7 unique festivals and events taking place in the UK this summer

With summer here, there are plenty of festivals and outdoor events to look forward to. As well as the usual music festivals that have an exciting line-up of artists, from Glastonbury to Download, there are others up and down the country you may have overlooked when making your summer plans.

Whether you want to get outdoors, learn more about British history, or are just looking for a family-friendly day out, these seven events are well worth exploring.

1. Alice’s Day, Oxford, 2 July

If you’re a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, this family-friendly event could make a perfect day trip.

Venues across Oxford are involved in the event, providing an excellent way to see the city, from visiting bookshops to exploring the Oxford Botanic Garden. This year the theme is kings and queens. The full programme hasn’t been revealed yet, but last year’s schedule gives you a hint of what to expect. It included giant puppet performances, draw-along sessions, and a chance to recreate a Victorian stage trick.

2. National Eisteddfod Festival, Tregaron, 30 July – 6 August

Held in the first week of August every year, the National Eisteddfod Festival is a celebration of the culture and language of Wales. It’s held in a different location each year, and this year it will be in Tregaron, a market town in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains.

The history of the festival goes back to 1176 when it was a competition-based festival. Today, it attracts around 150,000 visitors and boasts a great line-up of Welsh performances, from visual arts to dance, and activities for the whole family.

3. Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, 5 – 29 August

The Edinburgh Fringe has become a world-leading celebration of arts and culture. If you’ve yet to visit the historical city while the Fringe is on, you could plan a trip this year to celebrate the event’s 75th anniversary.

Over the three weeks, visitors will be able to enjoy everything from comedy and theatre to circus and opera performances across hundreds of stages scattered throughout the city. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Fringe thanks to its eclectic mix.

Highlights this year include the Olivier award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, comedian Fern Brady, and Hotel Paradiso, a family-friendly show that mixes circus, theatre and storytelling skills.

4. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, 11 – 14 August

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta began in 1979 when 27 balloonists made flights throughout a weekend to the delight of spectators. It now attracts more than 100 hot air balloons over the weekend, as well as other activities to enjoy.

The first hot air balloon lifts start early in the morning, but they’re well worth getting up for and enjoying the views with a cup of coffee. As well as ascents throughout the days, there’s live music, a funfair, arena displays, and trade stalls to explore.

5. Birmingham Mela, Birmingham, 27 – 28 August

The Birmingham Mela is the biggest South Asian music festival in Europe, and it’s a fabulous opportunity to experience another culture and spend a weekend.

There will be more than 50,000 people attending and 150 artists to enjoy, so it can still provide the traditional festival vibes while being a little bit different. As well as the music performances, you can find dance, food, and arts and crafts that take you to South Asia.

6. Kynren, County Durham, every Saturday from 6 August to 10 September

Taking in an outdoor performance is a great way to spend an evening in the summer months. Kynren is an award-winning show that will take you through 2,000 years of British history.

From Boudicca’s uprising to King Charles I’s final journey to the execution block, the talented cast will showcase some of the most important events in Britain and bring to life legends. The show combines choreography, theatre, horse skills, and special effects to immerse you in the story.

7. Jane Austen Festival, Bath, 9 – 18 September

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, visiting this festival is a must. For 10 whole days, you can explore the works of the author, learn more about her life, and even take in 18th-century costumes by watching the Grand Regency Promenade.

The full festival programme isn’t available yet, but last year’s shows you what to expect. The packed schedule included theatrical performances, talks, workshops, walking tours, and so much more. You must purchase tickets for some of the events and they may sell out, so be sure to book if there’s something that catches your eye.

26% of people say thinking about finances makes them anxious, as research highlights a link to mental health

More than a quarter of people feel anxious about money, according to research from the Money and Pension Service (MAPS). People that have recently experienced poor mental health are more likely to worry about finances, which in turn can further harm their wellbeing.

The research highlights the link between mental health and feeling in control of finances.

As financial security can affect many other aspects of your life, from your ability to cover daily expenses to planning for your future, it can have a huge effect on your wellbeing. Feeling confident about money decisions is important for mental health.

The research found that 57% of people who have experienced a recent mental health problem say thinking about their financial situation makes them anxious.

There are many reasons why poor mental health can affect financial security. It may mean people need to take some time away from work or that they don’t feel up to making financial decisions. This can lead to poorer financial security which exacerbates anxiety when thinking about money.

