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7 important things you may overlook when you’re moving home

It’s often said that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences. So, it’s natural that some of the tasks you should tick off slip your mind.

According to a study covered in Metro, more than half of homebuyers say the process is even more stressful than they thought it was going to be. From worrying about a sale falling through to becoming stressed about the amount of admin required, there’s a lot that can make moving home taxing.

If you’ll be one of the thousands of families that will move this year, completing these seven tasks can make it that bit easier and help you to settle into your new home.

1. Update your GP and dentist details

While switching your details with utility providers is often a priority, doing the same for your medical practice and dentist can slip your mind. You may not realise it’s a step that’s been overlooked until you need to use a service, which can delay getting an appointment.

If you’ll be staying with the same provider, make sure your details, including address and phone number, are up to date. If you’ll be switching to a GP or dentist closer to your new home, register as soon as you can.

2. Review your insurance

If you’ll be taking out a mortgage to buy your home, it’s often a requirement that you take out adequate building insurance.

You will normally need to have insurance in place before the property transfers to you. In addition, contents insurance can provide you with peace of mind.

When buying a new home, you’ll often be taking on more financial responsibility. So, assessing if income protection, critical illness cover, or life insurance is right for you is also an important task.

Insurance policies can provide you or your family with financial security if something unexpected, such as needing to take time off work due to an illness, happens. We can help you with your financial protection needs and answer any questions you may have.

3. Set up a mail redirection

It’s easy to miss some accounts when you’re updating your address. Having your mail redirected when you first move can make sure you don’t miss important letters and serve as a reminder to update your details.

Royal Mail offers a redirection service that lasts for 3, 6 or 12 months so you don’t need to worry about missing mail.

It can also reduce the risk of fraud by helping to prevent your personal details from being seen by others. There is a cost to using the service, but it can be well worth it.

4. Take meter readings

To make sure that your utility bills are accurate and that you don’t overpay, taking meter readings before you leave your old home is essential.

Note down and submit readings for gas, electric, and water so that your final bill reflects your use. Taking a photo of the meters can also be useful in case there is any discrepancy.

Once you’ve received the keys to your new home, do the same to avoid paying for some of the last owner’s usage. 

5. Update your driving licence

While updating your address for bills and other services, don’t forget about your vehicle and driver’s licence.

You can change the address on your driver’s licence for free online or by post. It’s easy to overlook but you could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t notify DVLA of an address change.

You should also update the details on your vehicle registration certificate and tell your car insurer that you’ve moved.

6. Change your details on the electoral roll

Amid moving house, updating your details on the electoral roll can be missed until an election is around the corner, but it’s something you should do straight away.

You’ll need to register to vote when you change your address, even if you’re already registered at a different property. You can do this online or using a paper form.

Registering on the electoral roll can also improve your credit score, which can make borrowing more accessible and affordable in the future. 

7. Pack an essentials box

Packing up your home and preparing to move can be stressful, and sometimes things don’t go to plan.

A delay in handing over the keys or signing contracts can mean you don’t arrive at your new home until much later than expected. Being prepared and having your essential items in one box that stays with you can make the process easier if this does happen.

Are you planning to buy a new home?

If you’re planning to purchase a new home, choosing the right mortgage for you is important. We’re here to help you understand the options and navigate the mortgage process.

If you have any questions or are ready to start applying for a mortgage, please contact us.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.

Note that financial protection typically has no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.

The Platinum Jubilee: From shillings to contactless payments in 70 years

This summer the Queen will celebrate an incredible 70 years on the throne. Since her reign began in 1952, the world has changed a lot – who in the 1950s would’ve thought it’d be normal to carry a computer in your pocket that lets you make calls, access the internet, and a whole lot more?

During that time, money has changed enormously too, from how it looks right through to how we use it. Here are some of the ways money has changed during the Queen’s reign.

The changing portraits of the Queen

The Queen’s portrait has been a common feature on money for almost 70 years and there have been several changes over the decades.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the Queen’s portrait appeared on a note. The image of the young queen was used on £1 notes, and then a 10 shilling note in 1961. The portrait was criticised for being severe and having an unrealistic likeness.

An updated portrait used for £5 notes in 1963 received a more favourable response.

The current image on notes and coins has been used since 1990 and shows the Queen aged 64.

Adding the likeness of the monarch isn’t just for tradition. The Bank of England (BoE) explains that using a familiar image is a useful anti-counterfeiting feature. People can detect changes in pictures of faces, especially well-known ones, much more easily than in other types of patterns.

Modern polymer notes also use the Queen’s portrait on a small, see-through window with “£5 Bank of England” printed twice around the edge as a security feature.

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Images: portraits of the queen used in 1960, 1963, and 1990.

