Showing posts with label Pension. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pension. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

How To Prepare For Retirement

As we get to our older years, there is only one thing on our mind: retirement. You may have been thinking about this since the early years of your life.

For other people, they may have only been thinking about retirement when they developed grey hairs. Whichever one you are, you must plan for retirement.

Step One - Work Out How Much Money You Will Need

When preparing for retirement, you need to work out how much you will need. Think about your lifestyle and how much money you will spend in your later years. 

You may not be as active as you are now so therefore, you need to spend less. Nevertheless, you will still need a lot of money in your retirement, so be generous with the money you expect to have.

Step Two - Work Out How Much Money You Will Receive

The next thing you need to do is work out how much money you will receive when you retire. That includes getting a state pension statement, finding out how much you will get from your defined benefit pension, finding your contribution pension pot, adding up your savings and investments, which you will use in your retirement, and searching for lost pensions.

Step Three - Review Your Income Options

You will also need to decide on how you will receive your pension.

Defined Benefit Pensions - This type of retirement pension will pay you a set income from the retirement age. It will depend on your salary and how long you have worked for your current company. You may receive this in one lump sum instead of staggered payments.

Defined Contribution Pension - This is a pot you may have built up yourself, and you can’t start taking money from this pension pot at the age of 55.

You may have other forms of income with your retirement fund. That includes part-time work, a private pension pot that you have been investing/saving money into, property that can be sold, and rent out a room to a lodger to ensure another income. 

As soon as you have worked out all the money you will have and the income you will be receiving during your retirement, you will have a much clearer picture of how much money you will have and how long for.

Make Sure All Debts Are Written Off Before Retirement

Something many people struggle with at one point in their lives is debt. It cannot be avoided if you earn less than the average person.

If there is anything on your credit card that needs paying, then pay it off immediately, as the interest rates can be high. Check other debts you owe and the interest rates you need to pay.

If you have the money to pay off your debts earlier, we advise you to do so before retirement. Pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first so you can focus on the others. If you don't have the money to pay off your debts, use your pension tax-free cash to clear your debts.

To Conclude

Many people leave the planning of retirement until the last minute. It is not advised and is something you should be thinking about from a young age. 

It is normal to expect yourself to be earning millions before you retire however, many people are not fortunate and it could be you. That is why it is important to plan for your retirement.

Look at all of your assets which you have. What should you keep and what should you sell? If you think you can downsize your home because your children have moved out then do that as well. 

Consider using a debt payoff planner app to ensure your debts are paid off before reiterating or else you could be paying high interest rates during retirement.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

There's No Wrong Time To Be Thinking About Your Pension

There might not be a wrong time, but there is a right time, and that time is now. Whether you're in your twenties, thirties, forties, or fifties, if you've not started thinking about your pension, there’s no time like the present. Obviously, the earlier you start preparing the better.

If you think your retirement is a lifetime away, you’ll be surprised how quickly it comes around. Before you know it, you’ll be knocking on the door of retirement and have made no financial preparations. Do you want to spend your twilight years worrying about every penny you spend? Surely that’s not why you’ve been working all these years.

Getting the Best Pension Deal

There are plenty of different pension options, but you need to be sure you've got the right one. You might have caught one of the many media stories about pension misselling. 

If you don’t want to get caught out with a mis-sold pension, you must do your research. Here are some of the contract-based pension schemes you might want to sign up for.

SIPPSelf Invested Personal Pensions are a type of pension that can run alongside a workplace pension. These pensions are an individual contract between yourself and a pension provider. The broad investment powers of a SIPP mean you can invest in a range of assets.

SSAS – SSAS stands for the small self-administered scheme. It is a type of defined contribution pension an employer can self-manage. There do, however, have to be fewer than 12 members.

QROP – A Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme is an overseas pension scheme that meets specific HMRC requirements. A QROP has to have a beneficial owner and trustees. It can receive transfers of UK pension benefits.

These are just three examples of the type of pension scheme you might be able to sign up for. For a person without any pension scheme knowledge, navigating the pension waters can be very dangerous. But who can you ask for advice?

Where to Get Your Pension Advice

Trying to find the best pension advice can be challenging, especially if you have no previous experience. Whether you want SIPP, SSAS, QROP, or any other type of pension, having someone you can trust in your corner is vital. 

To lower the risk of mis-sold pensions or a mis-sold annuity, you should seek the advice of an FCA authorized financial adviser. Don’t be tempted to get help from a pension introducer, as these people are not the best place to go to for pension advice. 

There have been numerous cases of a pension introducer playing a part in one of the many mis-sold pension and mis-sold annuity scandals of recent years. A pension introducer often cold-calls potential clients. 

They then pass on your details to an unregulated marketing firm. They are not regulated by the FCA and therefore could be a party to a pension mis-selling scam.

If you find you’re the victim of a mis-sold pension, it is possible to get claims advice, but the route to getting your money back is fraught with obstacles. To be successful with mis-sold annuity claims or SIPP claims, you have to be able to prove you were given the wrong advice. It might relate to a final salary pension transfer, defined benefit pension or one of many other pension alternatives.

