The Autumn Budget gives first-time home buyers more solid foundations

According to Mr Hammond, this means that 95% of first-time buyers will see their stamp duty cut, with 80% not paying any stamp duty at all. “This is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again,” Mr Hammond declared, although the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) remains a little less optimistic. They estimate that the change in law will only result in an additional 3500 first-time buyer purchases. The reduction has instantly come into force across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, although when stamp duty is devolved to Wales in April 2018 the Welsh government may decide not to continue with the change. Scotland has an independent system of land tax so is unaffected. The Chancellor also promised a big focus on housing, including an injection of £44bn in government support to boost supply. The government insists it is still on course to meet its target of building 300,000 new homes a year by 2025. The Chancellor also expressed hope for the homeless during his budget speech, stating the government will invest £28m in three new ‘Housing First’ pilots in the West Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool. He said that it is “unacceptable that in 21st century Britain there are people sleeping on the street” and that it “cannot be right” that so many properties are standing empty when “so many people are desperate for a place to live.” In a bid to tackle that problem, he stated that local authorities will now have the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties. Previously, they have only been able to charge home owners and landlords up to 50% extra council tax if their property has stood empty for two years or more. Where the state of the economy was concerned, the OBR had more disheartening news. It has downgraded its forecast for productivity growth to 1.5% in 2017 rather than the previously anticipated 2%, and GDP has been downgraded to 1.4% in 2018, 1.3% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020 before rising to 1.6% in 2021-22. The Chancellor’s other surprises included a tweaking of the controversial Universal Credit benefits system, although his pledge to spend £1.5bn to solve the beleaguered reform’s problems has met with a vociferous backlash from sceptics. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response was characteristically to the point: “I say to the Chancellor again, put this system on hold so it can be fixed and keep one million of our children out of poverty,” he said. In slightly more positive news, Mr Hammond did confirm a further increase in the National Living Wage. From April 2018 it will rise 4.4% from £7.50 an hour to £7.83, resulting in an extra £600 per annum for full-time workers. He also announced that the tax-free personal allowance will rise by £350 to £11,850 while the threshold for paying the 40 per cent tax rate will increase from £45,000 to £46,350, calculating that a basic rate tax payer would be £1,075 a year better off as a result of this initiative. However, analysts have countered that the increase in personal allowance is only in line with inflation, so the Chancellor’s move is “less generous than some may think”. The ongoing Brexit debacle also got a mention, with an additional £3bn being set aside to prepare the UK for every eventuality as we prepare to leave the European Union. Finally, the Chancellor confirmed that April will also see a 3% rise in the state pension, amounting to an extra £3.65 a week. This is, as usual, in line with inflation. The good news is that at Moyes we can look at your State and private pension funds and advise ways in which they can work best for you. We understand how fragile the national and global economic future can be, but our in-house Discretionary Management qualifications ensures we are ready to react to markets more rapidly. Call us on 01638 429975 or email [email protected] to discuss the optimal strategies that will make your money work harder for you.

The top 3 things every new investor must do in 2019

Financially speaking, how did 2018 work out for you? If you set yourself financial resolutions at the start of the year, did you manage to achieve them? If not, what went wrong? And, if you’re a new investor, what resolutions should you take to make your money work harder for you in 2019? The first few days of a new year aren’t just a time for reflection, they’re a perfect opportunity to get your monetary house in order and set your personal finances up for a more successful twelve months. So, while you’re making and breaking resolutions about eating more healthily, going to the gym more often and finally learning to play that guitar which has been gathering dust, here are some financial resolutions you should resolve to stick to in 2019.

Calculate your worth

If you’re going to set (and reach) a financial goal, you have to know where you’re starting from. That means having a complete warts-and-all picture of what your net worth is right now. Take a close look at your incoming and outgoing finances (current spending, saving, investments and pension plans etc.) to establish exactly what your assets and liabilities are. It might sound like an uncomfortable way to start the new year, especially after the ups and downs of 2018 and the expenses of Christmas time, but knowledge is power. What you discover will be a significant indicator of where you need to make changes in your spending and saving habits and how much money you’ll be able to invest in improving your financial future.