Decimalisation day: Adopting a base-10 currency in 1971

Perhaps the biggest change to money in the last 70 years occurred on 15 February 1971, dubbed “decimalisation day”.

For centuries Britain had used a coinage system of pounds, shillings and pence – 12 pennies made a shilling, and 20 shillings made a pound.

After more than 50 years of dealing with a currency based on units of 10, it can be hard to appreciate the mental arithmetic older generations were adept at doing every time they made a purchase.

The debate of changing to a simpler currency had been going on since 1847.

An MP at the time, Sir John Bowring said: “Every man who looks at his 10 fingers, saw an argument for its use, and evidence of its practicability.”

A year later, the nation’s first decimal coin appeared – the florin, which was one-tenth of a pound. But that’s as far as decimalisation went until more than a century later.

While decimalisation day on 15 February 1971 was a milestone and represented a huge change, the transition was a little more gradual than the name suggests.

5p and 10p coins had entered circulation in 1968 and had the same value as shillings and florins. The last pre-decimal coin, the florin, wasn’t pulled from circulation until 1993. To help customers, some shops also ran dual prices for a while.

Even with a transition, it was vital that everyone knew about the change and how the new coins would work. So, the government commissioned performer Max Bygraves to record a song for the occasion.

The lyrics included: “They have made it easy for every citizen, cos all we have to do is count from 1 to 10.” And if you want a trip down memory lane, you can listen to the decimalisation song online.

The rise of cashless payments

In recent years, the shift towards not using money at all has accelerated, particularly during the last two years due to the pandemic.

Barclays issued the UK’s first credit card in 1966, with debit cards following in 1987. These first cards required a signature and used a magnetic strip that could be swiped.

This trend evolved over the decades, with chip and PIN introduced in 2003 and contactless payments in 2007.

With customers now able to make contactless payments up to £100, a life without physical money is already a reality for many people in the UK.

According to the latest figures from UK Finance, more than a quarter of all payments in the UK are made using contactless methods. In contrast, cash is falling out of favour. In 2010, it accounted for 56% of all payments, although by 2020 that had reduced to 17%.

While cash is likely to play an important role for years to come, its use is becoming rarer.

Average annual inflation of 5.1% has affected how far your money will go

It’s not just the appearance of money and how we pay for goods that have changed – the value of the money in your pocket has too.

Over the last 70 years, the rate of inflation has differed. Inflation is currently higher than it has been in recent years, reaching 9% in March and April. And older generations will well remember inflation entering double digits in the 1970s. 

Inflation means the cost of goods and services rises. Day-to-day, you may not notice how much costs are rising, while over 70 years it’s clear the effect inflation has.

Annually, between 1952 and 2021, inflation has averaged 5.1%. The BoE’s inflation calculator finds that if you had £1,000 when Queen Elizabeth II began her reign, you’d need more than £30,000 now to have the same spending power.

Money has changed hugely over the last 70 years, but what remains important is setting out your goals and getting the most out of your assets. If you’d like to talk about your financial plan, please contact us.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

80% of over-55s don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Overlooking this could place you in a vulnerable position

Do you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place? If you don’t, it could leave you in a vulnerable position if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, such as after an accident or illness.

Losing the mental capacity or ability to make decisions for yourself is something no one likes to think about. However, by taking steps just in case, you can improve your security and wellbeing.

An LPA gives someone you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions could be related to medical treatment or finance to ensure you continue to meet commitments.

Having an LPA in place can provide you with peace of mind and security if you can’t, or don’t want to, make decisions.

4 in 5 over-55s don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA is an important step at any stage in your life. Accidents can happen, so even among younger generations, it can provide valuable security.

However, an LPA is most likely to be used later in life when some illnesses are more common or recovery times may be longer. So, it’s worrying that 80% of over-55s haven’t named an LPA according to a Lloyds Bank survey.

Almost a third said they hadn’t set up an LPA because they believe it’s only put in place if they become ill. This is incorrect.

You must have the mental capacity to decide to name an LPA. So, it’s a step that must be taken before it’s needed. If it’s something you’ve yet to do, you should think about it now.

Without an LPA, your loved ones would need to apply for a deputyship to act on your behalf. This can be more costly and time-consuming than setting up an LPA. As the process can be lengthy, it could mean no one can make decisions for you for some time while you may be vulnerable.

64% of UK adults don’t understand how a Lasting Power of Attorney works. Here’s what you need to know

Another reason that some people aren’t naming an LPA is that they don’t understand how it works. Almost two-thirds of people surveyed couldn’t explain what an attorney can do. So, here are five things you need to know.

1. An LPA can make decisions when you’re unable or unwilling to do so

An LPA will only make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to, or you decide you’d prefer not to make them. In some cases, the powers an attorney has can be temporary. For example, if you’re ill and recover.

