Over-65s saw their property wealth increase by more than £800 a month in the past six months as the housing market benefited from the Stamp Duty holiday, analysis* from UK’s leading independent equity release adviser Key shows.

Over the past six months property owned outright by over-65s has increased in value by £24.225 billion which is worth an average £4,833 for each older homeowners.

Their total property wealth now stands at £1.256 trillion with all parts of Great Britain benefiting apart from London where property values fell as people looked to leave the capital and central London house prices underperformed. The biggest gains in the past six months were in Scotland and the South East with over-65s gaining more than £13,000 and nearly £12,000 respectively.

Long-term gains from property beat income growth

Since Key started analysing the mortgage-free property wealth of the over-65s in 2010 homeowners have seen growth of 61% – a total of more than £476 billion which is equivalent to around £95,000 per household over the past 11 years.

Over-65s have not seen the same boost to their incomes as they have seen to the value of their homes. Most recent Government data shows average pensioner incomes after housing costs only rising £12 to £331 per week – the equivalent of 3.7% – over the last 11 years**.  Pensioner couples have average incomes of £482 which is 6.8% higher than 11 years ago while single pensioners’ average incomes are 4.5% higher at £231.

The only region to see property values drop in the past six months was London where average prices are around £6,647 lower. All other regions saw growth of at least nearly £1,000.  More than a fifth of all property wealth held by over-65s is in the South East with the South West and East Anglia the next biggest regions for over-65s property wealth.

Will Hale, CEO at Key said: “The recent end of the Stamp Duty holiday may cool the property market somewhat but over-65s homeowners will continue to have a substantial amount of wealth tied up in their houses. This wealth can be accessed through products such as equity release and be used by older homeowners to address financial needs and wants through later life.

“The 61% rise in the property wealth of over-65s over the past 11 years dwarfs single digit increases in average pensioner incomes over that period and underlines the case for advisers and customers considering all assets when looking at financial planning at and through retirement.

“Equity release customers are increasingly using plans for a wide variety of purposes including securing their own retirement finances while also gifting money to family to help them on to the property ladder. Today’s modern equity release plans enable people to manage their borrowing in a flexible way and therefore to meet both needs and wants as their circumstances change through later life.”

Car insurance premiums for young drivers aged 17 to 29  are falling, according to new figures from Quotezone.co.uk.

The car insurance comparison website recorded the largest decrease for the 17-21 age group with a drop of 14% in average premiums from 2020 to 2021 – from an average of £1,173 to £1,008 this year.

Quotezone.co.uk found that drivers aged 22-25 were now paying an average of 6% less for their cover – falling from £833 in 2020 to £783 this year.

The firm says its research, based on a sample of over 50,000 car insurance policies, shows that 17 to 21 year olds still pay an average of 38% more than other young drivers, and that new drivers across the 17 to 29 age group pay on average 53% more than experienced motorists.

Quotezone.co.uk’s research reveals that newly qualified motorists can expect to see their car insurance premiums drop by an average of 29% after they’ve been driving for two years with no insurance claims.

The insurance specialists say that there was a 12.6% fall in new younger drivers in 2020, and for motorists aged from 17-21 the drop was 42%.

Quotezone.co.uk’s Founder Greg Wilson comments: “Young drivers, particularly those aged 17 to 21, have had a tough year with driving lessons and testing on hold, and now delayed.  We expect the volume of young drivers to surge, once the queue for testing settles down, as people have had more time at home practicing their driving skills with friends and family.

“In terms of car insurance costs, it’s welcome news that premiums for this age range have fallen – it can often be expensive given their inexperience.  Average premiums start to fall by nearly a third as drivers gain more time behind the wheel – especially if they have two years driving safely with no claims made.

“There are things brand new drivers can do to help them find the most competitive quotes though, such as choosing a car with a smaller engine, avoiding modifications, parking in a garage or on a private driveway, and opting for a telematics product which allows them to showcase their safe driving right from the get-go.  Drivers can compare all these options on our comparison site, so they can see which providers are offering the best extras and the lowest cost.”