There have been many cases of mis-sold pensions and annuity claims in the recent past. So much so that a whole industry has grown up around mis-sold pensions. SIPP claims, annuity claims, problems with a defined benefit pension, or a final salary pension transfer can often be solved. 

Provided you know where to get claims advice. The best place to start is by calling the Pensions Advisory Service. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Increase the Value of Your Pension

It has become increasingly important for everyone to put a sensible pension strategy into place - why? 

Well first of all we are living longer and therefore our pension has to last longer, second the price of living has gone up dramatically in recent years and finally, the majority of people would like to retire early from their career, giving them more quality time in their senior years

With interest rates being so low, for such a long time the savvy pension saver has been looking for new ways to increase the value of their pension. So how can this be done?

Investment Diversification

The answer for many people is by diversification. Putting money into a number of pots is one way of making that capital work a little, or a lot, harder. 

Using a percentage of your pension capital, let's use 20% as an example and investing it in the financial markets, while leaving the remaining 80% in an interest accruing account, pension scheme or ISA can be a great way to maintain a high level security and at the same time apply some speculation into the equation.

A Trusted Broker

Using Hantec Markets to invest in markets such as Forex or tracking index funds can be a really effective way of increasing the value of your pension. 

This can be done over a long period of time or a shorter period of time and the best part is that the potential profits can far outweigh those you will get from any other type of financial investment. 

Using an online trading platform you are able to access a wide range of financial markets and stay in control of your capital. You can also take advantage of professional help and advice in order to maximise your potential for success.

Forex Fast Track

Investing in the foreign currency markets (Forex) is a high risk/high return strategy. If you have an in depth understanding of trading platforms, global politics and economics, trading Forex can be a highly effective way to make large profits in a short amount of time. 

Forex is traded 24 hours a day and trillions of dollars worth of currency changes hands in any such time period. Currency rates can move up and down quickly meaning the potential for profit is great and for those who become good at it virtually unlimited.

Such gains come with risk, however and if you are inexperienced, then you can also suffer large losses.

Tracking Index Funds

Tracking index funds work by, as the name would suggest, tracking financial indexes such as the FTSE 100. 

They are a low cost way of getting exposure to a wide range of shares and are relatively low risk, especially if entered into as a long-term investment. 

Using tracking index funds means you avoid having to choose specific shares and the associated costs, in return investors can expect a modest return on their pension investment year on year.

Increasing the value of your pension provision effectively is a balancing act, which if got right can mean a comfortable and happy retirement.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Planning an Early Retirement? Managing Legal Matters Wisely

Retirement (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
It’s safe to say that most people would like to retire early, but how many people will actually be able to do so; moreover, how many will retire early and do so comfortably, i.e. without regretting not staying at work for a few more years?

Unfortunately, most people will continue to work until they have no choice but to retire, though if you believe that you’ll be in a position in which it’s feasible to retire early you’ll need to plan for retirement and plan well. 

Dealing with Debt

Retiring when you’re burdened by outstanding debts is impossible so you must ensure that all your outstanding debts are resolved well before you retire.

Many people slide into debt upon retirement because of a reduction in earnings, though provided you’ve planned your retirement well and you have surplus savings, there’s no reason why you should be at risk. 

Combining Pension Pots

If you’ve worked multiple jobs over the course of your working life your pension fund might be spread across multiple pension pots. If that’s the case, you need to find out where your pension is located and consider your options, including rolling them over into one pension fund. 

Are You Claiming the Benefits You’re Entitled To?

Whilst you might not be entitled to all if any of the benefits that senior citizens are entitled to because of your current age, you should still make the effort to find out what benefits you’ll be entitled to claim upon retiring early.

As much as £5.5 million pounds goes unclaimed by pensioners annually and if you’re not claiming the benefits you’re entitled to, the Government certainly isn’t going to let you know what you could be claiming.

There are a number of benefits made available for retirees – Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit, Winter Fuel Payment, etc. – and although you mightn’t be eligible to receive these benefits just yet, you could be at a later age. 

Considering Annuity?

Annuities convert pension funds into retirement income and despite receiving some bad publicity in recent years they’re still the best option available for the majority of retirees.

It’s important to understand that once you’ve decided on an annuity provider your decision can’t be reversed, so get it right the first time.

Couples need to think about joint annuities or single life annuities for each of them, and everyone needs consider the three annuity varieties – level annuity, escalating annuity or inflation-linked annuity – and buy according to their needs.

If you’re retiring early you might not be able to convert your pension funds into retirement income because of your age, or if you are, you might have to settle for an annuity for a specified period of time. 

Don’t Forget About the Taxman!

You’ll need an income to retire early and although you won’t be receiving a wage from an employer that incurs income tax, you still need to pay tax on the money you receive from stocks and shares, savings accounts, term deposits and income derived from investment properties.

Some sources of income aren’t taxed, most notably pensions, Government benefits and ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts); however, it’s important to ensure your tax matters are in order before retiring early because the taxman will catch up with you sooner or later and you don’t want that to happen after you’ve retired. 

