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Pearls of wisdom for mortgage buyers

Spring is the time that most people look to buy/sell their house, it’s the time to make sure you are mortgage ready.

Independent Mortgage advisor and Financial Advisor, Jon Nield from Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning in South Manchester has compiled a step by step guide for mortgage seekers.

He comments ‘Our customers tell us that it’s never been harder to land a mortgage. People are being turned away, not because they have difficult or unusual financial circumstances but because of a lack of prior planning. This doesn’t just apply to first time buyers, it’s also relevant to subsequent applications too. Don’t assume that it’s plain sailing; it’s still a stringent process.’

To combat this Jon has listed a few pointers to help buyers prepare to get that mortgage:

  • Get saving; the obvious starting point for first time buyers. There are some worthwhile government funded schemes available such as Lifetime ISA (Individual savings account) and the Help to Buy scheme which has been extended to 2020. It was originally intended to run until December 2016.
  • Get your paperwork in order; most providers want payslips and bank statements up to three months, some ask for six.
  • Consider your outgoings; providers are allowed full access into your bank accounts (not credit cards) and commitments such as golf, football season tickets, indulging in monthly pampering sessions are taken into consideration. The past 18 months are generally tracked.
  • Register to vote; Lenders will use electoral roll details to confirm names, address, previous addresses. It usually must be up to date before they are willing to offer a mortgage.
  • If you have loans, credit cards to pay off ensure you set up direct debits to show you can handle your money. You won’t be turned down for having a credit card, only if you are not managing it.
  • Sometimes a change of job could jeopardise your chances due to the probation period. You therefore might need to consider timing of this.

Jon continues, ‘It is still possible to get a mortgage. Don’t get disheartened by the media surrounding interest rates and lack of availability as there are still good deals out there. Being prepared will give you a greater chance of getting the right mortgage within your means with the best terms for your lifestyle.’

If you would like to discuss this further with Jon please do not hesitate to contact Jon Nield or Kath Arnold on 0161 495 4700, or email jonnield@cnfp.co.uk or kathrynarnold@cnfp.co.uk to make a free no obligation appointment.

Important information

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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Stockport ‘skills swap’ set to boost region’s physical and financial fitness

Stockport ‘skills swap’ set to boost region’s physical and financial fitness

Businesses across the region are to be given an opportunity to enhance their staff’s physical and financial well-being, thanks to a successful ‘skills swap’ between two Stockport organisations.

Life Leisure, which manages sport and leisure facilities in and around Stockport, has teamed up with Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning, to exchange respective in-house expertise in order to jointly develop well-being workshops around improving personal health and wealth.

The workshops will be offered free of charge to businesses in Stockport and South Manchester as a way to boost productivity and positivity among their employees and invest in their workplace well-being.

Sessions will be tailored according to each specific organisation’s needs but options will include health assessments, nutrition talks, and advice on posture and staying active in the workplace. The financial planning element of the day can cover areas ranging from the financial life cycle, saving for your family’s future, financial planning and work life balance, protecting your family, through to home buying, inheritance and wills.

Life Leisure’s Head of Marketing Laura Mylotte said: “Employee well-being is so important and something we are hugely passionate about at Life Leisure. As well as making sure individuals are happier and healthier it also has tangible business benefits in terms of productivity. It’s a win, win. Which is exactly why looking at a new initiative with Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning really appealed.

“At first, we were simply planning a straight skills swap between our organisations, with us giving Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning free advice on health and well-being and their advisors spending time with our employees to explain different financial planning techniques, stages and objectives. We then realised that the two elements combined could become a powerful resource other businesses could benefit from.”

Based on the reactions of their own members of staff, the two businesses are confident the session will go down well with workforces across the region.

Managing Partner Andrew Baggott from Clarke Nicklin group said: “We are delighted to be able to combine forces with Life Leisure to provide these workshops to the regions businesses, and provide support and advice in areas which will have very significant long-term benefits to the individuals, and as a consequence the businesses they work for. We are very aware that many individuals don’t obtain or have access to good financial advice, and so it is great to be involved in something which means that we can reach a wide range of people and give advice that will help them and their families, which in turn all contributes to their overall well-being by helping them plan a key part of their lives.”

Businesses interested in booking a free health and wellbeing workshop should email laura.mylotte@lifeleisure.net or julietunstall@cnfp.co.uk

Don’t miss the ISA deadline for tax-efficient investing

Each tax year, we are each given an annual Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance. The deadline to add to the account is midnight, Thursday 5 April 2018 and it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ allowance. If you don’t use all or part of it in one tax year, you cannot carry that allowance over to the next year.

The ISA limit for 2017/18 is £20,000 which is remaining the same for 2018/19.