Check your ISA allocation

With all sorts of flashy products on the market, the humble ISA sometimes gets ignored, which is madness when you consider the tax-free benefits. In 2018/2019, the allocated investment limit for ISAs was £20,000, and in April 2019 we’ll discover if that amount will increase again. Whether you opt for a cash ISA or look into the stocks and shares or innovative fund products, it’s a good idea to use your allocation fully, if you can afford to, as you can’t carry it over. You can split your £20,000 investment across different ISAs if you prefer a bit of diversity. The main thing to remember is to invest what you can before the yearly deadline expires and you move into the next financial year’s allocation.

Make your pension work harder

If you’ve got a pension, or you are hoping to get one in 2019, you need to know about the tax relief potential. If you are a UK taxpayer, you can get pension tax relief on up to 100% of your earnings or a £40,000 annual allowance, depending on which is lower. It works like this: if you have a workplace pension or a private pension fund, you are entitled to tax relief on your contributions at the net pay stage, before income tax is deducted. That means that if you – as a basic rate taxpayer - contributed £80, your pension provider could claim the 20% of income tax back, so the amount added to your pension pot is £100. If you want to invest 100% of your earnings, if they are under £40,000, that’s no problem, but if you're going to use your allocated yearly amount of £40,000 because you earn more than that, you can do so. This strategy will help you build up a much healthier pension pot than just your contributions alone, so make sure that you are doing so.

These are just three areas to consider as you look to your 2019 financial plans. If you’d like some advice on other strategies, please get in touch with our expert team on 01638 429975 or [email protected].

Could you become an ISA Millionaire?

There’s a common misconception that ISAs (Individual Savings Account) are overly complicated, which may be the reason why many people either avoid using them or – according to recent research conducted by HM Revenue and Customs – only two-thirds of those earning more than £150,000 a year fill their annual ISA allowance. But, thanks to the £20,000 ISA limit that was introduced in April 2017, there’s never been a better time to use ISAs to your advantage. In fact, if you’re harbouring dreams of becoming a Millionaire, an ISA might get you there sooner than a lottery ticket, an unexpected windfall, or an ill-advised excursion to the casino.

What is an ISA?

Simply put, an ISA is a tax-free account for your savings or investments. ISAs were originally introduced in 1999 as a replacement for the share-focused Personal Equity Plan (Pep) and the cash-focused Tax Exempt Special Savings Account (Tessa). In the early days, ISAs offered a £7,000 allowance for stocks and shares, of which £3,000 could be used for cash. This allowance rose to above £10,000 in 2010 and then reached £20,000 in April 2017, which is where it stands today.

The £20,000 maximum for 2018/19 can be saved in a single ISA or across a mixture of ISAs, and there are a lot of different ISAs to choose from: cash ISA, stocks and shares ISA, innovative finance ISA, Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA. Note: there is a limit to how much you can put into all of them.

Defining an ISA Millionaire

The original ISA Millionaire was somebody who began saving or investing with Peps and Tessas back in the late 1980s/early 1990s and then, when ISAs were introduced, has continued to save or invest up to the current date. Each year they use their ISA allowance up to its limit and, thanks to a combination of dedicated saving habits, funding and growth, have managed to accrue investments reaching £1m.

John Lee, who became Britain’s first self-declared ISA Millionaire in 2003, achieved his fortune by investing his maximum annual allowance in smaller companies and then reinvesting the dividends. In interviews, he’s said his strategy is to avoid backing start-ups and, instead, go for established businesses. He also looks for both growth and capital preservation and limits the extent of falls by operating a twenty per cent stop-loss order.

According to Andrew Craig, author of How to Own the World, there are two ways to becoming an ISA Millionaire – either “slow and steady” or being aggressive but “extremely lucky”. In a 2016 article for Shares Magazine he suggested, “A good stock-market based fund in an investment ISA has a good chance of making a great deal higher return and doing so perfectly safely over eighteen years if you choose the right kind of fund and pay into it regularly each month or each year.”

