Retiring in England? Here are the top destinations

Whilst the impact of Brexit is yet to be known, one thing that may become trickier is relocating to the continent after Britain...

Retiring in England? Here are the top destinations

Whilst the impact of Brexit is yet to be known, one thing that may become trickier is relocating to the continent after Britain leaves the EU. It’s a change that will affect those at the end of their working life as well as those near the start, as in the past many have chosen to live outside the UK for their retirement years. Thankfully, whether your plans to move to Europe have to be shelved, or you were always intending to spend your retirement in the UK, there are plenty of popular retirement destinations throughout England to consider.

North Yorkshire’s rural district of Craven is a popular retirement choice. Taking in the market town of Skipton, together with the larger towns of High Bentham and Settle, as well as a sizeable area of the Yorkshire Dales, Craven offers the best of both town and country living. The high street in Skipton is a past winner of the ‘greatest street in England’ from the Academy of Urbanism, which considers such factors as environmental and social sustainability, local character and distinctiveness and user friendliness. The average house price is around £205,000, with a detached house costing about £310,000.

West Devon is another area to consider. The variety of landscapes is by far the most attractive feature of this part of England, with chocolate box villages, agricultural landscapes and Dartmoor National Park providing a picturesque backdrop to your retirement. Average house prices come in at just over £250,000, although you can find semi-detached properties for under £200,000. One drawback is that travel can be an issue, with no mainline stations in the area and at least a three hour train ride into London from the nearest stations Exeter and Plymouth, so bear this in mind if you have reason to venture out of the county regularly.

If you’re looking for somewhere with a name as evocative as the place itself for your retirement, then Eden in Cumbria could be the right choice. A rural haven, Eden offers you part of the Lake District National Park, the lakes and mountains of Ullswater, the beautiful countryside of the Eden Valley and the breathtaking landscape of the North Pennines. Eden also has only 63 people per square mile, making it the place with the lowest population density out of England’s 324 local government districts. The average house price is a remarkably low £190,000, and you could easily pick up a flat for under £125,000.

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When was the last time your friends and family reviewed their pension?

A survey carried out by YouGov only a few years ago found that over half the respondents who contributed to either a personal or...

When was the last time your friends and family reviewed their pension?

A survey carried out by YouGov only a few years ago found that over half the respondents who contributed to either a personal or workplace pension scheme had not reviewed their pension in the preceding three years. More worryingly, many of these people admitted that they had never carried out a pension review.

 Don’t forget the changes that George Osborne is planning in his autumn review. Take advantage of the current tax regime and have your pensions reviewed before these changes.

If this sounds like you, then it’s possible that your pension is currently not nearly as productive for you as it could be, meaning you could be shortchanging yourself in terms of what funds are available to you when you retire. Reviewing your pension could even make a significant difference to when you’ll actually be able to start enjoying your retirement.

The world of work has largely moved on from the days when a person would stay with one organisation throughout their working life. The average worker today is likely to stay in each job they hold for less than five years before moving on. What this means in terms of pension savings is that most people are very likely to have paid into several pension plans. With all employers now legally required to offer a workplace pension, the likelihood of this happening is only going to increase.

It’s therefore more important than ever to regularly review your pensions to ensure they are working as efficiently for you as possible. If any existing plans were set up a number of years ago, they may be being affected by charges and fees that are uncompetitive when compared to modern plans. Transferring your savings to a more up-to-date plan could mean a greater proportion of the money you’ve paid in will actually end up in your retirement pot. And, of course, moving several different pension plans to a single provider will also benefit you in being easier to track and manage exactly what you’ve accumulated.

Whilst reviewing your pension is crucial, it can also be a very complex process. So, rather than attempting to tackle it yourself, it’s always advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified financial adviser who will be able to spot both the pitfalls and the potential gains you may be able to make. It’s also better to review sooner rather than later, as if you only give your pension any thought once you’re approaching the age at which you plan to retire, the chances are it’ll simply be too late to fix any problems.

 

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Help To Buy vs Lifetime: Which ISA is best?

Set to be introduced in April 2017, the Lifetime ISA essentially offers an alternative to the Help To Buy ISA. With two competing...

Help To Buy vs Lifetime: Which ISA is best?

Set to be introduced in April 2017, the Lifetime ISA essentially offers an alternative to the Help To Buy ISA. With two competing options on the table, it’s important to know which is best for you and your needs, as whilst they have some similarities, there are also key differences between the two.