Wills, Estate Planning and Powers of Attorney

Thoughts of dying are naturally far from your mind when planning for an early retirement, though you need to give some thought to the inevitable at some point in time and contacting a legal firm like Hanne & Co to create a will, engage in estate planning and discuss lasting powers of attorney needs to be taken care of sooner than later.

These legal matters must be attended to regardless of whether you have dependents, especially lasting powers of attorney, because you need to consider what would happen to your finances and wellbeing if you were no longer able to make your own decisions.

There’s a lot to prepare for an early retirement but there’s also a lot to look forward to, so take care of your legal matters early on to enjoy the early retirement you’ve worked hard for.

Author: Cheryl M. Graham is a freelance writer for Hanne & Co, a law firm in London with an outstanding reputation and a long history in offering services in various areas of law. The company is made up of individuals who actually care.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Savvy Tips For Pensioners Looking To Save Money This Winter

When we reach our twilight years we expect to be treated with respect and compassion, yet the British government is coming down on pensioners like a ton of bricks at the moment in the hope of finding a way to offer them less money without having to deal with a mass revolt. 

They’ve already raised the retirement age to 67 (rising even further to 68 in a couple of years) and now they’re talking about sliding it all the way up the scale to 70.

Pensioners Looking To Save Money

This is truly tragic, and so it should be unsurprising to see so many campaign groups protesting the changes in London of the last few months.

The worst thing about this increase in retirement age is that almost 50% of people who smoke die before they reach 70, meaning it’s basically condemned the vast majority of smokers to a life of labour without even the slightest chance of being able to see the end of their working days. 

Personally, I find these changes completely disgusting, which is why I’ve decided to write an article about some ace money saving tips guaranteed to help pensioners (and all old people) this winter. 

I might not be able to change the governments infectious decisions, but I’m confident I can treat the symptoms.

Opt For Free Eye Tests

Although a lot of pensioners and old people in the UK still choose to pay for their eye tests and prescriptions, there really is no need for this. 

Sure, the NHS glasses probably look a little less appealing than the designer brands available, but as everyone over the age of 60 is legally entitled to free tests and prescriptions, I’d advise you to take full advantage. This could free up more cash to pay for your rising heating and fuel costs.

Always Use Vouchers

When you open up a newspaper and see coupons or even when you visit specialist website and find discount codes, it’s of paramount importance that you print them off / cut them out and use them. 

This is guaranteed to save you lots of money in the long run that perhaps could be better spent taking the grandchildren out for the day or something similar. I really can’t stress enough how significant savings can be when utilising this technique.

Ask For A Water Meter

Unlike their electricity counterparts, water meters often result in people having lower bills, especially if they tend to take showers rather than baths. 

Most elderly UK residents spend their days visiting friends or sitting the local cafe anyway, so the amount of water being used is usually minimal. You never know; this could free up more than a few hundred pounds this winter.

So guys, now you’ve had time to read through my suggestions I sincerely hope you’ll manage to save enough cash to keep yourselves comfortable as we move into the cold months. 

Just remember that your heating is the most important expense on which you should not try to cut back. We all hear too many horror stories at this time of year about people who couldn’t pay the bills on time, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

Have a lovely Christmas folks!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How To Spend A Lump Sum From Your Retirement Plan

As we approach the twilight years of our lives, millions of Americans will be given the opportunity to take a lump sum from their retirement plans, especially those who don’t have a significant amount of capital tied up in the schemes. This is because providers stand to make less profit from you compared to people with a significant investment in their plan, and so it’s much easier for the firms involved to get you off their books as quickly as possible. Although this might sound like a bad thing (and in some cases it certainly is), those who understand how to use this cash advance wisely could benefit tremendously in the long term. 

The average amount accepted as a lump sum by American citizens is around $15,000 and is usually obtained at the age of 55, although admittedly some people do wait until their working lives are over. Still, at 55 you’ve still got ten years or more to work out what you want to do with this money, and could well increase it tenfold if you obtain the right advice and the most up-to-date information, which is why I’m taking the time to write this short post today. 

Taking A Long Holiday

Though this isn’t going to provide you with any extra funds, taking a long holiday (perhaps a round the world cruise) can be a fantastic way of enjoying the fruits of your labor and investing in yourself for a change. After 40 years of hard work and with 10 more still to go you deserve a treat, and what better way is there of accomplishing this than taking a nice relaxing break where you can check out some of the most beautiful sights on earth?

Providing For Your Family

By this time you should be reasonably comfortable in your life, but some younger members of your family group may not be so lucky, which is why you might consider helping them out with your cash lump sum. Getting a deposit for a mortgage has become increasingly difficult, so perhaps you could help out others around you who are struggling. 

Investing In Gold

Presuming you’re pretty content with the quality of life you’ve obtained and your family members are well looked after, I’d advise that you to look into different investment opportunities and attempt to increase your funds before retirement age. There are some fantastic firms out there who deal specifically with helping people to purchase gold and other precious metals, and as these items tend to increase in value steadily, perhaps you should give them a shot. I recently read a real review of regal assets and discovered they’re the industry leaders, so try them out. 