Becoming an ISA Millionaire is more possible than ever

There are differing estimates on how many ISA Millionaires currently exist. Some commentators speculate it’s as few as 500 whereas others say it could be as many as 1000. Regardless of which is correct it’s very likely we’ll see many more ISA Millionaires in the future… and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be one of them.

Starting today, investing the complete £20,000 allowance each year and assuming a realistic growth (after charges) of seven per cent each year, it would currently take approximately twenty years for a single investor to become an ISA Millionaire. Likewise, a married couple investing their full £40,000 each year could potentially achieve ISA Millionairedom in a decade. Due to the dynamic nature of the financial markets this isn’t a guarantee that can be written in stone, but one thing is for certain – thanks to the increased value of the ISA allowance, the time needed to accumulate your first million (especially if you’re able to utilise your full ISA limit) has never been shorter. 

The key is to invest as much as you can afford, and to begin investing as soon as possible. Many investors make a last-minute dash to put money into their ISA before the end of the tax year so that they don’t lose their annual allowance, but if you make the most of your ISA allowance early in the tax year you’re giving your money an additional twelve months to ‘compound’ and build new investment returns on top of the investment returns you’ve already gained. For many people, placing a lump sum in their ISA at the beginning of the tax year is easier-said-than-done but, by establishing a monthly savings plan, it is possible to start investing early and make regular contributions into the ISA. Not only will this save you the stress of that nail-biting end-of-tax-year sprint, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the compound snowballing effect.

Even if you can’t afford to invest the full £20,000 allowance, ISAs can still go a long way towards helping you achieve your financial goals but there are a lot of options to choose from and the possibilities can seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced financial advisor who understands the complexities of the ISA marketplace and has the investment knowledge and expertise to make your goals a reality. At Moyes Investments we will guide you through the ISA jungle and work with you to build and manage a portfolio that could see you joining the ranks of ISA Millionaires quicker than you think. Forget the old adage ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’, we can help make your future financial security much less of a gamble.

To find out more, contact our friendly team of advisors on 01638 429975 or [email protected].


Choosing a financial advisor: What you should consider

Choosing a financial advisor can seem like a daunting prospect. In fact, many people avoid looking for a financial advisor because they don’t know what to expect and they’re worried they don’t have the knowledge to ask the advisor the right questions. But finding a financial advisor you can trust - someone who will save you money and help you grow the money you already have – is more than worth all the initial effort or discomfort. If you want your savings and investments to work for you in the most effective ways possible, you need an expert financial advisor at your side.

So, when you’re choosing a financial advisor, what are the details you should consider? What questions should you ask them? And what level of service should you anticipate in return?


There are two types of financial advisor – ‘Independent’ and ‘Restricted’.

Moyes Investments is an independent financial advisor (IFA), which means we offer a wide range of retail investment products and give our clients unbiased and unrestricted advice. Alternatively, a restricted advisor is limited by what they can offer so their clients may not get all the choices they need. For the purposes of the rest of this article, we’ll tell you what to expect from an IFA.

What do you want your financial advisor to do?

Before you sit down with a financial advisor, be clear about your objectives and know what you want your money to achieve. Do you have a pension you want your financial advisor to look at? Or do you have some cash in the bank you’d like to invest so it will give you a better return?

Once you’ve established your needs and expectations, the IFA can advise you about the best ‘tax wrapper’ (i.e. tax breaks, like an ISA or a pension) to shelter your investment. When you’ve agreed the tax wrapper (which is where most, if not all, IFA’s are the same) it’s time to find out what kind of service the IFA offers.

Remember, not all IFA’s are created equal. You don’t only need to find an IFA you can gel with, you need to know how often your investments will be checked and what you’ll be paying for them.

How often will the IFA check your investments?

Annual Review

Some advisors will visit their client (or the client will visit the advisor) once a year to look over their investments. An annual check can be questionable because sometimes the advisor can be so busy they forget to set up the review and, in turn, the client can be so busy they forget to chase them (or incorrectly assume that if the review hasn’t happened it must mean everything is okay.) The result? Investments that are unchecked could subsequently underperform without you knowing about it and then the capital you’ve put in could reduce, leaving you with a loss.