Quotezone.co.uk offers specialist cover for learner driverstemporary learner insurance and for young driver insurance. It helps around 3 million users every year find better deals on their insurance, with over 400 insurance brands across 60 different products and is recommended by 97% of reviewers on Reviews.co.uk.

Cryptic crypto

While its appeal may be evident to both existing and new investors, by its very nature crypto-investment has its complications – and implications when it comes to an investor’s tax obligations.

Jonathan Allwood, Personal Tax Manager at Bracey’s Accountants explains how cryptocurrencies and digital assets have gone from an obscure part of finance to centre-stage over the last year, attracting both institutional and personal investors.

The first challenge lies in the location of the asset. Crypto-assets are decentralised and digital in nature and, as such, do not have a physical location or exist anywhere. However, determining the location of assets is important for tax purposes and particularly for UK residents, non-UK domiciles as it can change the tax consequences dramatically.

HMRC guidance (note: this is not legislation) states that exchange tokens, which would include the likes of bitcoin, are located wherever the beneficial owner is resident. For UK residents, this means the crypto-asset would be treated as a UK asset.

For non-domiciled UK residents, however, the situation is potentially far more complex with greater permutations of tax consequences.

The second challenge lies with how gains on crypto-assets are calculated. Many crypto-assets are traded on exchanges that do not use pound sterling and it is also common to directly exchange one crypto-asset for another. Add into this the daily volatility in the crypto market, and actually valuing your crypto-assets on disposal can be tricky.

The key point here is that HMRC views different types of crypto-assets as separate assets for capital gains purposes. The swapping of your bitcoin for, say Ethereum, will trigger a disposal for capital gains tax purposes even if no traditional currency has been received. In this case, the individual investor would realise either a taxable gain or loss as a result and may need to make further disposals of crypto-assets into actual currency to meet their tax obligations.

Tax inevitability

While the market is nascent, many new investors may still be able to declare gains on crypto trading before the deadline or before HMRC make an enquiry into their tax affairs. As this is a growth market, it is not surprising that HMRC have already made steps to obtain information from trading apps and platforms regarding investors who have bought and sold crypto.

It is only a matter of time until HMRC are able to pursue investors that may have historical capital gains tax liabilities to declare. And with a January 2022 deadline to declare capital gains from investments sold before 5 April 2021, this may well happen sooner rather than later.

For amateur traders and investors, it is therefore now the time to ensure that they understand and seek trusted and expert advice on their tax obligations with regard to cryptocurrency trading, lest they incur unexpected penalties that eat into their much-prized gains.

 

Over one in five (23%) people in the UK feel financially worse off than when the pandemic began, with two in three (68%) saying it’s negatively impacted their mental health, new research has found.

Among those whose mental health has been affected, the majority (67%) said they were anxious as a result of their fragile finances.

Yorkshire Building Society, who commissioned the research through Opinium, hopes people will use world mental health day as an opportunity to face their finances and take steps to review their money situation and reduce financial anxiety.

The survey showed almost half (49%) of respondents whose finances had been negatively affected this year felt depressed, and two fifths (43%) said they struggled to sleep. Others reported having mood swings (27%), feeling helpless (36%) and one in five (19%) said their work life had been disrupted as a result.

Tina Hughes, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “This latest research is building on the indicators of the serious negative effect the pandemic has had on many people’s finances is leading to poor mental health and it’s important that’s not ignored. We don’t want people to suffer in silence and would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed about their money situation to speak out – talk to someone they can trust, get in touch with the organisations involved with their money, or seek professional help from one of the many great charities available to help.”

Alongside research[ii] released by the Society in June highlighting the fragility of millions of people’s finances across the country with almost one in five (19%) UK adults having less than £100 in savings and the Society’s recent The Nation’s Nest Egg report released last month, consumers are currently facing a £371 billion savings shortfall when it comes to feeling able to withstand a financial shock.  The Yorkshire is encouraging customers who have concerns about their finances or experience health conditions that may affect their ability to manage their money, to have a confidential chat with its colleagues to help them better respond to specific needs people may have.

Tina added: “Whilst many people have managed to put away extra savings throughout the pandemic, this latest research clearly shows that different pockets of society have been more impacted than others over the last 18 months.

