Hambleton money expert urges people to check financial arrangements due to rule changes

Tim Jopling

Tim Jopling

A Hambleton financial expert is warning people to be aware of changes in rules relating to savings, pensions and investments as 2016 arrives.

Tim Jopling runs Stokesley-based Direct Financial Solutions, which celebrated its 10th year in business in 2015 having seen substantial growth throughout the year despite the steady dip in the number of successful financial advisors in the UK.

Tim, who works with individuals and small businesses around North Yorkshire specialising in areas including pensions and retirement planning, investments and savings, financial protection and inheritance tax planning, is advising people to review their financial situation at the start of the year to ensure that they are getting the best from their financial plans.

Tim has these five tips to help individuals and businesses prepare for the year ahead: –

Savings: – interest rates look set to remain very low and in real terms many deposit-based accounts are going backwards. Pay off outstanding debt if you have any and then consider alternatives like structured deposits giving the potential for better returns with zero risk and interest-bearing current accounts.

Investments: – consider what type of wrapper you are invested in and how tax efficient it is, for example- utilising your ISA allowance. Is the fund well managed and appropriate to your risk tolerance and timescale? Go for a good spread and some type of ongoing monitoring.

Pensions: – perhaps where the most radical changes have been made. If you die who will benefit from your pension? Pensions can now be left to non-dependents with considerable tax advantages. Older plans may not have this benefit. Tax relief is given at your highest tax rate, but for how much longer? I think higher rate tax relief will disappear- possibly after March- so get the money into your pension now if you can. Once you are past the age of 55 you can now access the whole fund if required.

Protection: – check now that you have adequate cover in case of a financial catastrophe. Life cover to protect your family and loans for husband and wife are absolute essentials. Having a plan to provide money if you become ill also makes good sense. Check your existing arrangements or get some advice and quotes.

Tim is a highly-qualified and experienced IFA and attributes Direct Financial Solutions’ success to its personal service, something that has slowly decreased in the financial services sector as many businesses move to online operations.

In addition, the number of fully-qualified IFAs approved to give investment and pensions’ advice has significantly fallen in the last few years despite a greater need as individuals are forced to take more responsibility for their finances.

Tim said: “There are so many constant changes in the financial world that it can be difficult to keep abreast of what’s happening but by following my five top tips, people can really help themselves. The start of the year is the best time to review aspects such as savings and investments and seek any necessary help.

“The most common issues I deal with are those relating to poor interest rates on savings and the other options available, tax relief on ISAs and funding retirement due to radical changes in the pensions system.”

Direct Financial Solutions has a team of four based at the Springboard Business Centre on Stokesley Business Park.