Purchasing Land

Regardless of the amount you have to spend, land in the US is always going to increase in value. So, whether you can afford to buy 10 acres or even just a single plot, using your cash in this way is guaranteed to keep it safe until you know what you want to do with it long term.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go now. I’ve got to do some serious research into the gold market as I’m actually considering making a small investment myself. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Until next time my friends…

Link to image author

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When Is It Too Late To Start Your Pension

If you’re knocking fifty, chances are you’re becoming a little concerned about how you will pay for yourself upon retirement. The problem began in the 1980s really, when rich folks were having such a fantastic time under the Thatcher government that they forgot to start saving for their old age. Because of that, there are now millions of soon-to-be pensioners with no financial backing at all - so don’t worry too much, you’re certainly not alone. 

With that in mind, surely you must realise that even now you still have enough time to start paying into a pension scheme for when you retire. Okay, you won’t be a well-off OAP, but you’ll definitely be in a better position - that much is guaranteed. 

So, if you’re considering starting a late pension, then have a quick read through the rest of this short article and I’ll do my utmost to help you out. 

Find Out What You’re Worth

Before opting to pay into a pension scheme at this late hour, it’s important that you spend some time working out how much money you’re currently worth. You might find that you’re living in a fully paid for property that’s worth over £200,000, and if this applies to you, it might be more sensible to sell the house, downsize, and live off the profits. 

However, if you have no assets and determine your worth to be less than this amount, it probably is worth looking at your options for pension schemes.

Utilise Tax Relief Programs

Okay, so, you might not realise this but the UK government allows for tax relief on pension payments, meaning that if you pay into a scheme during your working life, you are taxed less on your wage. In effect, for every £1 you pay into a pension scheme, it only costs you around 70 pence.

Make Maximum Payments

As you’ll be joining your pension scheme far later than most, it’s vitally important that you opt for the largest payments possible. This will obviously depend on how much you can afford, but if you want to see substantial returns when you finally retire, it’s worth paying as much as you can now. 

Also, don’t forget that if your pension pot is large enough, you could still buy an annuity when you reach retirement age that would provide you with a stable income until the day you die. However, this annuity won’t be large enough to cover day-to-day living expenses if you don’t start saving fast.

Always Seek Impartial Advice

When looking for a suitable pension scheme you won’t really have a lot of time for calling round hundreds of different providers, so make sure you seek out advice from an impartial body who have your best interests in mind. Don’t simply trust the word of the pension provider, as they will nearly always claim they offer the best deal - and they can’t all be right, can they?

My grandmother was in the same boat as you last year, and she chose to get in touch with the annuity specialist, as they offered fantastic advice as well as pointing her in the right direction to find a good provider. 

I hope that helped somewhat and you now feel more confident about making the leap and sorting your pension out before it’s too late. So the answer the question proposed in the title of this article “No, it’s never too late”.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How To Make Overseas Pension Transfers

If you are an expat with a pension in your home country, you might be thinking there is no point in moving your funds offshore. After all, the money is secure, you might not need it for a while and you trust your pension pot back home. Today, we invite pension expert Sofia Kluge, Web Editor & Community Manager at OPP award winning foreign exchange comparison site to provide some tips on making overseas pension transfers

Why It Pays To Transfer Your Pension

What you may not know is that by transferring your pension to your new home country, you will be free of the restrictions and tax laws governing your pension right now. By transferring your pension you could potentially be thousands of pounds better off and have better control over what happens to your money once you retire. You’ve worked hard for the money in your pension so doesn’t it make sense to transfer your pension without risk?

Pension Transfer Requirements

In order to transfer your UK registered pension, you will need to transfer it to a Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QPROPS). The trustees of your current pension scheme will check that the scheme you are planning to transfer is a QPROPS and that it complies with HMRC requirements. 

What You Need To Know About QPROPS

QPROPS is a set of regulations set down by the HMRC. It is essential that the overseas pension scheme you select for your transfer comply with these regulations. If it doesn’t, you may be liable to pay a huge 55% unauthorised transfer charge. You won’t usually need to pay any UK tax fees because you will not be living in the UK when your QPROPS payments are made to you. 

QPROPS was first introduced in 2006 and was designed to give people living in the UK to emigrate to another country and to take their pension with them. Whether you are going to be drawing your pension in a couple of years or you plan to continue paying into your pension for many years to come, transferring it to your new home country makes a lot of sense. 

The QPROPS Process

Once you have decided that you would like to transfer your pension, you can speak to a QPROPS advisor to discuss the money transfer and the best way of organising everything. 

Your QPROPS service will usually include the following:

  • A free initial consultation to ascertain your personal circumstances.
  • If you decide to proceed with the QPROPS transfer, your advisor will give you a personalised report detailing their recommendations.
  • Your advisor will then go over the recommendations to ensure you are clear on all points and have everything you need to make an informed choice. 
  • If you are happy to proceed, your advisor will issue the relevant forms to you so that you can complete and sign them. 
  • Your QPROPS advisor will then arrange the transfer of money from your UK scheme into your new QPROPS scheme overseas. 
  • Once the money transfer has taken place, your QPROPS advisor will make all of the arrangements to ensure your monies are made available to you upon your retirement date.

