Munro Partnership: Linda Gilbert

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For many business owners, the start of the new tax year is the beginning of a new business year. Year end tasks are closed off and plans made for the next 12 months.

When it comes to our own personal affairs, it is very similar – new savings allowances and tax reliefs become available and plans are made to take advantage of those perks.

It falls therefore that the first quarter of the new tax year is a good time for individuals to carry out some housekeeping, for example consider your income and expenditure in the same way as a business looks at cash flow, review savings arrangements to avoid stagnation and clear the clutter.

It may be easier for you to speak with an Adviser who can demonstrate or remind you why it makes sense to save your ISA allowance each year, or why using the business to make your pension contributions is an efficient means of remuneration. Non business owners can carry out similar savings through their employer pension scheme, taking advantage of contributions which would otherwise not be made. As much as Auto-enrollment and Workplace pensions will encourage us to save for the future, for many the nominal level of contributions will hardly keep pace with our cost of living come retirement.

Small changes can have a significant effect – increasing your savings by £100 each month, can make a big difference. Why bother, you may wonder?

Well, the aim is to give yourself a financial cushion for the future for when you need it most by planning ahead now. Those extra savings can be a valuable source of capital for holidays, alternatively use it to supplement other taxable income, perhaps allowing you to reduce your working week to be able to enjoy life’s pleasures a little earlier than planned.

Nowadays there are more user-friendly and efficient ways to organise your savings through the use of an investment platform. This is simply an online means of holding your pension and investments in one place making it much easier to administer and monitor your savings. Most of the documentation, statements and review material are held in a ‘document library’ within the website which avoids having to hold reams of paperwork. Online access is available 24/7 offering you visibility as and when it suits you.

Do you have old pension plans from previous employment? Consider consolidating these into one plan. Another task worth doing is to review any protection you have in place and consider whether it remains fit for purpose. Household and car insurance is reviewed each year, why do we not review our life and income protection plans every now and again, or at least when key events take place for example changing employer or the children no longer financially dependent. Protection policies are usually only relevant for a certain period in our lives or a particular purpose.

Another area worth remembering is to review your Will at intervals – does it still do what you want it to do? If you don’t have one in place, consider this as top of your to-do list. Power of Attorney is another inexpensive legal document which can save a lot of effort and heartache.
Little jobs which all lead to a much smoother journey.

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