A new year offers a useful opportunity to consider your finances, ensuring they are in good shape to see you through 2019 and beyond. To help here is my checklist if you are looking to make the most of your financial planning this year:
1) Don’t forget your HMRC obligations
The cornerstone of any good financial plan is never to forget the British tax authorities. A useful annual check is to make sure you are up to date with your taxes, your residence status is correct and your address and contact details are as they should be. It’s also a good time to see if you have claimed any relevant refunds and allowances. Keeping up-to-date with HMRC is always prudent and can be very useful in future years.
2) Understand changes around UK property
In the last 5 years there have been many changes in the way in which UK property is taxed so it’s worth a review of what applies to you. Questions which you might need to consider include whether you have a 6th April 2015 valuation for your UK residential property? Have you made an election for Principal Private Residence? Are recording any time spent in your UK property? Is your mortgage fit for purpose? Do you understand the capital gains implications if you sell?
3) Make sure you have an up to date will
Wherever you are in the world a valid will is a necessity. If you are overseas additional complications and considerations could come up so it is worth drawing up a will in all jurisdictions where you hold significant assets. Another useful step is to choose a power of attorney who can make financial decisions if you or a loved one are incapacitated for any reason.
4) Check your life insurance cover and protection
The watch word here is to be prepared – although no one enjoys considering such things. But it’s important to check if you have enough cover for critical illness or loss of income. Review your needs, current protection level and whether alternative cover is available more cost-effectively.
5) Review financial goals
As another year turns it’s wise to take stock and ensure that your investments still reflect your personal goals and attitude to risk. As life moves on priorities shift so check what your short and longer term goals are – paying off your mortgage, planning for university fees for children or setting a plan for years left until retirement. This then allows you to review your assets, liabilities, income and expenditure so that you can stay on track and achieve what you want to financially and in life.
6) Keep your investment strategy tax efficient
Your overall investment planning should always factor in sufficient tax planning so that your assets, liabilities and income are structured in the most optimal and tax efficient way.
7) Review your pension provisions
Many people plan to spend at least part of the retirement somewhere other than the UK, so its important to properly understand what pensions you have – whether they are UK based or elsewhere – and the options available with them.
8) Running your own business
If you are planning a new business venture, then it’s really important to plan your finances sensibly. If you are overseas you need to consider what will happen to your business activities if you choose to return to the UK. You should also always ensure you have the appropriate insurances and licences for the area you are operating in – especially if you are successful and begin to expand into other markets.
If you have concerns or questions about your finances, or any of the areas I’ve touched on, it’s useful to get in touch with a financial adviser, who will be well skilled in helping you navigate any issues.
Whatever this New Year offers, I wish you a prosperous, fulfilling and exciting 2019.
Global Head of Sales and Marketing