“For some of those that have struggled during the pandemic and are now confronted by a cut to universal credit, a record breaking jump in inflation in August and rising energy and food prices, the picture this winter is bleak.

“As a society, we are committed to helping support those who may be in financial difficulty, and this year partnered with Citizens Advice to launch an innovative pilot to ensure that we can get financial advice to some of those who need it most. We understand the strain that money worries can have on people’s wellbeing, and so we want to help alleviate this strain for as many people as possible.

As part of Yorkshire Building Society’s commitment to helping people build their financial resilience, the Society fund Citizens Advice advisers to hold free, confidential appointments at least one day a week across  six Yorkshire locations.

The appointments are open to everyone in the community not only Yorkshire Building Society customers. The Citizens Advice advisers will offer independent advice in private meeting rooms to assist people with a wide range of issues, including financial wellbeing.

If you or anyone you know is struggling financially, help can be sought at Citizens Advice. Practical advice for those unable to pay bills or struggling with debt can be found at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or over the phone on 0800 144 8848.

Additionally, Yorkshire Building Society has a range of support tools available to help people build their financial resilience and take practical steps to saving more.  To find out more or to read the full Nation’s Nest Egg report, please visit the Society’s Money MOT hub.

Aldermore Bank and Cashplus Bank have today announced an exclusive partnership which delivers an easy to manage business savings solution for time-poor SMEs with returns 50 times that of those offered by the largest high street banks1.

Cashplus selected Aldermore as the best partner for their 150,000 business customers for the highly competitive proposition they offer, great rates, fast onboarding process and ease of managing business savings 24/7 with no fees or charges.

Cashplus Bank customers will be able to open an Aldermore savings account with as little as £1,000 and link their Cashplus current account to their Aldermore savings account, allowing for easy mangement, deposit and withdrawals.

Cashplus allows SME customers to bank through their user-friendly digital platform, with a business current account opened in as little as four minutes. Cashplus business current accounts offer a range of benefits including 24/7 online and app access, safe and secure banking with 24 hour fraud monitoring, alongside a range of other perks for fluid, fast and secure business banking.

Benefits of the partnership include:

  • Competitive savings rates that allow SMEs to make the most of surplus business cash generating valuable income to support their business needs. For example, Aldermore’s easy access product pays £375 on a savings balance of £75,000 held for 12 months, compared to just £7.50 offered by many high street bank savings accounts, which is 50 times the return
  • 24/7 online access to Aldermore’s Easy Access and Fixed Rate Business Savings accounts
  • Peace of mind, with money up to £85,000 protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the UK’s deposit guarantee scheme

Earlier this year, Cashplus Bank surveyed its business current account customers with nearly 65% expressing a preference for the type of easy access savings accounts offered by Aldermore Bank but lack the time to research the best provider or product.

Cashplus SME customers hold nearly £400m of deposits with the bank and the partnership announced today will allow those small businesses to make their money work harder for them, while minimising time consuming admin and removing the need to shop around, as they can be confident of a competitive rate.

Paul Schooley, Chief Commercial Officer, Cashplus Bank said: “We understand the challenges faced by SMEs, and we’re focused on constantly improving and building our business banking platform into the ultimate all-in-one solution for small businesses. We asked our business customers, and many told us they wanted the types of savings options that Aldermore offer to help make the best use of their surplus and saved cash. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Aldermore to help our customers enjoy the benefits of holding money in a business savings account, whilst still managing their day-to-day business banking with Cashplus Bank.”

Ewan Edwards, Director of Savings, Aldermore comments: “This partnership represents Aldermore’s ongoing commitment to backing SMEs so they can emerge from the pandemic stronger and focused on opportunities for growth.

“Running an SME comes with a whole host of challenges, so it is vital that business owners make their surplus cash work harder to provide additional financial support and to strengthen financial resilience. The relationship will allow Cashplus customers to make the most of their cash and receive a worthwhile return, all while benefiting from the high levels of service and convenience that Aldermore can offer.”

Parents saving for their children in junior cash ISAs have missed out on up to £13.5bn in potential returns over the past decade.