Losses and gains will always occur – that’s part of the ups and downs of the market – but leaving the investments unchecked just makes a poor outcome more likely.

Managed Portfolios

A managed portfolio works better than an annual check because it’s an automated process that groups tens or hundreds of clients together according to their investment risk. If the investments are not performing, all those clients will be contacted individually and asked for permission to move their money. This is much more reactive than an annual check because it can be automated for multiple times per year (normally quarterly.) However, if the IFA has a lot of clients to notify it can take anywhere between several days to several weeks to receive their permissions and make the necessary changes. This isn’t ideal, especially considering the volatility of the current market.

Discretionary Fund Management

This is seen as a very attractive option by those who use it. Discretionary Fund Management permits the movement of clients’ money much more quickly without having to seek the client’s permission first. It’s the most agile kind of financial management because it means the IFA can take immediate advantage of changes within the marketplace, instantly maximising opportunities on their client’s behalf. The client not only has peace of mind that their investments are being monitored, managed and adjusted whenever necessary, they are always informed of the IFA’s actions immediately after the action has been taken. The IFA obviously takes a substantial amount of time to analyse and select new funds but this is within their own control and never intrudes upon the client.

Discretionary Fund Management is a service only a small number of IFA’s currently offer because the qualifications and permissions required to launch a Discretionary Fund Management programme are incredibly demanding and take approximately three years to achieve. As of October 2018, there are only around 400 out of 10,000 firms with discretionary capability in the UK.

The good news is, Moyes is one of them. Our DFM status gives us far greater capability to take advantage of changes in the marketplace on behalf of our clients, and that’s a significant benefit most of our competitors can’t offer.

Once you’ve established the kind of service and attention you require, it’s time to ask this question:

How much does the Financial Advisor charge?

A financial advisor must tell you how much they charge before they take you on as a client. That’s one of the rules all advisors (independent and restricted) must adhere to.

Naturally, the fees you’ll incur depend upon the level of service you’re looking for. You should also remember that some costs involved with investments are mandatory and without them you wouldn’t have the investment, whereas other costs are a choice. The mandatory costs are for a provider and the investment itself.

Provider (Mandatory) - As far as providers are concerned, there can be anywhere between twenty or thirty providers to choose from depending upon what you want your IFA to do. The provider’s role is to hold your money NOT GIVE ADVICE. Your IFA will be looking for service and functionality in making this decision.

Investment (Mandatory) – To some degree this is what you are paying your advisor for and they will explain the investment to you.  There is a cost involved here depending upon what investment you choose.

Advisor (Choice) – Once you have paid for the initial advice to put the work together the ongoing management will normally measure in percentages according to the service choices you’ve made.

Discretionary Management (Choice) - These are also normally measured in percentages

Several factors could affect how much an advisor charges, and some IFA’s might charge by the hour whereas others might charge a fixed fee or a percentage of the value of your investment pot. The IFA will be able to explain all this to you at your initial meeting and they must give you a copy of their charging structure before providing any services.

Make sure the relationship works for you

The initial meeting is important, because it gives both the client and the IFA an opportunity to find out how comfortable they are with each other. Does the IFA provide the services you’re looking for? Do their qualifications satisfy you? Do you trust their judgement, and are you reassured they’ll look after your investments and your portfolio as professionally, expertly and astutely as possible?

At Moyes, we pride ourselves on our high standard of client care. We never forget the trust and responsibility our clients place in us, and the duty we have to keep their investments as secure as possible. No IFA can guarantee the future but we do everything we can to minimise our client’s risk and maximise their return, holding their hand every step of the way. And, when our clients need us, we are always here to help. Whichever financial advisor you choose, be as sure as possible they can do the same for you.

If you’re looking for a financial advisor, or if you’d like to discuss the many ways we could help make your financial future brighter, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01638 429975 or [email protected].