The Help To Buy ISA allows you to save up to £200 each month to save for a deposit on your first home. The government then boosts your savings further to the tune of 25% up to a total limit of £3,000, as long as you’re a first time buyer purchasing a property priced up to £450,000 in London and up to £250,000 everywhere else in the UK. There is no minimum deposit each month, and you’re also able to pay in £1,000 when the account is opened that doesn’t count towards your monthly savings.

Available up to Autumn 2019, anyone aged sixteen or over is entitled to open a Help To Buy ISA. The accounts are limited to one per person, which means both people in a couple can have an account and benefit from the bonus.

The new Lifetime ISA is based on similar principles but has several important differences, with the most important being that it can be used either to save for purchasing your first home or as money put away as a pension for later in life. There’s no limit on how much you can save each month as long as you don’t go over the yearly cap of £4,000.

Again, the government offers a 25% bonus, but this is paid whether you use the money to purchase your first home up to a price of £450,000 anywhere in the country, or keep it for later in your life. Any money that’s taken out before your 60th birthday and not used for purchasing your first home will forfeit the government bonus plus any growth or interest earned from it, as well as incurring a 5% charge. If you wait until after you’re 60, you can take out everything tax-free.

As you will be allowed to have both a Lifetime ISA and a Help To Buy ISA, you can choose to do this, but you will only be able to use the bonus from one of the two accounts to buy a home. As the Lifetime ISA is essentially replacing the Help To Buy ISA, it makes sense to opt for the newer style of account after they are introduced next April. If you want to set up an ISA for your child, however, you could consider opening a Help To Buy ISA on their 16th birthday then transferring the savings to a Lifetime ISA two years later which will allow you to take full advantage of the government bonuses.

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Retirement plans on hold for many over 50s

A third of people aged over 50 who are employed in the private sector are now planning to retire later than they previously...

Retirement plans on hold for many over 50s

A third of people aged over 50 who are employed in the private sector are now planning to retire later than they previously hoped, Aviva’s latest Working Lives report reveals.

The 2016 report – which comprises research among UK private sector employers and employees – has a particular focus on employees aged over 50, following the end of compulsory retirement and with the first anniversary of the ‘pension freedoms’ approaching.

In particular, the Aviva Report survey asked people what age they hoped they would retire at, before they turned 40. Now, aged over 50, more than one in three (36%) admitted they would be retiring later than they thought – by an average of eight years. Among those who will now retire later than hoped, the report found a variety of reasons for people to postpone their retirement plans:

Not saving enough into a pension – 46%
The amount available through the state pension – 32%
I have debts to pay off (including mortgage) – 24%
Feeling that I still have a lot to offer at work – 21%
The level of enjoyment/satisfaction I get from my work – 20%
My employer wants to keep me on – 13%
Position of my partner – 13%
I have children who need financial support – 8%
I have elderly relatives who need financial support – 1%
Other – 10%
None of these – 3%
Don’t know – 2%

The Working Lives report also reveals a gap between employers’ and employees’ views on the impact of the pension freedoms, as the first anniversary of their introduction in April 2015 approaches. Over one in five (22%) employers think the freedoms could result in their employees having to work longer to make up for a shortfall in savings if they use part of their pension before retirement. At the same time, almost one in three (32%) employers are concerned they will lose valuable skills because people will retire earlier due to the freedoms.

However, these fears may be unfounded as the vast majority of employees aged 50 and above do not intend to alter their plans because of the pension reforms. Only 8% highlighted that the freedoms will result in them retiring earlier, contrasting with the concerns employers have around loss of skills. One in ten (11%) employees over the age of 50 now think they will retire at a later date because of pension freedoms, while 9% still remain unsure as to what the eventual impact of the freedoms will be upon their retirement plans. Seven in ten (71%) stated they have no plans to retire or that the pension freedoms have not affected their expected retirement date.

Aviva’s Working Lives report also questioned 500 private sector businesses of different sizes about a number of issues, including how prepared they are to deal with changing retirement patterns following the scrapping of the Default Retirement Age and the introduction of pension freedoms. The findings suggest the majority of businesses do not have plans in place, and that they are less prepared for staff retiring later (just 25% have plans for this) than they are for staff retiring earlier (29% have plans in place).

Even among large companies (250+ employees), less than half (42%) have plans in place should their employees retire later than expected, compared to 14% across both small and medium sized businesses. Likewise, only 48% of large businesses have plans to cope with staff starting to retire sooner than expected, compared to just 17% of medium sized businesses and only 15% of small businesses.