Choosing The Right Pension Transfers Company

Before you decide to go ahead with your pension transfer, it pays to shop around for the right advice. The HMRC website offers plenty of advice on QPROPS transfers and your pension transfers broker will also give you all the information you need about the process. 

Shop around for an international money transfer broker with years of experience in transferring pensions to a broad spectrum of different countries or choose a broker that is experienced in the country you are emigrating to. Ensure the FCA regulated currency broker is authorized and regulated. They will be aware of the rules and regulations that are specific to that country and ensure a swift and smooth transfer. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keeping Fit Through-out Your Retirement

Is it time to retire? Good for you, you deserve some hard-earned time off! Retirement is the part of life that most people who have their feet firmly planted in the working world look forward to. Perhaps not too soon because retirement comes with age, but those getting on in their years who are starting to feel like they need a nice, long rest will welcome retirement with open arms. 

There is one major setback that comes as part of the retirement package and that’s laziness. When you’ve stopped getting up and going to work every day, you may find that you start losing your energy. It is a well-known fact that energy breeds more energy and doing nothing all day with leave you feeling tired. Retired people can begin to feel weary and their health could possibly diminish without a project to keep them busy. If you’re retiring, do yourself a favour and KEEP FIT.

When you keep fit, your body will thank you. You’ll have enough energy to do daily chores around the home, play with the grandkids and see your friends!

But the number one reason to keep fit is in case you have an enhanced annuity fund. Think of it this way, when you have an enhanced annuity you are essentially making a bet with your insurers. If you outlive your life expectancy, you have won the bet and if you die earlier then insurers make a profit. It’s that simple, so if you want to win the bet and not lose out on money then you should do regular exercise and eat as healthily as possible.

Try to cut out eating red meat more than once or twice a week. Stick to lean meats, oily fish (no more than twice a week) and vegetarian alternatives like tofu or Quorn products. You will benefit from the protein levels without taking in the high fat content in red/fatty meats.

Try to get your recommended half an hour – an hour of rigorous exercise a day. Whether you love to run or just want to enjoy a brisk powerwalk, or maybe you’d prefer swimming, football, tennis/squash, or cycling, your health will benefit massively from regular cardio exercise.

Smokers are likely to get a higher enhanced annuity on retirement, so change your habits, kick the cigarettes and beat the odds! You’ll feel healthier, live longer and get a much better pension that anywhere else.

Try not to eat big, heavy meals too often in your retirement. It’s not healthy for anyone to eat large meals because our bodies can’t cope with so much food in one sitting. We put all of our energy into digesting what we’ve eaten (hence the sluggish/lethargic feeling after a lot of food) and the older we get, the harder it is that our bodies have to work. Eat small amounts often and you’ll feel energised, healthy and fit all day long. Make sure you eat complex carbohydrates (whole wheat/wholegrain foods) often and pack in important vitamins to help ward off common illnesses such as osteoporosis.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Four (or Five) Most Powerful Retirement Investment Weapons in Any Retiree’s Arsenal

If I had a dollar for every word I’d ever read in internet articles on retirement saving and investment that failed to provide some of the best advice on the subject, I probably wouldn't have time to write this, what with all the yacht trips and jet setting I’d be busy with. Not that I’m not as big a proponent of traditional investment strategies as anyone in the financial industry. In that respect, and all others, I’m a proponent of playing to your strengths. 

For instance, one of my pet specialties is Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes or iExpats for British pensioners. Although the details are a little convoluted (and boring) for our purposes here, it’s a tax-saving system and perfect example of taking advantage of a niche financial opportunity. Like lower income savers taking advantage of the “Saver’s Credit” tax reward or looking into any of the preferential financial options available for veterans. 

So what is this sage advice that’s so conspicuously lacking from all those articles? Well, it involves the four (or five) most powerful tools in the retiree’s toolbox (a lot of metaphors happening here): Age, Experience, Time and Wisdom. And hopefully, Passion. Those tools can be employed to build a retirement investment-business that’s not only lucrative but can prove to be a blast as well. Here, at least, is a description of those tools. It’s on your to pick them up. 

Passion. This is the biggie and the crux of the whole system but paradoxically it’s not necessarily entirely essential for success. What I mean is: following a passion into a practical business endeavor is a great foundation for success. If you’ve been fascinated by and involved in, say, antiques, if you decide to start a business dealing said antiquities you’re guaranteed to have more than just a clinical, financial motivation in that business. 

The same goes for any other hobby that can turn into money- collecting coins; classic cars; comic books; firearms and/or other weapons; becoming a fishing or hunting guide; selling produce, preserves, starts or expertise from the time you’ve spent in your award-winning garden; mending or making clothes, or following your eye for fashion and tailoring to the local thrift stores to resell your finds online, whatever. Nothing motivates profit like passion. However, even a keen interest and a level head can succeed where real passion lacks. In the case of a business in which you might be tempted to acquire something or make a decision that’s not entirely economically viable in response to that passion, being dispassionate can even be a benefit. 