Your named attorney cannot make decisions for you if you still have mental capacity and want to do so.

2. There are two types of LPA

There are two different types of LPA that grant the attorney the ability to make different decisions. You should have both types in place, and you can choose the same person for both or different people for each.

The first type is a health and welfare LPA. This would provide someone with the ability to make decisions relating to your health and care. This could include decisions about moving into a care home, medical treatment, and life-sustaining treatment.

The second is a property and financial affairs LPA. This would allow someone to manage your financial affairs on your behalf, such as paying bills, collecting your pension, or selling property.

3. An LPA grants someone the power to make decisions during your life

A quarter of people are unaware of the differences between an LPA and a will.

In essence, an LPA gives someone the ability to make decisions on your behalf during your life. They cannot decide how your assets will be distributed when you pass away. This is what a will is used for – it allows you to set out what you want to happen to your assets when you die.

You should have both a will and LPA in place. 

4. You can name more than one LPA

As mentioned above, there are two types of LPA, and you can name different people to fill these roles.

If you want, you can also name multiple LPAs, for instance, your partner and child. You can specify whether they can make decisions independently or must work together.

You should think carefully about who your LPA should be. Speaking to them about whether they’re comfortable with the role and what your wishes would be in various circumstances is important.

5. You should still name an LPA if you’re married

It’s a common misconception that your partner will be able to make decisions for you if you’re married or in a civil partnership. However, this isn’t always the case.

Your partner, for instance, does not have an automatic right to manage your bank account for you, even if it’s a joint account. As a result, naming an LPA, whether this is your partner or someone else, is still an important step.

How to name a Lasting Power of Attorney

You can download the forms to start the process of naming an LPA online or by contacting the Office for the Public Guardian.

You can choose to fill out the forms yourself or use the services of a solicitor. While you will need to pay a fee for a solicitor, they can help prevent issues from arising.

The forms will need to be signed by a certificate provider, who will verify you haven’t been placed under pressure to complete the forms. This can either be someone you know well or a professional like a doctor or solicitor.

Once the forms are complete, you must register the LPA with the Office for Public Guardian, and you may need to pay a fee of £82.

If you have any questions about LPAs or how they can fit into your financial plan, please contact us.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning or will writing.

Misconceptions mean that 40% of homeowners don’t have life insurance

Do you have life insurance in place? A survey suggests that some homeowners are choosing not to take it out because of common misconceptions about how life insurance works.

Life insurance would pay out a lump sum to beneficiaries if the policyholder passed away during the term. As a result, it can provide financial support to your loved ones when they need it most and ensure they don’t need to make large financial decisions when they’re grieving.

You can choose how much cover life insurance provides. Often, this is linked to how much your mortgage is. You can also consider other things, such as school fees or day-to-day living costs, to ensure your family would be financially secure if the worst happened.

You can also select how long cover will last. This is often tied to how long remains on your mortgage or when children will reach adulthood.

Despite the safety net it could provide, a survey reported in YourMoney suggests that 2 in 5 homeowners don’t have life insurance. It’s a decision that could affect their family’s financial wellbeing.

Life insurance is something people often think about when making large financial commitments, such as taking out a mortgage. However, it’s not just homeowners that could benefit from appropriate life insurance. If your loved ones could struggle financially if you pass away, it could make sense.

The survey found five key reasons why people don’t take out life insurance, and misconceptions play a role in many of these decisions.

1. “I don’t need life insurance”

A common reason for not taking out life insurance is that some people don’t think they need it.

It can be difficult to think about the circumstances that would mean life insurance is necessary. However, if your partner or children could find themselves financially vulnerable if you passed away, life insurance is something that may provide you with peace of mind. 

2. “Life insurance is expensive”

The cost of life insurance varies depending on a range of factors, from the level of cover you want to your age. However, it can often be more affordable than you think. For a young, healthy person, life insurance can be as little as £10 a month.

The cost of life insurance needs to be considered against the value it adds. If your loved ones would struggle without your income, then life insurance would be valuable in providing you with confidence about their future.

3. “Life insurance is difficult to set up”

There are some things you will need to spend some time considering when taking out life insurance. For instance, how much cover you need. You will also need to answer some questions and you may need to provide additional information, such as paperwork from your GP.

However, it’s often straightforward to set up and we can help you compare different insurers to find the one that’s right for you. We’ll make the process as smooth as possible and offer support throughout.  

4. “An underlying medical condition means I can’t take out life insurance”

If you have an underlying medical condition, it can be more difficult to find life insurance that suits you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an option.

Some specialist insurers may provide you with the cover you need. Others may provide life insurance that excludes pre-existing medical conditions.