The research found that among those who have experienced mental health challenges in the last three years:

  • They are four times as likely to be behind on priority bills.
  • They are four times as likely to borrow to pay off their debts.
  • They are almost three times as likely to often borrow to buy food or pay bills.

Even among people who haven’t experienced poor mental health, many feel anxious when they think about finances. Yet, just 1 in 5 people who are worried about money seek support.

As the cost of living rises and budgets come under more strain, it’s more important than ever to understand your financial situation and seek help if you’re feeling worried.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, chief executive officer at MAPS, said: “We know that money worries and poor mental wellbeing often go hand in hand. This is a challenging time for many people dealing with the after-effects of the pandemic and cost of living pressures. This is tricky enough for anyone, but can be particularly challenging for people also dealing with mental health problems.

“Despite this, we know that many people across the UK generally struggle to talk openly about money.”

5 things to do if you feel anxious about your finances

1. Don’t put off reviewing your financial situation

If you’re worried about money, it can be easy to put off the task of reviewing your finances. If your mental health has been affected, this is even more likely to be the case.

However, being proactive can help you reach a better place financially, feel in control, and boost your wellbeing. If reviewing your finances seems like too much, breaking it down into smaller tasks each day can help. Start with the tasks that are most likely to affect your day-to-day finances, such as your budget or debt you may have, and gradually work your way up to tackling things like your savings or pension.

2.If you’re falling behind on payments, contact your creditors

The MAPS research highlighted how poor mental health can lead to people falling behind on priority bills or increasing the amount of debt they have.

If you’re struggling to keep up with financial commitments, one of the first things you should do is reach out to providers and creditors. It can be a scary thing to do but remember it’s something they will deal with every day.

Creditors may be able to offer support, such as giving you a payment holiday, freezing interest, or creating a long-term repayment plan. By taking this first step of getting in touch, you can begin to improve your long-term financial wellbeing and how confident you feel about the future.

3. Create a budget that prioritises your spending

A budget can help you better manage your finances. By setting out how much you need to spend on different areas, from utility bills to transport, you’re less likely to overspend and find that you don’t have enough at the end of the month.

When creating a budget, prioritise the different areas you need to spend on. Which bills are essential, and which areas could you cut back on if you needed to?

If you have debt, you should prioritise how you repay this too. Where possible, make the minimum payments for each form of debt to avoid falling into arrears, and make overpayments starting with the debt that has the highest rate of interest.

4. Remove temptations to overspend

With online shopping just a few taps away, it’s easier than ever to impulsively buy something and overspend. It’s more likely to happen when you’re suffering from poor mental health as you may seek the short-term boost a purchase can give you.

Making it more difficult to spend money can help you stick to your budget and start to improve your finances as it can give you time to think about whether a purchase is a good idea.

Think about when and how you may overspend. If you’re tempted by online shopping, removing saved card details from your computer or phone and unsubscribing from tempting newsletters can help. If you find you often dip into money allocated for other expenses when you’re out, creating a separate account that holds your disposable money can be useful.

5. Speak to someone about your situation

Several charities and organisations offer support if you’re struggling financially and mentally.

Seeking support and opening up about the challenges you’re dealing with can be difficult, but it’s a step that can give you access to expertise and resources that can help you build financial confidence.

If you’re struggling financially, Money Helper is a good place to start. You can receive confidential debt advice online or over the phone.

If you’re worried about your financial future, such as whether you’re saving enough for retirement, how to support loved ones, or how to get the most out of your money, we can help.

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

Trustees, here is what you need to know about the Trust Registration Service deadline

Being a trustee comes with many responsibilities, and, in some cases, you will need to register a trust with the Trust Registration Service (TRS) by 1 September 2022 or you could incur a fine.

A trust is an arrangement that lets someone, known as the settlor, set money or assets aside for someone else, known as a beneficiary. A trust is managed by a trustee for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. The settlor may set out how they want the assets in the trust to be used.

There are many reasons why you may set up a trust, from passing on assets to children to generational wealth planning.

As a trustee, you are responsible for managing the assets in a trust and the decisions you make must be done in the best interests of the beneficiary.

Read on to find out if registering a trust you manage is something you need to do.

What is the Trust Registration Service?

The TRS was set up in 2017 as part of an anti-money laundering directive. New rules were introduced in 2020 that require more UK trusts and some non-UK trusts to be registered with HMRC before the September deadline.

Trusts set up after the deadline will have 90 days to register with the TRS.

