Welcome to your October update from Team DFP. In this edition, we’ll bring you the latest news surrounding State Pensions, we’ll delve into the detail of the government’s latest COVID support packages, and take some time to touch on the importance of managing your money (and your mental health) during these challenging times.
State Pension age reaches 66
Earlier this month, the age at which men and women in the UK can claim their State Pension increased from 65 to 66 years old. The State Pension is paid out to anyone with at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions to their name. Weekly payments are determined by how many years you have contributed, with the maximum payment currently £175.20 per week.
The latest rise in the qualifying age follows a decade of increases (10 years ago, the State Pension age for women was just 60!). The next scheduled increase will see anyone born after April 6th 1960 needing to wait until the age of 67 before they’re eligible for their State Pension. You can read more, here.
Nowadays, of course, many people rely on private pension schemes - in addition to their State Pension - to save sufficient funds for their retirement. To find out how Danbro Financial Planning could help you prepare for your retirement, click here.
In the news…
Amidst heightened restrictions, the government’s Job Support Scheme will open in less than a fortnight’s time. It will serve as an indirect replacement for the Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, which closes at the end of October. According to the government, the new Job Support Scheme will ‘protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand due to COVID-19.’
With unemployment-related benefits increasing amongst those over 50, it’s hoped that the Job Support Scheme will help that particular group, as well as others whose jobs will be vulnerable once the furlough scheme ends next week. To help cut through the complexity, we’ve taken a closer look at the scheme - as well as some other COVID-related measures - to find out what support is on offer. Take a look, here.
Elsewhere, the government’s new ‘Green Homes Grant’ allows homeowners in England to apply for up to £10,000 worth of vouchers in order to make energy improvements to their homes. To secure the funding, there are certain caveats, such as:
- You must own a home in England (landlords are eligible to apply).
- You must commit to installing a “primary measure”, such as: loft, roof, or underfloor insulation; a solid/cavity wall; heat pumps; a biomass boiler; or a solar thermal system.
- You can then apply for “secondary measure” vouchers for things like: double or triple glazing; energy-efficient doors; and smart heating controls.
- You must have received at least one quote from an installer recognised by the Grant.
- The work must be completed by March 31st
To find out more about the scheme, and how you can apply, click here.
While we’re on the subject of new legislation, changes to IR35 in the private sector are now less than six months away. So, we’ve pulled together an exclusive guide on what’s changing, who’s affected, and how you can prepare. Click here to read in full.
And finally, the news that in November, we’ll be officially launching our Mortgage and Protection services online. Many of you will already be aware of our newest addition, Sharon, and the fantastic work she’s been doing, but from next month, we’ll have a brand new section of our website dedicated solely to Mortgages, Protection, and Insurance! We’ll bring you much more on this in our next update.
This Month’s Featured Article…
The economic, not to mention health and social implications of this prolonged period of restrictions are affecting us all psychologically, some far worse than others. Mental health problems can make it harder to manage your money effectively, particularly if your income has suffered because of the pandemic. What’s more, money worries are common contributors to feelings of anxiety and concern.
As your financial planning specialists, we want you to know we’re here for you. Our dedicated team are always on hand for financial advice and support wherever possible. But if, as is the case for so many people around the country right now, you’re feeling mentally or emotionally vulnerable - as a result of this pandemic or otherwise - it’s important that you talk to someone and/or seek professional help. In the meantime, here are a few useful tips from mental health charity, Mind, on how to understand and manage the connection between your money and your mental health.
Mind: ‘Money & Mental Health’
On a lighter note…
Under the latest government restrictions, many of us are once again being asked to work from home where possible. But, whilst some may relish the peace and tranquillity (until half-term, at least), for others, working away from the office can feel a tad isolating.
Now, whilst it’s no substitute for contact with your colleagues, this BBC article reveals some rather novel ways in which people have tried to ‘recreate’ the office environment from their very own home workspace. Give it a try and let us know how you find it!