While an underlying condition can mean the cost of life insurance is higher, it may not be as high as you expect and it can still be valuable.

We can offer you support in finding life insurance that meets your needs and answer any questions you may have about what it would cover.

5. “Insurers don’t pay out”

Some mortgage holders wrongly believe that insurers simply won’t pay out if a claim was made. However, data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows this isn’t the case.

In 2020, £3.4 billion was paid in life insurance claims as 97% were upheld. The average value of a claim was £79,304. These claims could have provided a vital financial injection to grieving families.

Not disclosing relevant medical information when taking out life insurance is one of the main reasons a claim may not be upheld. It’s important that you provide accurate information.

Contact us to discuss your life insurance needs

If you want to discuss life insurance and how it can fit into your financial plan, please contact us. We can work with you to understand what cover you would benefit from and put appropriate financial protection in place that reflects your priorities.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Note that life insurance plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.

4 valuable pension lessons younger generations can learn from the regrets of the over-50s

Those nearing retirement have plenty of lessons to teach younger generations. A survey asking over-50s how they feel about their pension and retirement plans has highlighted some regrets workers could learn from.

When you’re in your 20s, 30s and 40s, retirement can still seem like it’s a long way off and it can lead to “pension apathy”. You may believe it’s something you don’t need to think about until your retirement date is near. However, engaging with your pension sooner means you are far more likely to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

So, what can you learn from those nearing their retirement date?

1. Almost half of over-50s regret not saving into a pension sooner

If you’ve been putting off saving into a pension, keep in mind that 49% of over-50s wished they had started sooner, according to an Aviva survey.

A quarter said they didn’t start saving into a pension until after they had turned 30. The biggest reason for not starting sooner was that they didn’t feel financially stable enough.

Another reason was understandably prioritising other areas of their life, like raising children (42%) and paying off their mortgage (40%).

Auto-enrolment has led to more people saving into a pension than ever before. Most workers over the age of 22 will automatically start saving into a workplace pension. However, you can choose to opt out.

Opting out of a pension when you’re decades away from retirement may seem like it makes sense on the surface. However, you’d also be missing out on employer contributions and tax relief.

In addition, the money you add to your pension later wouldn’t benefit from being invested for as long. Even small but regular deposits into your pension over your working life can grow into a retirement nest egg thanks to the effects of compounding when you invest.

2. 64% of over-50s wish they’d contributed more to their pension

Not only did those nearing retirement regret not starting contributions to their pension earlier, but almost two-thirds wished they’d contributed more.

If you’ve been automatically enrolled into a pension, the minimum contribution level is 5% of your pensionable earnings. However, don’t assume that saving this amount will be enough to secure a comfortable retirement.

How much you need to save for retirement will depend on a range of things, such as when you hope to retire and the lifestyle you want. In many cases, you’ll need to increase your contribution level from 5% to achieve your goal.

By looking at how your contributions will add up now, rather than waiting until you’re near retirement, you’ll have more opportunities to fill a potential gap. 

3. 4 in 10 nearing retirement could be underestimating the income they’ll need

Understanding how much income you will need in retirement is crucial for effective planning and making sure you’re taking appropriate steps now.

The survey results suggest some nearing retirement could find a significant gap in their income.

4 in 10 believe an income between £10,000 and £20,000 will be enough to live comfortably. This is far below the £33,600 the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association recommends for a comfortable standard of living.

While retirement may be years away, having a goal income now can mean you avoid a shortfall when you’re ready to give up work. Closing a pension gap is easier the sooner you spot it.

4. Don’t overlook the value of financial advice

More than 70% of over-50s said they had never sought financial advice about their pension. Yet, on hearing how working with a professional could potentially add tens of thousands of pounds to their retirement savings, half of them said they would.

When asked why they didn’t seek financial advice, 30% said they feel like they know what they’re doing. While this is the case for some savers, understanding pensions and how they’ll translate into a retirement income can be complex. Financial advice can help you identify how much you should be saving, the tax allowances you can make use of, and much more.

In addition, 10% said they relied on their family and friends for pension advice. Talking about finances with people close to you is good. However, you should keep in mind that your circumstances and goals may be very different. A retirement plan that will deliver the right outcomes for your friend may not work for you.

Financial advice can help you get the most out of your pension contributions, ensure you’re on track for retirement, and balance long-term goals with your lifestyle now.

Engaging with a financial planner can highlight where you could adjust your retirement savings now to deliver better outcomes. This way, you can look forward to a financially secure retirement when you’re ready.

Whether you’re approaching retirement or the milestone is still decades away, we can help you get the most out of your pension. Please contact us to arrange a meeting and a pension review you can have confidence in.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts. 

Workplace pensions are regulated by The Pensions Regulator.

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