Tax Efficient Savings – Income and growth within an ISA are completely tax free. Any withdrawals from the ISA are also tax free.

Support Your Retirement Plans or Future Objectives – Building up an ISA portfolio can be a very effective addition to your future retirement pot, or to provide a sum of money to support other future financial plans. To support other retirement income, regular withdrawals can be made from ISA’s to provide additional income tax free.

Types of ISAs and allowances

Cash ISA – Anyone over the age of 16 can put their cash savings into a Cash ISA. Accounts can be either instant access, have notice periods or have fixed terms.

Stocks & Shares ISA – Anyone over the age of 18 can put individual shares or managed funds into a Stocks & Shares ISA.

Innovative Finance ISA – This ISA is for investments in peer-to-peer lending platforms. You must be over the age of 18 to invest.

Help to Buy ISA – To help first-time buyers over the age of 18 get on the property ladder. You can start with a lump sum deposit of up to £1,200, then save up to £200 a month. For every £200 you save, the Government will add 25% up to a maximum bonus of £3,000. It’s available per buyer, not household, so if you are saving with a partner, the bonus potential is up to £6,000 towards your house deposit.

Lifetime ISA – Designed for your first home or retirement, it allows you to save up to £4,000 annually to receive a 25% government bonus. You are only allowed to invest into a LISA between the age of 18-39. You must buy a home for £450,000 or less, or to withdraw the cash for retirement you must be 60 plus.

Junior ISA – Cash or investments can be wrapped in this ISA on behalf of children under the age of 18. The Junior ISA has an annual allowance of £4,128 increasing to £4,260 in 2018/19.

ISAs are becoming an integral part of financial planning. However, it is important to remember that an ISA is just a way of sheltering your money from tax. It’s not an investment in its own right although they offer a unique range of benefits.

Whatever your age or personal situation, it is vital to consider your saving strategy as early as possible, and reassess regularly on an ongoing basis. Any savings plan needs to be specific to personal circumstances and objectives, and needs linking to all aspects of your personal finances.

At Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning, we will always assess each clients’ circumstances in detail to arrive at a savings strategy that meets personal objectives. For every client, we will review and revise this with you on an ongoing basis as circumstances and objectives evolve due to your personal and family circumstances changing.

If you wish to discuss this further with one of our advisors please do not hesitate to call Kath Arnold on 0161 495 4700 or email kathrynarnold@cnfp.co.uk.

Important information

Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change.

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

Auto enrolment increase – 6 April 2018

On 6th April 2018 both employer and employee regulatory increases will be applied to all pension schemes for auto enrolment, with further increases to be made in April 2019.

It is the employers obligation to inform employees of this increase as they will be automatically applied by your pension provider.

The amount that you and your staff pay into your pension scheme will vary depending on the type of scheme you have chosen and the rules of that scheme, for example if you have opted for a basic salary scheme the contributions differ.

Most employers use the schemes that currently require a total minimum of 2% contribution to be paid. The scheme contributions are calculated on a range of qualifying earnings between the proposed lower limit of £6,032 and upper limit of £46,350 (2018/19 tax year).

 

Date

Employer minimum contribution  Employee contribution Total minimum contribution
Up to 5 April 2018 1% 1% 2%
6 April 2018 2% 3% 5%
6 April 2019 3% 5% 8%

 

You do not need to take any further action if you don’t have any staff in a pension scheme for automatic enrolment or you are already paying above the increased minimum amounts.

If any of your employees do not want to increase their contribution they must opt out of the scheme by April 5, 2018. As an employer though you cannot be seen to be offering advice on this, you need to remain impartial.

Clarke Nicklin’s IFAs have achieved the ‘Certificate in Pensions Automatic Enrolment’ designed to specifically meet the needs of those advising on, or implementing the requirements of Auto Enrolment. We will always assess each clients’ circumstances in detail to arrive at the best scheme for both employers and staff on an ongoing basis as circumstances and objectives of the company evolve.

If you wish to discuss this further with one of our advisors please do not hesitate to call Kath Arnold on 0161 495 4700 or email kathrynarnold@cnfp.co.uk who will make an appointment on their behalf.

Differing generations – Are you a stereotypical saver?

There are many differing statistics around attitudes to saving and investing, suggesting as we mature our focus and mind set will shift.

According to statistics*, Millennials (age 21-34) focus on working in a fulfilling career and making money, whilst as we move into Generation X (age 35-49) we focus more on health, keeping fit and family time.

Across generations, a common theme is the feeling that they are not saving enough. Only one third of Generation Z (age 15-20) and Millennials feel they are saving enough for their financial future, but about half are not confident in their saving strategies. Half of Generation X respondents, and about four in ten Baby Boomers (age 50-72) and the Silent Generation (age 73 upwards) respondents are saving some money, but are not confident in their financial futures.

