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News

19 December 2018 Financial advice

Christmas is a time for giving, but for many farming families with the prospect of reduced subsidies and much uncertainty ahead, the idea of an expensive festive period can cause concern. However, the end of the year can also be a good time to review your overall finances, re-evaluate your estate and, and if they have not already been used, a useful way to use your annual allowances to reduce your estate for inheritance tax purposes. Gifts of money are usually very well received, but it is important to understand the inheritance tax implications in the long run, especially if a large retrospective tax bill could upset the apple cart and put the future continuation of the farm into jeopardy. But if you are in a fortunate position, lifetime giving can be a tax efficient way…
20 October 2017 Financial advice

What do the last few months of the year have in store for investors? 2017 has so far been interesting, to say the least. We have all become much better at expecting the unexpected; experience has certainly taught us that. Many investors are getting used to a variety of political, financial and economic factors and hopefully learning to look through the 'noise' to focus on what really matters. What we do know is that market volatility will continue and areas of value exist, which makes asset allocation a key tool when planning your portfolio. A HEALTHY INVESTOR APPETITE Investors started the year confidently as the 'Trump reflation rally' continued from the tail end of 2016. Although fading a little more recently, global equity markets hit all-time highs in the summer with over $10 trillion added…
17 October 2017 Financial advice

The average household in Britain is currently enduring the lengthiest dip in disposable income for six years. Cash-strapped consumers are struggling with the combination of lacklustre growth in their wages, which is providing modest support to disposable incomes, and inflation, which is taking its toll on the pound in their pocket as the cost of everyday items increase. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed real household disposable income fell by 1.1% per head in the second quarter of 2017, meaning disposable incomes have declined for four consecutive quarters, marking the longest period of negative growth since the tail end of 2011. The data from the ONS coincides with a study1 disclosing that for the first time in two years, households said they thought their personal financial situation had deteriorated. This perception will…
25 July 2017 Financial advice

The amount of revenue that the government raises from inheritance tax (IHT) continues to rise year by year. In 2016-17, the figure rose again to over £4.9bn1, with experts expecting it to be even higher in this financial year. Controversially, the threshold at which IHT applies has been stuck at £325,000 since 2009. Over the same time, house prices have mainly continued to rise, meaning that more families than ever have found themselves drawn into the IHT net. Help has come in the form of the family home allowance that reduces the amount of IHT payable on a main residence being left to defined direct descendants. Referred to as the 'main residence nil rate band', it is being introduced in stages over four years, with a limit of £100,000 applying from April 2017, rising each…
15 November 2016 Financial advice

If you're looking to get a better return from your money than you can from your bank account, then the time might be right to think about investing for the future. Before you begin, here are some golden rules to consider. HOLD SOME CASH You'll need to have ready access to a cash fund to cover everyday living expenses and unforeseen expenditure. Obviously, there's no point rushing into investment if you've got substantial debts or if you know you're going to have to make major financial commitments that will take up all your spare cash. A vital part of your financial planning must be providing adequately for retirement, not least because of the tax breaks available on pension contributions. DEFINE YOUR GOALS You need to be clear why you're investing and what your goals are…
15 October 2016 Financial advice

From the beginning of the 2017/18 tax year the amount that individuals are able to save into ISAs will increase from £15,240.00 to £20,000.00, an increase that was originally mentioned by George Osborne in the March 2016 Budget as a way "to further help savers at a time of unprecedentedly low interest rates". With interest rates so low what is the benefit of saving money into an ISA? Put simply, if you have to give less money to the taxman then you have more money to do with what you want, an ISA is one of the simplest ways to do this. In the current climate it is more important than ever for you to be able to benefit from any growth that your savings make. In addition to their tax free status, cash ISAs also…
15 March 2016 Financial advice

A New Year brings a fresh mindset - an opportunity to take stock and re-focus for the year ahead, in both our personal and financial lives. The year starts with the Winter Olympics in South Korea and in February we enter the Chinese New Year of the dog, symbolising loyalty and honesty. With a royal wedding and Commonwealth Games in the springtime - anticipation hangs in the air, before the World Cup in Russia kicks off in June - exciting times ahead. TAKE STOCK It's also a time for reflection. Geopolitical and economic uncertainties have become consistent features that will not dissipate overnight, as Brexit negotiations continue. Despite uncertainty being the order of the day over the past year, all major stock markets have generated healthy positive returns. The performance of the UK stock market…
15 May 2015 Financial advice

Although often in the news, inheritance tax is still not widely understood. That's worrying, because it affects thousands of families every year. If you thought inheritance tax was just for extremely wealthy people to worry about, think again. Rising property prices and increasing stock market values have meant more estates than ever are likely to face an inheritance tax bill. In fact according to the Office for National Statistics, the amount of inheritance tax collected has doubled over the last five years, and the number of estates paying inheritance tax has nearly tripled over the same period. Acknowledging the inheritance tax problem faced by large numbers of homeowners, the Government has introduced an additional inheritance tax allowance of up to £175,000 in April 2017 to apply to the family home in certain circumstances. However, even with…
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