If you don’t register with the TRS, HMRC will send “nudge letters” and there is a proposed £100 fine for any subsequent offences. If trustees deliberately ignore the requirements, higher penalties could be imposed.

Do you need to register the trust you’re responsible for?

So, which trusts need to be registered before the deadline? All UK express trusts, whether or not they pay tax, must be registered unless they are on the exclusion list.

An “express trust” refers to a trust that was created by a settlor, including those set up in a will, rather than those that were created through a court decision or the operation of the law. Most trusts are express trusts.

If a non-UK trust becomes liable for tax on income coming from the UK or on UK assets, it will also need to be registered with the TRS.

Some trusts do not need to be registered with the TRS even if they are express trusts. The exclusion list includes:

  • Pension schemes
  • Charitable trusts
  • Will trusts that are wound up within two years of death
  • Policy trusts that hold financial protection that pays out on death or critical illness.

Registering a trust with HMRC

If you’re a trustee for a trust, you are responsible for registering it with TRS. If there are multiple trustees, you must nominate a “lead trustee” who will be the main point of contact for HMRC.

You can register using the Government Gateway and create an organisation ID.

You can use the gateway to make changes to your registered trust in the future and provide an agent with the authority to make changes too.

You will need to provide information that you can find on the trust deeds and letters you may have received from HMRC, including:

  • The name of the trust
  • The date the trust was created
  • Details about any UK land or property the trust has purchased.

In addition, you’ll also need to provide details for the lead trustee, the settlor, and other individuals or organisations that are involved in the trust, such as beneficiaries.

Information about what’s held in the trust, from cash and shares to material assets, will also need to be provided.

Once a trust is registered, you will receive a PDF copy of a report to show proof of registration that you should keep in a safe place.

If the trust is taxable, you must declare the register is up to date each year by 31 January.

Do you need help managing a trust?

As a trustee, sometimes your role and responsibilities may seem overwhelming.

If you’re a trustee, it’s important to keep up to date with changes and have confidence in the financial decisions you make. We’re here to offer you support.

Whether you have questions about registering a trust with the TRS, want to understand how you can make the most out of assets held in a trust, or even discuss setting up a trust yourself, we can help. Please contact us to arrange a meeting.

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 trusts or estate planning.

52% of savers don’t understand the effects of inflation, and millions think they’ll be better off. Here’s why it can harm your savings

Inflation has been in the news for months now, as the rate increases. While you may notice the effects inflation has on the price of goods when you visit the supermarket, it can be more difficult to understand how and why it’ll affect things like your savings.

More than half of cash savers don’t know what effect inflation will have on the value of their savings, according to a Legal & General survey. And 13% believe inflation will leave them better off.

However, the opposite is true – inflation can harm the value of your savings.

Interest rates may be rising, but in real terms, the value of your savings is likely to fall

One of the steps the Bank of England is taking to control inflation is to increase its base interest rate.

As a result, after more than a decade of only benefiting from low-interest rates, the amount you earn from your savings may be starting to gradually rise.

For this reason, some may think that inflation, through the steps taken to control it, is having a positive effect on their savings. After all, the amount being added to your account in interest has increased.

To get a true picture, you need to consider how the value of your savings has changed in real terms.

In the 12 months to April 2022, the rate of inflation was 9%. So, if the interest rate you’re earning on savings is below this, the spending power of your savings falls. This is because as the cost of goods and services increases, your savings will gradually buy less and less.

While your savings may be growing thanks to interest, in real terms, the value is probably falling.

Even with interest rates rising, it’s likely that the interest your savings are earning is far below the rate of inflation. For your savings to maintain their value, the interest rate needs to keep pace with inflation.

As a result, rising inflation could harm the value of your savings and affect long-term plans.

54% of cash savers haven’t taken any action despite inflation rising

More than half of savers haven’t taken steps to limit the effects of inflation on their savings. In fact, 54% plan to keep their money in cash for the long term.

You may think the effects are small, but they can add up. If the high inflation environment continues for the next five years, it’s estimated that inaction could cost £21 billion collectively, according to the Legal & General research.

If you had £1,000 in a cash savings account earning 0.26% each year while inflation was 7%, it’d take just 11 years for the value of your savings to half in real terms.

There are still good reasons for maintaining a cash savings account. If you’re saving for short-term goals, a cash account often makes sense. Having your emergency fund in an accessible cash account is also important.

But, if you’re saving with long-term goals and financial security in mind, investing could present an alternative option.