A new study by Scottish Friendly and the Centre for Economics and Business Research reveals parents who saved into a cash version of the popular tax-free savings account have lost out on up to £32,300 each since they were launched in 2011.

Analysis shows that cash junior ISA holders who maxed out their annual ISA allowance every year since 2011 would have built up a pot worth £52,200 after depositing a total of £44,800.

But an individual who maximised their Junior ISA allowance with investments into the MSCI World Index via a stocks and shares JISA would have accrued a total of £84,500 – £32,300 more.

Since 2011, the MSCI World Index, a global equity tracker, has returned on average 6.5% a year when you take into account fees.

That is more than four times the 1.53% average annual return of cash junior ISAs over the same 10-year period.

Although cash junior ISAs rates have been higher than adult cash ISAs over the last decade, rates across the board have remained low ever since the financial crisis in 2007.

However, despite the potential for higher returns on the stock market, cash junior ISAs remain a far more popular option among parents. The number of account holders with a junior cash ISA has increased every year since they were first introduced, reaching 706,000 in 2019/2020.

By comparison, the number of stocks and shares JISA holders in 2019/2020 was just 317,000.

A survey of 500 junior ISA account holders carried out on behalf of Scottish Friendly found that 73% held a junior cash ISA only. It also revealed that adults on higher incomes were far more likely to invest into junior stocks and shares ISAs than those on middle and lower incomes.

More than four in ten (42%) people earning over £50,000 have a junior stocks and shares ISA compared to just 17% of those with an annual salary of less than £50,000.

The most common reason people gave for opening a cash junior ISA over a stocks and shares version was because they felt it was easier to manage – as selected by nearly a third (31%) of respondents.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (27%) said it was because their money was more secure while 26% felt it was easier to set up than a stocks and shares junior ISA.

When respondents were asked specifically why they didn’t invest in stocks and shares ISA, the main reason given was because the charges are too high, cited by 16%, while 15% pointed to a fear of losing money.

In contrast, for those with stocks and shares JISAs, the main reasons for choosing it over a cash account were based on returns.

Over a quarter (27%) said it was because they expected higher returns, while 24% said it was to leverage the growth potential of the stock market and more than one in five (21%) said it was to protect against the threat of rising inflation.

Jill Mackay, head of marketing at Scottish Friendly, said: “For many parents saving for their children’s future is a major priority and giving them a helping hand as they start out in adult life is a big responsibility. Everyone wants the best for their child when it comes to building a nest egg so it’s understandable that many of us are tempted by a more cautious approach.

“However, if you’re putting money away for a child for up to 18 years, then it could make sense to consider investing as historically stocks and shares have proven to perform better than cash over the long term, albeit this is not guaranteed.

“Plus, investing isn’t just for the wealthy and well advised, it’s possible to invest from as little as £10 month. By investing even small amounts you could ultimately build a brighter start for your child.”

Recent research from RCI Bank, the digital savings bank, has found that over two fifths (44%) of UK adults are more likely to check on their bank account than they are their family and friends. A quarter (25%) monitor their bank balance at least once a day, whilst only 17% say they check in with family and friends that often.

This increased interest in financial ‘interest’ sees 78% of the nation logging on weekly to view their bank balance, 47% looking at their savings and 25% checking their investments. However, nearly a fifth (18%) stated the act of checking their finances makes them feel anxious.

RCI Bank found that of those who save or invest digitally, over half (54%) have become more aware of their savings and spending habits since doing so. Amongst young people aged 18-34, this has increased to almost seven-in-ten (67%) and has led almost half (45%) of them to actively save more. This was highlighted further through RCI’s own internal data2, which found a fifth (18%) of customers are more conscious of their money because of the RCI Bank app.

Despite this, nearly half (46%) of the nation refuse to talk to their loved ones about money. Less than a quarter (23%) will only discuss “certain aspects” of their finances, whilst 7% admit when they do talk to family about money, they are not fully honest. The 55+ age bracket is the most secretive (66%), stating they do not talk about their finances. This compared to a quarter (23%) of younger people (18 – 34), who admit to being open and transparent about their money.