Age. Age may seem to be interchangeable with “Experience” and/or “Wisdom” but that’s not strictly the case. One of the benefits of Age beyond the accumulation of Wisdom and Experience, is potential customers assumptions that you’ve accumulated those attributes. Which guide is the average person going to assume knows the local lakes and streams like the back of their hand after years of fishing them- an old-timer or some young whipper-snapper? Who are they going to assign years of worldly knowledge and expertise to? Those presumptions can be used in your favor. 

Experience. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. With Experience (hopefully) comes expertise. Years of indulging your hobby has given you a level of expertise or at knowledge on the subject. Sometimes your pre-retirement job comes in handy as well. Working in contracting, construction, inspection, maybe working for the city or one of the utilities, real estate and a number of other areas may have given you the tools to make good money flipping or renting houses. Maybe you hadn’t previously considered turning your ability to often spot a solid or compromised foundation by eyeballing it into a cash-generation engine. 

Wisdom. Wisdom differs from experience here in a sort of abstract way. It’s like intuitive Experience. Wisdom is what warns you that a deal seems shady; a renter seems untrustworthy; a neighborhood seems set for revitalization; a buy is a steal or a bust; where the trout, bass, buck or birds will be, etc. Hopefully, of course, that wisdom also tells you when your distrust of a renter is based on an old prejudice or snap judgment, when you are just telling yourself that a buy seems like a steal because you want whatever’s being sold and so forth. 

Time. It seems like one of those cruel ironies that after years of working and (hopefully, again) stuffing that 401(k), you’re finally able to quit work, kick back, relax and… become bored. Now that can be put toward your passion, or at least interest, keeping you busy with something fun and getting you paid for it! Nowadays, starting a business often doesn’t even require the investment, time, headache and risk of establishing a brick and mortar space for your endeavor- it can be as easy as setting up a website or logging in to eBay. That saves you more time for your work; if it can be called that. Do you ever regret not following a passion down a career path before you retired? Well, why not give it a shot afterward! 

Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European economic policy and expat pension. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography and appreciates the rest of the Vitanelli family’s endless patience with his football dependence.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Post Retirement: 5 Ways to Boost Your Financial Portfolio

Retirement marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life. You are no longer working to satisfy the goals and dreams of your boss. These days, you are looking to ensure that your own goals and dreams are being fulfilled. What are some things that you can do post-retirement to make sure that you have the financial resources to stay in control of your own life?

1) Never Stop Investing

It is a good idea to always be on the lookout for that next great investment opportunity. Whether you want to buy an income property, purchase gold bullion or invest in a business, you should always be looking to put your money where it will continue to grow for you.

2) Get A Part-Time Job

After retirement, you may loathe the thought of going back to work. The good news is that you have the flexibility to choose a job that interests you. Instead of working because you have to, you have the time to work as a bartender, on the golf course or at the body shop because you want to and its a great way to make money while getting out of the house.

3) Meet With A Financial Planner Regularly

Your financial planner is your best friend. He or she will show you how to responsibly manage your money in ways that will allow you to live your life without fear of going broke.

4) Maximize Social Security Benefits

Do you suffer from pain or soreness due to years of physical labor? If so, you may want to meet with Harris Federal, a federal disability attorney to see if you can start collecting social security disability checks without having to sacrifice money in the future.

5) Look For Ways To Reduce Your Tax Burden

Each dollar that you don't send to the government is a dollar that you keep in your bank account. Therefore, it is in your best interest to find ways to lower your tax burden whenever possible. An easy way to do this, if you are under age 70, is to keep your money in your retirement account to avoid paying taxes on accrued interest.

Once you retire, you won't have the large paycheck and health benefits that your employer has provided for you. This means that you have to think of ways to provide for yourself for the next 20 to 30 years.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Financial Planning for the over 50s

Whether a school leaver or a septuagenarian, financial planning is a vital part of life. However, as you grow older, the factors you need to consider evolve and change as your needs mature.

When you are younger, financial planning is all about the long-term future and putting ideas together to ensure you start edging your way to getting what you want sooner rather than later.

Once you are over 50, although you may have many things you still want to see and do, you also need to start thinking about how your loved ones would pay for a funeral if the worst happened.

We take a look at financial planning for the over 50s and run through some of the considerations which should be taken into account.

Preparing for the worst

No one likes to think about their own death but making sure that all the necessary financial preparations are in place means that your loved ones will have much less to deal with while they are grieving.

"Look after your money, and it will look after you in retirement."

If you are willing to go that one step further, you could even make the preparations for your own resting place. An increasing number of people are opting to have their memorial stone constructed by a stone mason and pick their own cemetery – and even paying for it in advance – to save their family and friends from making difficult choices at a traumatic time.

You might prefer to leave the actual wording on your headstone, but there's no reason why you can't decide on everything else. Granite or marble? Polished or pitched? The choices over your headstone can be made in advance. You can even opt for a curbed memorial if your chosen cemetery permits these.

Pension arrangements

Hopefully, you will have been able to contribute to a personal pension. If this is the case, now is the time to view what arrangements you have in place and consider whether they would be sufficient to fund a comfortable retirement.