With many over-50s facing a later retirement than they hoped, the Working Lives report nevertheless found encouraging signs that levels of job satisfaction were highest among those aged over 65. A large majority (86%) of private sector workers in that age group said they enjoy their work, compared with just 57% of those aged 18-64. A similar proportion (85%) also said they get a sense of satisfaction from work, while 81% reported being valued by their employer – again, much higher than the younger age groups combined (57%). This backs up the suggestion that there are positive reasons for people wanting to stay on at work.

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Wealth? Fame? Working hard? New research reveals what really makes us happy.

It’s been 75 years in the making and the topic for countless philosophers to muse over, but a US study seems to have finally...

Wealth? Fame? Working hard? New research reveals what really makes us happy.

It’s been 75 years in the making and the topic for countless philosophers to muse over, but a US study seems to have finally uncovered the secret to happiness and health.

Speaking during a TED Talk, Harvard professor Robert Waldinger revealed that, though wealth and fame continue to be commonly cited desires amongst millennials (those born sometime from around the early 1980s to around the year 2000), the research he presides over has found only one consistent factor: positive relationships.

During the twelve minute talk, Waldinger says that the data he and his colleagues have gathered indicates that people who are well connected to family, friends and communities are happier, healthier and live longer than those who are less well connected. People who are more isolated than they want to be suffer from shorter lifespans, see their brain function decline faster and generally experience lower health and happiness levels.

Other links between happiness and relationship status have also been uncovered. Whilst positive relationships can have a majorly beneficial impact on us, the reverse is true of negative relationships. The data gathered suggests that an unhappy marriage, for example, can have a more pronounced negative impact on the parties involved than the corresponding divorce would create.

So, maybe it’s time to forget about your cholesterol levels, because Waldinger looked at those as well in the study’s sample group when they were age 50 and found little link between poor results and happiness and satisfaction when they were 80. Those who had positive relationships at age 50, however, were also the happiest and healthiest individuals when they became octogenarians.

The message, of course, applies to us all and in many ways, but is particularly interesting for us to consider when it comes to our financial health and wellbeing. Great finances, well looked after and planned, allow us to focus on the important things in life; on nurturing those great relationships between ourselves, our connections, our partners and children. Keep working towards positive relationships and we’ll keep your money working for you and those close to you. Here’s to a happy, healthy future!

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It’s not just the twenty-somethings that can have amazing travel experiences…

You’re actually better placed to get more from travelling once you’re over forty – here’s our view why. Do you ever...

It’s not just the twenty-somethings that can have amazing travel experiences…

You’re actually better placed to get more from travelling once you’re over forty – here’s our view why.

Do you ever feel envious of all those students in their twenties jet-setting off on a gap year to see the world? Well, the following factors reveal that you might in fact get more out of a gap year, gap month, ‘gap-however-long-you-can-spare’ when you’re that bit older.

Greater financial stability

First and foremost, you’ll probably be benefitting from greater financial stability. Travelling on a shoestring as a student can sound romantic but the appeal of cheap hostels and meals of bread and cheese on the beach can soon wear thin in reality. Later in life, you are more likely to be able to afford to travel better, which means you can improve the quality of your trips. Signing up for a specialist tour, for example, means you get to see the very best of a country with all the inside information. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a whole gap year but as you get older you may be in a position where you have more flexible working arrangements so that you can go away for longer, commitments permitting.

You know what you want

Later on in life you may have more clearly defined goals as to what you want to get out of your trip. There may be a destination you’ve always wanted to visit so you will not only have saved hard but planned your itinerary down to the last detail, rather than than the more scattergun approach of the younger traveller who is just travelling for the sake of it. As you know yourself and the world better, you understand what you’re looking for and the places you long to see, which can make for some really exciting planning.

Getting the most out of the trip

A large group of students, perhaps more focused on partying than sightseeing, can easily overlook the full wonder of the world’s amazing sights. The older traveller, however, has the benefit of experience to compare and contrast what they’re seeing with other places they’ve visited. Having devoted so much time to planning your trip, you’re therefore more likely to appreciate it fully once at your destination and create some real memories to treasure.

A social butterfly?

Although you may think your 20s are a particularly sociable time of life, people are often actually more at ease mixing with strangers later in life, once they feel under less pressure to impress and are more ‘comfortable’ in their own skin. Benefitting from more life experience, you can thoroughly enjoy finding out everything about your new environment and meeting like-minded people.

Given all the above, let’s start championing travel for the 40-somethings and beyond! Now where’s that suitcase… ?

 

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