Whatever your age or personal situation, it is vital to consider your saving strategy as early as possible, and reassess regularly on an ongoing basis. Any savings plan needs to be specific to personal circumstances and objectives, and needs linking to all aspects of your personal finances.

At Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning, we will always assess each clients’ circumstances in detail to arrive at a savings strategy that meets personal objectives. For every client, we will review and revise this with you on an ongoing basis as circumstances and objectives evolve due to your personal and family circumstances changing.
If you wish to discuss this further with one of our advisors please do not hesitate to call Kath Arnold on 0161 495 4700 or email kathrynarnold@cnfp.co.uk.

Important information

The value of investments and income from them may go down. you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

*The Neilsen generational lifestyle survey 2015 an online survey of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries. Neilsen is a leading global information & measurement company.

 

Turning financial visions into reality – Investment planning

No two people are alike with each of us having a unique set of objectives. A professional adviser’s starting point is always to take the time to truly understand goals and aspirations and to turn visions into reality to create sustainable solutions.

Whether it be accumulated wealth after many years in a successful career, from the sale of a business or receiving a substantial inheritance. Whatever the origins, there are options for even greater growth opportunities.

Individuals have specific goals that reflect their risk tolerance, time horizon or asset class preferences. When it comes to building an investment portfolio, there are many types of investment to consider depending on your evolving circumstances.

Through regular reviews a good advisor will keep you frequently informed of your affairs and offer continual advice accordingly.

It’s down to each investor to be comfortable with the perfect balance for them, and this will vary depending on how much you have to invest, what stage of life you’ve reached and what you’re trying to achieve.

Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning provide tailored professional advice and solutions designed around you and your family to enable you to build a goal-based financial plan that reflects what’s most important to you.

The value of investments and income from them may go down. you may not get back the original amount invested.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The importance of personal protection

Life cover, mortgage protection and health insurance, income protection….do you have it and why is it important?

Many of us don’t like to think about covering living expenses if we die or are unable to work through long term sickness. However, the people that you love the most would be affected the greatest financially if something happened to you and suitable protection was not in place.

If you have family or dependents who rely on your salary, it’s vital not only to have a policy in place but to have a policy that gives you the correct cover. There are a variety of policies available to suit you and your personal and family circumstances, ranging from those which purely pay off debts to providing an ongoing income, with a variety of circumstances protected by different products and different policies.

As Independent Financial Advisors and being experts in the field, Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning will assess the most appropriate policy and type of cover for your needs by getting to know in detail you and your circumstances, and will offer best advice on choices available as well as finding the best rates available for the protection you need.

Tough new measures on Pension cold calling

New tough measures that have recently been announced by the Government have been commended by Independent Financial Planning firm Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning.

The new measures, which will mean cold calling to sell pensions (including emails and texts) will be banned, are being enforced to protect pension savers from unscrupulous operators. No date has been set as yet for this to come into force. Companies will face heavy fines if they contact savers who either do not give prior permission or whom have no existing relationship with them.

Scott Herbert, Partner and IFA comments ‘This is another step in the right direction towards protecting consumers from unprincipled companies. This follows on from the banning of mortgage cold calls a few years ago. As a firm we pride ourselves that the vast majority of our new clients comes from referrals from existing clients who are very happy with the advice they have received and how they have been looked after, and therefore are very pleased to refer us to friends, family and colleagues.’

Mortgage switching inertia – many losing hard cash as a result

Once mortgage borrowers come to the end of their fixed discounted rate, they could see themselves paying a hefty price as they are automatically moved onto the lenders Standard Variable Rate (SVR).

Recent industry assessments suggest that the SVR charged by the big six lenders who account for 69% of the market collectively was around 2.5% higher than the cheapest fixed rate. *

Inertia and lack of awareness tend to be the main factor preventing borrowers from re-mortgaging to a new deal.

Reviewing options is time and effort well spent, though. Around 2 million borrowers who are eligible to re-mortgage to a new deal could save a vast amount of money. Industry assessments suggest timely re-mortgaging could save over £3,000 a year comparable to a fixed rate.

Take action now, check when your fixed rate is due to end and make a note when to action it.

A good mortgage advisor will help you through the process, and ensure you are advised on your most suitable options.

At Clarke Nicklin Financial Planning our focus is ensuring we provide a proactive, tailored service to our clients to ensure you are aware of your options and able to make the right decisions at the right time.  We fully assess needs, objectives and affordability over the short, medium and long term, and as part of our relationship we ensure our advice is tailored as needs change.

Important information

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

* Source Trussle Mortgage saver review May 2017

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