Of those who did talk to loved ones about money, over four in ten adults (46%) admitted to feeling more relaxed and in control of their money. Over half (51%) said they feel more educated about new products and better equipped with savings tips and advice (50%).

Tafari Smith, Head of Savings at RCI Bank comments: “Clearly the ease and accessibility of banking on the go means more people are able to regularly engage with their money – enabling people to feel on top of their finances and in some cases even save more. However, it is concerning to see that so many find checking their finances to be a source of anxiety. Whilst it is understandable that many will be keeping a closer eye on their finances as a result of the pandemic, savings tend to increase over the mid-long term so, while it can be motivating to see your nest egg growing, savers can relax and let their money do the hard work for them.

“After a difficult year and half, those who feel anxious when it comes to money may find bearing this burden alone stressful. RCI Bank is always on hand to listen and help. If you don’t feel you can talk to loved ones, talking to a trustworthy person or professional about your situation can often help too; as research shows that half of people who are open about their money feel less stressed, more in control and better educated about the latest financial tools and resources.”

Buying stocks and making investments is becoming more popular in the UK, particularly as many people found themselves with extra time on their hands during the pandemic. Investing can be a great way to supplement your income or prepare for retirement. However, not all investments pay off and a poor choice could cost you a significant loss.  

Investing can be a risky business, but there are some people, particularly those who fall into the ultra-high-net-worth category, who appear to have a stream of continual income no matter what. 

This raises the question of what they do to achieve such success. Are there specific strategies investors and wealth managers can follow to avoid financial disappointment? Read on to find out the four investment mistakes the ultra-wealthy don’t make. 

How do we define ultra-wealthy?

The ultra-wealthy are high-net-worth individuals who own assets valued over £10 million. In the UK they are typically above middle age, although as more young people take an interest in investments the average age of the ultra-wealthy may drop in the future. 

  • Investing in anything and everything 

The ultra-wealthy are very particular about which companies and markets they invest in. The preferred choices are businesses which focus on just one thing and do it well. These businesses often do something which is fairly niche and cannot easily be copied by a start-up. This ensures they will not be threatened by competition and the business is more likely to stand the test of time. 

  • Failing to plan ahead  

If you’ve no sense of direction, you’ve got no way to move forward, so setting benchmarks is the key to building personal wealth. The ultra-wealthy set personal investment goals and long-term investment strategies before jumping into any decisions. They consider their ideal future and determine where they want to be five, 10 and even 20 years down the line. 

Once they have mapped out their future plans, the ultra-wealthy will stick to an investment strategy that will help them reach their targets. While their peers may be tempted to jump ship if economic downfall becomes an issue, they do not allow it to sway their decision. 

  • Comparing themselves to others

There’s a time and place for competition and it’s not in the stock market. The ultra-wealthy are aware of what can happen when people get caught up in the comparison trap. 

While their fellow investors may splurge on an expensive sports car or a second home, they avoid following suit. Instead, they bide their time and invest the money they have to compound their investment returns, knowing that while it may take longer, the payoff is worth the wait.

  • Letting their emotions get in the way

They say that fear and greed rule the investment market, and it’s not far from the truth. Successful investors focus on the big picture and do not let their emotions influence their decisions. 

Over a short timeframe stock market returns can vary, however long-term a portfolio’s return is not expected to drop from the average percentage of return.

Two in five (37%) people retiring this year are worried they won’t have enough money to last through retirement, according to research by abrdn.

Overall, just two in five (39%) of those planning to retire this year feel very confident that they are financially ready. Within this, women feel less financially ready to retire than men, with just a third (34%) feeling very confident, compared with more than two in five men (43%).

Of the soon-to-be retirees surveyed for abrdn’s Class of 2021 report, nearly half (48%) said they plan to reduce their spending habits to support themselves in retirement, while nearly one in three (27%) expect to continue to work part time and a fifth (21%) plan to sell their property or downsize.

The research by abrdn found that just two fifths (39%) of those set to retire this year said that they had sought financial advice specifically for their retirement, while others have researched options online (55%), asked friends and family for advice (30%) and received support and information from their employer (23%) to prepare for retirement.