How could investing help your savings keep pace with inflation?

Investing your money provides an opportunity for your wealth to outpace inflation, so they are growing in real terms.

Traditionally, stock markets have delivered better long-term returns than inflation and interest rates on savings. As a result, it can mean your spending power is preserved if you’re saving for a long-term goal. If you’re saving for goals that are more than five years away, investing can make sense.

Just because investing can deliver larger returns doesn’t mean that every investment is right for you. All investments have some risk, and it’s vital that you build a portfolio that reflects your risk profile and circumstances.

It’s also important to note that investment returns cannot be guaranteed and that it’s likely you will experience short-term volatility at some point. This means that the value of your investments may fall. However, you should take a long-term view as, historically, markets have recovered, even from sharp declines like the one at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re among those that hold cash savings and haven’t taken any steps to limit the effects of inflation, reviewing your financial plan now can help you get the most out of your assets.

Whether investing is right for you, or another option makes more sense, we can help you review your current finances and build a plan that’ll help you reach your goals. For many, this will include investing for the long term, and we’re here to answer any questions you may have and create a balanced portfolio with your goals in mind.

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

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The minimum pension contribution may not be enough. Here are 3 reasons to increase your contributions

Pension auto-enrolment means that if you’re employed you’ve likely been automatically enrolled into a pension and contributions are deducted from your pay. However, the minimum contributions may not be enough to secure the retirement you want, and the sooner you identify a gap, the more options you have.

The current minimum contribution is 8% of your pensionable earnings, with 5% deducted from your salary and your employer adding the remaining 3%.

In many cases, the minimum contribution levels will not accumulate enough pension wealth to secure the lifestyle you want. It’s important to understand what income you want in retirement and the steps you can take to achieve this.

Just 27% saving for a “moderate” retirement lifestyle think they’re saving enough

The Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) asked pension savers whether they think they’re saving enough for retirement.

Around three-quarters said they were, however, this fell significantly when they were asked about the retirement lifestyle they want to achieve.

41% of people said they wanted a “moderate” lifestyle, described as covering their basic needs and allowing them to do some of the things they would like in retirement. Just 27% believe they’re saving enough to reach this goal.

In addition, 33% said they were saving for a “comfortable” retirement that would allow them to do most of the things they would like. Only 14% of people with this goal feel they’re taking the right financial steps now.

Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the PLSA, said: “We have long argued that current contribution levels are not likely to give people the level of income they expect or need.”

The organisation is calling on the government to gradually increase minimum contribution levels for both employers and employees.

Increasing your pension contributions now could afford you a more comfortable retirement and mean you’re financially secure in your later years. If you’re not sure how your pension contributions will add up over your working life and the lifestyle it will afford you, we can help you create an effective retirement plan that will give you confidence.

3 more reasons to increase your pension contribution

1. You’ll receive more tax relief

When you contribute to your pension, you receive tax relief. This means that some of the money you would have paid in tax is added to your retirement savings. Essentially, it gives your savings a boost and the more you contribute, the more you benefit.

Remember, if you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer, you will need to complete a self-assessment tax form to claim the full tax relief you’re entitled to.

There is a limit on how much you can add to your pension while still benefiting from tax relief known as the “Annual Allowance”. For most people, this is £40,000 or 100% of their annual income, whichever is lower. If you’re a higher earner or have already taken an income from your pension, your allowance may be lower. Please contact us if you’re not sure how much your Annual Allowance is.

2. The money is usually invested

Usually, the money held in your pension is invested.

As you’ll typically be saving over decades, this provides you with an opportunity for your contributions, along with employer contributions and tax relief, to grow over the long term. It means your pension savings could grow at a faster pace and create a more comfortable retirement.

If you want to invest for the long term, doing so through a pension can be tax-efficient.

Keep in mind that your pension usually won’t be accessible until the age of 55, rising to 57 in 2028, and that investment returns cannot be guaranteed.

3. You could pay less tax through salary sacrifice

If you want to increase your pension contributions, it’s worth talking to your employer to see if they offer a salary sacrifice scheme. It could mean you have more for retirement while reducing your tax liability now.

As part of a salary sacrifice scheme, you, as the employee, would agree to reduce your earnings, while your employer would agree to pay the amount your salary has reduced by into your pension. As your income will be lower, you may be liable for less Income Tax while increasing your pension.

Again, keep in mind that you won’t be able to access your pension savings until you reach pension age.