There are many types of pension funds that can be arranged

Although the exact value of your pension fund may well fluctuate in line with the market, it can be helpful to get an annuity quote so you know exactly how much extra income you can expect to receive once you stop working. 

This will help you plan for your future and decide whether you need to keep a small part-time job or whether you can afford that around-the-world cruise you have always promised yourself!

The other factor to consider is whether your pension fund needs to be moved to a low-risk, more secure investment.

Pensions are considered a long term investment, so investing in a fund deemed either cautious or aggressive carries little real risk as there will be time to make up any losses. 

The stock market, by its very nature, undulates, but any dips will even out over time, so there's usually no need to get worried by fluctuations in your fund value.

However, once you are nearing retirement, it's worth considering whether it would be more appropriate to move your fund to a less-risky investment. 

If the worst did happen and the market crashed, you may not have sufficient time for your pension fund to bounce back before you need to cash it in. Experts recommend moving your fund to a low-risk location the closer you take your retirement.


Just because you are over 50 doesn't mean you don't still have a long and fulfilling life ahead of you, and free of the shackles of work, you can finally spend your time doing exactly what you want.

However, financial planning is just as important as ever. Whether making sure your loved ones don't have too much to do if you were suddenly to depart this mortal coil or bolstering your pension fund so that you can have a whale of a time during your retirement, it's vital to make the necessary arrangements.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How To Make Sure That Your Retirement Plans Are Safe

Everyone wants to retire at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, you won't be able to retire unless you take steps now to create, fund and protect a variety of plans designed to allow you to retire in comfort. What can you do to make sure that your retirement plans are safe?

Monitor Your Accounts On A Regular Basis

It is a good idea to go over the status of your accounts at least once a quarter. You can make an appointment with your accountant or set aside an afternoon to ensure that your accounts are active and no suspicious activity can be detected. By constantly monitoring your accounts, you can see if anyone is taking money out of them without your knowledge or consent. If you do see something happening with your accounts that you did not authorize, contact your broker immediately to find out what is going on.

Know Your Time Horizon

If you are just starting out in the working world, you can afford to put your money in volatile accounts that are going to make a large overall return. However, you should put your money into conservative income accounts as you get closer to retirement. Although your returns each year will start to decline, you are more focused on not losing your entire investment as opposed to obtaining maximum growth.

Do Your Research Before Investing Any Of Your Money

It is important to read a prospectus before investing in a mutual fund to understand the tax implications of your investment as well as any expenses involved. Before choosing a broker, make sure that your broker has many years of experience in the field of financial management. If you don't take the time to find out how much you will be spending in fees as well as who is managing your money, you could see your accounts drained with no chance of getting your money back.

Always Retain Custodial Control Of Your Accounts

Under no circumstances should you cede control of your accounts to any third-party. Even if your children want to manage your money as you get older, you should refuse their requests. If you cede control of your accounts, you no longer know that your money is going to continue to work for you or be there for you when you retire.

Don't Give Out Account Information Over The Phone

Never give out account information to anyone over the phone. Regardless of who the caller says he or she is, you don't know for sure who you are talking to. If someone needs account information updated or verified, meet with your broker face-to-face to discuss the matter. If anyone asks for your social security information, you can refer that person to your social security attorney Indianapolis.

It is important that you keep your retirement accounts safe from anyone who may want to take your money. You cannot expect anyone else to keep your money safe for you when there may be $1 million or more in the account. By following some common sense rules, your retirement accounts will always stay protected.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Embracing the Golden Age with Grace

With each birthday that passes, you begin to notice how age has gradually snuck up on you, painting more lines of wisdom when you were not looking and adding little body aches that remind you of the spry youth you once were. The long distances you have walked before have now grown shorter because you tire more easily these days. But you shouldn’t worry too much about entering the golden age. Instead, you should be grateful that you have been able to live this long and can still continue to live and make a difference. If you’re still not convinced, maybe these perks will remind you that being a senior citizen isn’t so bad. 

Senior Discounts

When you’re a senior, you can get great discounts at malls. Some stores actually hold a discount day just for senior citizens. In some countries, people are issued a senior citizen card, which guarantees them a 20% off on goods and services purchased. It can be used in buying groceries or even food transactions at restaurants. Different countries offer various benefits so take advantage of the ones that are offered in your hometown. 


Sometimes you forget why you worked so long or so hard for. While it’s true that trying to provide for your family has always been your initial driving force, in the end when the children have all grown up and left the house, you’ll realize that part of that hard work was so you can have enough to support you when you finally decide to retire. Pension is great because it will allow you to fulfill your longtime dreams of travel. Have you ever noticed how most people in retirement are always traveling? It’s because they saved enough money through their pension, thus allowing them to travel as much as their heart desires. 