Ben Hampton, Retirement Advice Specialist at abrdn, said: “With retirement potentially lasting 30 years or more, it’s vital that people are fully aware of how they’re going to make their money last.

“After the last few years, we think initiatives like Pensions Awareness Week are more important than ever for people to get back on track with retirement plans after so much upheaval in other parts of their lives.

“Being aware of how much you will need to meet your retirement goals, how much you can afford to spend and how this could change as the years go on, as well as considering how to piece together different types of income options, can be daunting. This is why preparation is key.

“The government’s health and social care levy announcement adds a new element to the retirement planning puzzle. If you decide to work part time through retirement, especially after state pension age, you’ve got a new dynamic in the mix. Speaking to an expert will help you plan so you can take full advantage of the options available to you.”

Despite concerns about their financial preparedness, abrdn’s research found that most (96%) of the Class of 2021 are emotionally ready to retire with this year’s retirees looking forward to the freedom to have their own schedule (76%), not having to work (56%) and spending more time with their friends and family (55%).

Yet while more than eight in ten (85%) are ready for the change in lifestyle from their current working schedule, nearly one in five (17%) say not having a routine does worry them.

Ben continued: “Emotional preparedness is a vital factor to think about when it comes to retirement, and plays a huge part in the financial considerations. When you feel ready to retire, and know what you want your retirement to be, it undoubtedly influences what the financial profile of your retirement will look like.

“The big lifestyle changes that retirement transition brings can be unsettling, and particularly so if you don’t have a plan in place. A well-developed retirement strategy will help give you the confidence that everything is in place to help deliver the retirement that you want.”

More than 11.6 million people in the UK have received an inheritance in the past 10 years with the average age at which people receive this windfall sitting at 47 years old, new research* from the UK’s leading equity release adviser Key shows.

More than one in five (22%) adults have received money as an inheritance rising to nearly one in three (29%) among those aged between 65 and 74, the nationwide study found.  While an inheritance is no doubt helpful at any age, when you contrast the average age of inheritance (47 years) with the average first time buyer age (33 years), it is not hard to see why the idea of ‘pre-inheritance’ has gained prominence.

Parents – who have potentially benefited from buoyant house prices – are most likely to leave the biggest inheritance with average of £65,600 while grandparents on average leave £24,200, the research found. Around 11% of people – around six million – have received an inheritance from their parents while 4% – the equivalent of 2.3 million people – have had cash from grandparents.

The money is being spent wisely with around 34% – around 3.9 million people – investing or saving some or all of the cash. But the property and mortgage market also benefits – around 1.1 million have used the money to buy their first home and 1.7 million have paid off their mortgage thanks to an inheritance. Nearly one in 10 (9%) have even put some or all of the cash in their pension.

Where the inheritance comes from

More than half (51%) of those who have received inheritances were left money by their parents while a fifth (19%) received cash from grandparents. Around 16% were left money by uncles or aunts and 13% received cash from family friends.

Cousins were the source of inheritance for 11% of those who have received windfalls in the past 10 years with siblings leaving money in nearly one in 10 (9%) of cases.

HMRC data shows inheritance tax receipts hit £5.4 billion in the 20/21 tax year slightly up on the previous year but receipts from IHT have stayed broadly flat for the past four years thanks in part to the introduction of the Residential Nil Rate Band which allows spouses or civil partners to transfer allowances rising to £175,000 in the 20/21 tax year.

Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “Intergenerational wealth transfer is a major issue for society as a whole and for the financial services industry and the scale of inheritance shows why that is the case.   More than 11.6 million people have benefited from inheritance pay-outs in the past 10 years and the average amounts received can be substantial and potentially life-changing – especially if residential property is involved.

“The idea of inheritance arguably works best when the person receives the support at a time in their life when it can do the most good for their long-term financial security.  However, with the average age of inheritance sitting at 47 years old – when people are more likely to have built up assets – we are seeing more conversations happening about providing people with a ‘pre-inheritance’.

“Not only do people benefit from the support when they need it but their older relative is able to enjoy seeing the difference that it has made to their lives.  However, getting good financial advice is important to ensure than not only do they not fall foul of inheritance tax regulations but there is sufficient assets to cover potential care costs in older age.”