The Danger of Relying Upon the State Pension

A major new survey carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority has delivered some worrying news – that at least 31% of UK adults have made no private provision for their retirement, believing instead they can rely upon the State Pension to support them in later life. It’s a decision which could pose serious problems for them when the time for retirement eventually arrives, and if you don’t have a pension plan – even if your retirement is only a few years away – we’d seriously recommend correcting that oversight as quickly as possible. We also recommend that you take advice first, as factors like how far away you are from retirement and how much you afford to invest will need to be taken into consideration. Even if you can’t invest heavily, having a private pension plan is now more important than ever. Times have changed It goes without saying that, when the Liberal government introduced the first State Pension back in 1908, the world was a very different place. David Lloyd George’s Old Age Pension Act was just one of a number of anti-poverty reforms spearheaded by the then-Chancellor, and it enabled half a million eligible people above the age of 70 to receive a weekly income of 5 shillings per week (7s 6d for married couples.) Forty years later, as Britain was still rebuilding itself after the Second World War, the National Insurance Act introduced a contributory State Pension for everyone, payable from the age of 65 for men and 60 for women. And, with occasional significant variations (including the introduction of the Graduated Pension Scheme in 1959, later replaced by the State-Earnings related Pension Scheme (SERPS) in 19751), the state pension has continued to be something UK citizens have always believed will be there. But even in 1980, when the link between average earnings and the State Pension was removed by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, there were signs that big changes were on the way. The State Pension is becoming increasingly unstable In 2013, 50 economists surveyed by the Intergenerational Foundation raised doubts about the affordability of the basic State Pension. Moreover, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that the UK’s total pension liability rose to £7.6tn between 2010 and 2015 with only one-third of that pay-out actually in the bank. This means that the majority of the UK’s pension liability is unfunded, resting on a blind assurance that the government will have enough money to cover its pensions commitments in the future.2 Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has weighed in with the warning that, in the decades ahead, traditional State Pensions are unlikely to exist in their current form. Their advice? To pour money into pensions or risk a poor old age. How about one last thing to think about? The UK’s State Pension provisions have already been labelled amongst ‘the worst in the developed world’ after a 2015 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that only people in Mexico and Chile can expect a worse retirement pay-out. So why aren’t more people investing in private pensions? According to the Financial Conduct Authority’s survey, there are several reasons. People aged over 50 who are not currently contributing to a pension believed it was too late to set up a pension, while others claimed they were unable to afford it and a smaller number said they would be relying on their partner’s pension instead. The survey also highlighted that many people find pensions too confusing to understand and have no clear idea what they will need to live on once they retire. Unfortunately, burying their heads in the sand won’t make the problem go away. People are living much longer now. Without a private pension plan, their retirement could become several decades of hardship and poverty at a time when they should be relaxing and enjoying the fruits of their labours. Start saving into a private pension now It doesn’t matter how old you are – whether you can see retirement on the horizon or whether you’re a millennial with many years ahead of you to build an extremely healthy pension pot – the sooner you set up your private pension the sooner your money can benefit from compound interest and the growth in the value of investments covered by your pension plan. If you keep delaying your decision, you’ll probably have to make significantly higher contributions to achieve a reasonable standard of living when your retirement comes around. You don’t have to invest a lot Obviously the more you’re able to invest the better, but even small contributions can help increase your pension pot and you’ll get tax relief on them as well. Currently, if a basic-rate tax payer contributes £800 into their private pension, the HMRC will add a further £200 to the pot. Coupled with a workplace pension (and if you’re not yet a member of your workplace pension scheme you should be: that could steadily accumulate to help make your retirement years a lot more secure. Self-employed workers shouldn’t ignore the warning signs either. The beauty of being self-employed means you can be your own boss, which is a great excuse for leaving things you don’t want to think about (like your pension plans) for another day. But, if you don’t start contributing to a private pension now, that ‘another day’ might eventually come too late. Of the almost 5 million people in the UK who are currently self-employed, 45% aged between 35 and 55 have no private pension. If you’re among them, we advise you to get to grips with your pension arrangements as quickly as you can. In fact, that advice goes for everybody. Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, a part-time worker or a business owner, it is time to stop relying on the expectation of a State Pension and start saving for your private pension right away. At Moyes Investments, our friendly team will tell you everything you need to know about saving towards a healthy retirement. We will help you to make an informed decision about your future and work with you to make your future goals and financial security a reality. Contact us today on 01638 429975 or [email protected]. We’re looking forward to advising you.   1 2 3 4

Can you take a regular income from your investments?