Cool Gadgets at Your Disposal

When you’re older, you can splurge on cool gadgets to make your life easier, like a no handles vacuum cleaner that won’t require you to bend down when cleaning. A nifty little machine like this is easy to operate and what’s more, it won’t strain your back like the regular vacuum does. I would also suggest getting an ipad so you can keep in touch with your children and grandchildren through skype or facetime. You can also use the ipad to store ebooks if you’re fond of reading. Though you are able to afford so many cool gadgets, don’t go overboard and buy everything you want. Keep on discerning between your wants and needs. Choose to invest in gadgets that are useful and make your life a whole lot easier. 

Time to Make a Difference

When you’re done raising your children, you’ll realize that you have a lot of free time on your hands even after going on travels. One of the things that you can do is to find ways on how you can make a difference in other people’s lives. Volunteer at charity events or organize productive activities for the youth. If you reach out to those who need help, you can enrich their lives and they too can enrich yours in return. 

About the Author
Based in San Diego California, Tiffany Matthews is a professional writer with over 5 years of writing experience. She also blogs about travel, fashion, and anything under the sun at, a group blog that she shares with her good friends. In her free time, she likes to travel, read books, and watch movies. You can find her on Twitter as @TiffyCat87.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pension Liberators Prey on UK People Feeling the Pinch

The UK financial crisis rumbles on. After the 'great recession' of 2008-2009 it was speculated that the financial stability of the UK would recover and technically the country would be out of the recession by the first quarter of 2012. 

But the economic recovery has failed to gain traction and the UK now finds itself in the longest financial downturn slump in more than a century.

The UK government has commenced savage cuts in public spending and average UK household debt is one of the worst and spiralling. In fact, nearly one in five people in the UK who plan to retire in 2013 have unpaid credit cards and mortgage debts. This equals an alarming number of middle-aged people within the UK population who are finding themselves desperately trying to keep the wolves from the door with limited financial weapons to choose from. But, there is one metaphorical pot of gold that many are turning to.

For those that have saved for their retirement into a personal or company pension, tapping into that pension pot can seem like an easy way out to clear that financial burden. But in reality, invading those pension savings before the age of 55 in the UK can have severe consequences in terms of financial comfort during retirement and can also land people in hot water with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - the UK taxman.

Unscrupulous, unregulated individuals and marketing companies have been conning hard-up pension savers with "Pension Liberation Schemes". These schemes are unauthorised by the Financial Services Authority (the regulatory body in the UK for all Financial Advisors and Services). These schemes let pension savers "borrow" from their pension, before the age of 55 - which is the age that retirees can draw their pension.

These advisors and companies contact their victims usually via text message, emails or cold calling. They offer a "too good to be true" offer. They fail to explain the consequences of their scheme, which can leave people in financial ruin when they actually reach retirement. They take control of your pension fund, put it into a corporate bond and lend half of its value back to the victim...which must be repaid along with interest before retirement. They also charge hefty fees of between 10 to 50 percent of the fund value. HMRC will also require the victim to pay tax...but rarely do these scam advisors tell the individual this. This leaves the victim with a significant tax bill as well as penalty charges if they fail to disclose it to HMRC from the outset.

UK authorities are desperately trying to tackle pension liberation fraud, as are many pension providers - in the form of suspending transfers into schemes of which they are suspicious. However there are many people still being caught out.

Pension unlocking however is a perfectly acceptable way to utilise cash in a pension. From the age of 55, UK pension savers can take a tax-free cash lump sum from their pension of up to 25 percent of the total fund value which can be used to clear expensive debts. The remaining pension can then be either used to purchase an annuity, or one of a handful of other options designed to provide an income in retirement such as an income drawdown pension.

Above all it is important that people seek professional advice from regulated experts that specialise in post-retirement income. have a wealth of experience in UK annuities and pension transfers. Their website offers a wealth of information including the different options available and an annuity rates calculator. A UK regulated company will be able to provide their FSA number which can be verified.

Regardless of the options, a decision to raid pension savings should never be taken lightly and in reality should really be used as a last resort where debts are crippling and the economic benefit of paying them off with a tax free cash lump sum far outweighs the benefits of leaving the pension pot to grow until the saver stops working. In the UK, the state pension age is between 61 and 68, however individuals can continue working past UK state pension age if they wish. Even the perfectly legal practice of pension unlocking in the UK, will inevitably leave the individual with significantly less income in retirement than if the pension fund remained untouched.

Some questions that should start alarm bells ringing with any individual who has been approached by one of these pension liberation schemes, are as follows:

  • Are you a UK citizen aged under 55? 
  • Were you contacted by an unsolicited, email, text or cold call? 
  • Is the advisor or company regulated in the UK by the FSA and can you verify this? 
  • Have you recently left the UK Armed Forces, work in the UK Public Sector or have you recently been declared bankrupt? 
  • Is this scheme registered or newly registered with HM Revenue and Customs? 
  • Has the advisor or company mentioned "legal loophole"? 
  • Are you being pressured into transferring your pension quickly? 

In December 2011, the UK High Court ruled that schemes allowing savers to access their saved pension funds before the age of 55 are illegal. There are extenuating circumstances where individuals may be allowed to access before the 55 year old threshold and this is usually in the case of a diagnosed terminal illness.

Author Bio

Lee Rawding is an Independent Financial Advisor in the UK who specialises in post-retirement income options and pension annuities.

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