Contact us to understand how you can get more out of your pension

If you’re not sure if you’re saving enough for retirement or want to understand how you can make your contributions add up, 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.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available.

Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.

Two-thirds of retirees are planning a flexible retirement, but many don’t understand the potential tax implications

More retirees are planning to work in some way after they retire. While this flexibility can boost your income and help you strike a work-life balance that suits you, it can lead to some tax implications that you need to consider.

According to a report from abrdn, just a third of people retiring in 2022 plan to give up work completely while two-thirds will continue to work. Flexible retirement is a growing trend, in 2020 just a third of retirees planned to continue working.

When asked how they will work in retirement, 24% of those retiring this year plan to work part-time in their current job or a new position, including in the gig economy. 15% will continue to work in their own business and 12% want to use retirement to become entrepreneurs.

So, while more retirees plan to continue working, many are exploring different options that will help them build the lifestyle they want.

Financial concerns are playing a role in the flexible retirement trend, but it’s not the only reason

While creating an income in retirement is a key reason behind the flexi-retirement trend, it’s not the only one. In fact, 32% said they want something to keep them busy.

Creating a sustainable income that will last throughout your retirement can be difficult to understand. You will often need to consider a range of factors, from life expectancy to potential investment returns. So, it’s not surprising that only a quarter of 2022 retirees are confident that they’ve saved enough.

Higher levels of inflation are adding a layer of complexity.

In the 12 months to April 2022, inflation reached 9%. Retirees that don’t consider how inflation will affect their cost of living over their retirement could find that their spending power dwindles. Inflation can mean that an income that afforded a comfortable lifestyle at the start of retirement doesn’t stretch far enough in your later years unless it rises at the same pace.

Despite this, 27% of retirees said they didn’t know how to mitigate the effect of inflation on their retirement income.

Financial planning can help you understand how your pension savings and other assets can help you build an income you can rely on in retirement. It means you can start this chapter of your life with confidence. For some, it may mean they continue to work past their retirement date.

Financial planning could also help you make your income more tax-efficient if you do plan to continue working in retirement. Just 25% of retirees that want to work are aware of the potential tax implications, and it could mean they face a larger bill than they expect.

3 important questions to consider if you’ll work in retirement

One of the reasons tax can become more complex if you want a flexible retirement is that your income may come from multiple sources and may change depending on your needs.

These three questions can help you understand how your decisions will affect how much tax you pay, and what you can do to reduce your tax bill.

1. Will you access your pension while you work?

If you’re earning an income from working, will you still need to access your pension?

If you have a defined contribution (DC) pension, you can access it flexibly from the age of 55, rising to 57 in 2028. This can help you secure the income you need even if your income from work changes.

However, your pension may be subject to Income Tax, so it’s important to understand how withdrawals will affect your overall tax liability. If your total income exceeds tax thresholds, you could find you pay a higher rate of Income Tax than you expect.

If you don’t need your pension to supplement your income, leaving it where it is can make sense. Money held in a pension is typically invested and can grow free from Capital Gains Tax. So, leaving it invested until you need it can help your savings go further.

2. Will you continue to pay into your pension?

An advantage of continuing to work is that you may still be able to pay into a pension, this can boost your financial security later in life.

If you’re an employee under the State Pension Age and earning more than £10,000 in the 2022/23 tax year, your employer must automatically enrol you into a pension, and contribute on your behalf. Even if you’re not automatically enrolled, you can still add to a pension and benefit from tax relief.

One thing to be aware of is the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA). If you access your pension to take an income, the amount you can tax-efficiently add to your pension each tax year may fall to just £4,000. If you unwittingly exceed this limit, you could face an additional tax charge unexpectedly.

3. Will you claim the State Pension?

If you plan to work past the State Pension Age, you should consider if you’ll still claim the State Pension.

The State Pension may be liable for Income Tax if your entire income exceeds the Personal Allowance, and it could push you into a higher tax bracket. As a result, if you don’t need the income, it can make sense to defer your State Pension for tax reasons.

If you do decide to defer your State Pension, you will receive a higher amount when you claim it. Your State Pension payments would increase by 1% for every nine weeks you defer, which is just under 5.8% if you defer for a year.

If you want to make the most out of your retirement savings, a tailored financial plan that considers your assets, lifestyle decisions, and goals could help reduce your tax liability and give you peace of mind. If you’d like to arrange a meeting with us to talk about your retirement, please contact us.

Please note: This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

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.