While many funds offer a higher return if they are left alone, it is possible to realise both good returns on your savings while also drawing a regular income from your investments. We’re frequently asked how Moyes Investments can help our clients achieve this, so we thought we’d share some insights with you… The concept of investment income For many people who have been used to receiving a salary while they were in employment, the idea of receiving an income from their investments and not having to lift a finger to earn it takes some getting used to. There’s still a common belief that investments only accumulate rewards if they’re left untouched over the long term, and that they don’t have the flexibility to be used for a monthly income. But the word ‘investing’ can mean many different things. It doesn’t have to be all about stashing your money away, it can also be about using your money to generate a living income. With careful planning and expert advice, your investment portfolio can give you the best of both worlds. Assess your income needs Do you want your investments to give you a monthly amount – maybe to supplement your pension – or would you rather receive dividend payouts at various times in the year? As far as a monthly injection is concerned, one option would be to buy a selection of high-yield generating funds and then have the dividends paid into a holding account that you could access every month. Alternatively, if you built a portfolio of income-paying funds that make their dividend payouts at different points in the year, you could spread your money across a wide range of diversified assets. The biggest drawback to this approach is that it doesn’t guarantee you the same income every time. A third strategy is to choose funds that offer good long-term returns rather than too high a yield. You’ll need to plan this carefully so that your funds will have the best chance of making a profit and you won’t be forced to sell them at a loss, but with a little bit of extra forethought this strategy is a useful way of supplementing your income by selling units over time. The reduction in dividend allowance Prior to April 2018, investors could earn up to £5,000 in dividend income tax-free, but this figure was reduced to £2,000 for the 2018-2019 tax year. Basic rate taxpayers pay 7.5% tax on dividend income above this allowance, while higher rate tax payers pay 32.5% and additional rate taxpayers pay 38.1%. However, dividends on investments held in Isa accounts are tax free. It’s interesting to note that the government’s independent tax adviser the Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) has suggested abolishing the dividend tax allowance to make the UK tax system easier to navigate and has also called for an end to the rule forbidding people to take out only one of each type of Isa in a year. That final recommendation, if implemented, could be especially beneficial to savers because it will potentially make tax-free saving much easier and more flexible1. For those investors who want to sell their investments to raise cash, the tax-free Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance for individuals increased to £11,700 in April 2018 and £5,850 for trusts. Beyond that threshold, lower rate taxpayers selling investments will continue to pay 10% CGT, with higher and additional rate taxpayers paying 20%.   How Moyes structures income generated from investments At Moyes Investments, we structure income at 4% (i.e. £4k income on £100k invested) across pensions and Isa’s because they are both grown tax-free inside. Investment Bonds are a little more complicated because the plan is taxed at 20% CGT, although we still work on an income of 4%.   We report quarterly to all our clients on the performance of their respective funds.  In addition because we’re extremely mindful of the capital base, we also check that this remains sufficient to supporting the income being taken.   Not every financial management company does this, but at Moyes we consider our client’s financial wellbeing our number one priority so we never take anything for granted. It’s all part of the exemplary personal customer service we’re renowned for. The important thing to remember is that taking a regular income from your investments doesn’t have to be an overly risky or convoluted process, so long as you’re receiving up-to-date expert advice from a financial adviser you can trust. At Moyes Investments, we’ll always present you with the best and most suitable options available and ensure you have all the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision. After that, we will work with you to build and manage a portfolio that will give you the greatest chance of making your financial goals a reality. Contact us today on 01638 429975 or [email protected]. Our friendly team are always here to help.   1:  

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