a salary of £8,000 and dividends of £45,000 the maximum you can personally Invest is £8,000.


    However, contributions that are made by your company into a pension for you are NOT restricted by your salary; your company can Invest the full Annual Allowance maximum of £40,000 and potentially more than this using Carry Forward (more on this later). Please note, you will need to satisfy what is called a ‘Wholly & Exclusively’ requirement, but as a Shareholding Director this should not be a problem.                                                                                                                                                                                 

    From a tax perspective, personal contributions into a pension (ignoring the contribution limits) would be made from your after tax income. The contribution would then qualify for Basic Rate Tax Relief at source and Higher Rate Tax Relief, if applicable, could be claimed via your Self-Assessment Tax Form. The deadline for a personal investment tax-wise is the end of the tax year.  Company contributions into a pension will be a tax deductible business expense and so reduce the amount of Corporation Tax your company pays. Such a contribution is also NOT subject to National Insurance. The deadline for a company investment tax-wise is your Company’s Year End which is likely to be different to the tax year. As mentioned earlier, your company can possibly invest more than £40,000 as you can Carry Forward any unused Annual Allowances from the three previous tax years. To be eligible for Carry Forward you must have been a member of a Pension Scheme during the Carry Forward years, although you do not actually need to have been making contributions. Before making any investment I would suggest that you get specific advice.

  5. Wants, Needs and Happiness

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    We live in a culture of wants and needs and we’ve been conditioned from an early age to place enormous value on material items — the fancy car, the big house, the designer clothing. It’s the brass ring many of us are constantly striving to attain and we often convince ourselves that once we get these things we will be happy.

    Short Term Satisfaction

    Think of the last exciting purchase you made, how long did that excitement last? A day, a week, a month? Odds are your zeal faded relatively quickly because the pleasure we get from most of our purchases is only temporary. When it goes away it is eventually replaced with a new want or need, which kickstarts the cycle back up again.

    This is the very reason you hear people say, “How come I have everything I ever wanted and I’m miserable?” It all comes down to one very simple fact: getting what you want may give you pleasure, but it doesn’t make you happy.

    Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend your money. Living a life of deprivation or becoming stingy with your finances is not the answer but you should be conscious and careful about where your pounds go.

    Building Blocks

    Every pound that you spend can be seen one of two ways. You can see it as just a small portion of your income that you are spending today or you can see it as a small step towards building something great for tomorrow. Just one pound a day saved in only 50 years will grow to be £500,000 at a 10% average return!

    The Little Things Add Up

    Consider how you spend your money on a daily basis. Do you make a routine trip to your local coffee shop? How often are you going out to lunch? Do you make a habit out after work?

    What value are these spending patterns bringing to your life? Odds are, not a lot, but by trimming wasteful spending you will find that you are in a position to make a significant shift in your financial health. The value derived from a more secure future can be substantially more rewarding.

    Big-Ticket Items

    Now consider the types of purchases you make on luxury items. How often do you shop online? Are you always after the latest and greatest piece of technology? What about the amount you are spending on clothes?

    To make these types of cuts, it’s imperative to be aware of why you are making any given purchase. Understanding where your needs and wants come from will allow you to exert more control over your emotions, and will ultimately help you make more conscious decisions of where to spend your money.

    Where’s the Value?

    When we make these kinds of decisions unconsciously we end up with lives, like the majority of people, who try to find fulfillment in all the wrong places while neglecting what really matters — your relationships, your health and your emotions. Not to mention, we often end up financially stressed, continually pouring money into items that add no real value to our lives.

    Before you make a purchase, it’s important to check in with yourself to see what you are truly after — a sense of joy, freedom, security or love — or to assess whether you have simply developed a habit of frivolous spending that needs to be scaled back.

    Measuring True Wealth

    Each of us finds a pathway we believe will lead to happiness, fulfillment or meaning and there are countless paths you can go down, but true wealth cannot be measured by how much money you have or the number of things you own, it comes from creating an extraordinary quality of life and only you can determine how much and what type of value a purchase will add to your life.

    So start to get smart about how you are spending your money, realign your habits with the goal of creating real value in your life. You may just be surprised by what happens.