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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Just what could you buy with the average UK pension pot?…

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Just what could you buy with the average UK pension pot?…

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Do you know your partner’s bank balance?

A recent study by Experian of over a thousand US couples has revealed that the majority of spouses had no real knowledge of their...

Do you know your partner’s bank balance?

A recent study by Experian of over a thousand US couples has revealed that the majority of spouses had no real knowledge of their other half’s finances until after they were married. Almost a third admitted to being surprised by what they learned from their partner’s bank statements once they saw them.

36% of respondents said they knew nothing about how their partner spent their money, one in three didn’t know the balance of their other half’s remaining student loan, and one in four didn’t know their partner’s annual income. These statistics become even more surprising when you consider that 92% of people surveyed stated that one of the most important things they look for in their husband or wife is ‘financial stability’.

Four in ten respondents admitted to not knowing their partner’s credit score before marrying them, with the same amount of people revealing they were stressed due to their husband or wife’s credit score before they tied the knot.

There was also a considerable disparity in the statistics for men and women, with men more likely to keep their finances hidden from their partner. 20% of men admitted to having secret financial accounts, a figure which drops to just 12% in women. Men also said they would spend up to $1,259 (around £877) without consulting their other half, whilst the average amongst women was just $383 (around £267).

Experian’s Director of Public Education, Rod Griffin, commented that the study suggested two main reasons for the differences between how open men and women are about their finances. Not only are women generally more inclined to disclose personal information to others, but men are also still earning, on average, a higher amount than women.

Couples who work together to manage their finances can be more successful at achieving financial stability, but in truth this shouldn’t be limited to your partner. Transparency with your immediate family across the generations, from your parents to your children, can increase the benefits of full and formal financial planning, with all parties able to gain access to long term views of their wealth.

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Which benefits do employees value the most?

We’re living in a world where employee benefits are perhaps more varied than ever before. Those who work at Google reportedly...

Which benefits do employees value the most?

We’re living in a world where employee benefits are perhaps more varied than ever before. Those who work at Google reportedly enjoy free childcare, massages and even napping areas at work, whilst employees at Dropbox are provided with a stir fry bar, yoga sessions and Razor scooters to allow them to move around the workplace more quickly. Netflix, meanwhile, is one of several US companies which apparently offers its workers an unlimited amount of paid holiday.

But, whilst these perks might make these sound like dream places to work, are these the kind of benefits that employees truly value? Recent research suggests that what most people want from their employer is in fact a lot more straightforward. Read on to find out the benefits with the highest value amongst employees, to help ensure that what you’re offering the people in your company is in line with what they actually desire.

  • Retirement plans – A recent survey found that over 90% of respondents rated a retirement plan as their most valued employee benefit.It’s perhaps unsurprising that most people rank the knowledge of a secure future higher than anything else. Offering a retirement plan that meets your employees’ needs and expectations is therefore particularly important.
  • Life insurance – Knowing that your family and those in your care will be looked after should the worst happen to you is something that offers considerable peace of mind. Life insurance is a clear and open way to offer that to your employees and it’s something that more and more benefits packages now include.
  • Paid leave – The most common form of employee benefit today, with around four in five benefits packages including some form of paid leave. Perhaps a perk that many take for granted because of this, the fact that offering paid leave helps workers achieve financial stability whilst allowing them to take time off for holidays or health reasons without worry still makes it a benefit that is highly valued.
  • Telecommuting – Being able to work from home whilst also being able to access work directly from a home computer has become increasingly valued in recent years. The plus points of being able to do this include saving time and money on transportation, as well as easing the strain of other concerns such as childcare. As the stock of telecommuting continues to rise with employees, it’s a perk that is being offered more and more commonly within benefits packages.
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What is pension salary sacrifice and can you still do it?

A recent report in the Financial Times discussed the changes to pensions tax relief that could be on the horizon, one of which is...

What is pension salary sacrifice and can you still do it?

A recent report in the Financial Times discussed the changes to pensions tax relief that could be on the horizon, one of which is the potential for pension salary sacrifice to be abolished by the government. But, unless you’re someone currently either offering or receiving salary sacrifice, it’s quite likely that you’re unaware of both what it is and why it might soon be axed.

The thinking behind salary sacrifice is fairly straightforward. An employee agrees to give up part of their salary and, in exchange, they receive some form of non-cash benefit. This often comes in the form of childcare vouchers or increased pension contributions, hence the reason why it’s regularly referred to as ‘pension salary sacrifice’.

An additional benefit is the tax break salary sacrifice can offer. As the figure an employee is paid becomes lower, they also pay less tax and National Insurance. Your employer will also benefit from not having to pay Employer’s National Insurance contributions on the sacrificed part of the employee’s salary. What the employer does with this saving is up to them, but many will choose to pass at least some of these on to the employee.

If it seems like a win-win situation all round so far, there are potential pitfalls to consider too. Those who choose a salary sacrifice are deemed to be earning less, which can impact upon other factors including mortgage applications and maternity pay. State Pension, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance are also areas that can be affected by earning less.

Life cover received through your employer may also be impacted if your salary decreases – whilst some employers ensure that cover isn’t affected by salary sacrifice, it’s always worth checking before making any decisions. It’s also worth remembering that the financial advantages can only be experienced if the benefits received from salary sacrifice are tax-free. These include childcare vouchers, pension contributions, company cars, work-related training and workplace parking.

Salary sacrifice continues to grow in popularity. However, as more employees take advantage of the scheme, the number of National Insurance payments the government receives from both those people and their employers goes down. As the amount of people entering salary sacrifice schemes goes up, getting rid of salary sacrifice is bound to look more and more like a good way for the government to save some money. At the moment, salary sacrifice is still available, but don’t be surprised if it disappears at some point in the future.

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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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