user_mobilelogo

When you take out a mortgage we would always recommend you take out appropriate life insurance too, so that you know your monthly mortgage payments are covered if things go awry.

If you’re buying on your own, a single life insurance plan will probably do the trick, but if you’re going into joint property ownership, a joint plan may be more appropriate. So, which is best for you?

Property ownership When it comes to joint ownership, there are two main types:

Joint Tenant 

Where both individuals each own 50% of the property and have equal rights over it – no matter who contributed what in terms of a deposit. Married couples and those in civil partnerships would typically go into joint tenancy, as it means that if one person dies, their share automatically passes to the other – irrespective of the terms of any will in place.

Tenants in common

Where each owns a separate and distinct share of the property (and not necessarily an equal share). This might be the best option for co-habiting (but not married) couples, parents buying for their child, or relatives or friends buying together. This set-up means that if one of the tenants in common dies, their share forms part of their estate, rather than automatically going to the other tenant.


Single or joint life insurance?

Given the differing types of property ownership, it’s important to look at your individual situation before taking out life cover. A policy taken out on a single life basis covers one person only and will pay out the sum assured if the policyholder dies within the term of the policy. A joint policy covers two lives and will normally pay out on a ‘first death’ basis, at which point the policy will end. There are pros and cons of both types of cover - and you should seek advice so you know you’re getting the cover that’s right for you.

Things to think about:

Budget

One joint insurance life policy could be more affordable than two single life insurance policies.

Cover

Do you both have exactly the same life insurance need? Would two plans be more appropriate?

A joint life insurance policy only pays out once

The proceeds could go to the surviving partner (and would be tax-free) so that they could pay off the mortgage. However, they would be left without any life insurance and applying for cover later in life can be expensive.

Relationship break down

It's possible that the insurance provider would not be able to divide a joint life policy into two single policies. If you have two separate policies, neither will be affected in the event of a split with the joint owner.


If you need life insurance to protect your mortgage, please talk to us before you buy and we’ll advise on cover that’s tailored for your circumstances.

 

Whether you’re renovating your home because it’s too expensive to move, or you’ve only just bought the place and you’re keen to make your mark, it’s important to stick to jobs that will add value rather than risk reducing its future sale price.

Before you embark on improving your home, follow our tips to help make sure you focus on jobs that will add value if and when you come to sell:

Check the deeds

There may be restrictions on what you can do and you may need planning permission - especially if the changes affect a boundary or your property’s external appearance.


Avoid removing bedrooms

You may want to knock down a wall and convert that box bedroom into a large ensuite, but a three-bedroom semi-detached is naturally going to sell for more than a two-bed.


Be commercially-minded

Consider the neighbourhood you live in and the types of buyers likely to want to live there. Spending money re-landscaping your garden and laying turf and borders may not appeal to a younger professional couple who just want low-maintenance outside space for entertaining.


Avoid personalisation

Unless you are prepared to redecorate when you come to sell, try and use neutral colours on walls and doors. You can always introduce bold, bright or dark colours in soft furnishings and ornaments to achieve the effect you want.
Whether you’re renovating your home because it’s too expensive to move, or you’ve only just bought the place and you’re keen to make your mark, it’s important to stick to jobs that will add value rather than risk reducing its future sale price.

Check the paperwork

If you're looking at a bigger undertaking such as converting your loft into a bedroom, make sure you have the correct paperwork and certification, otherwise the money you spend may not be realised in the sale price.

Hire a professional

Avoid a DIY disaster by only taking on projects you are confident you can complete.


Check your policy

If you’re going to make any major changes to your home you should contact your buildings and contents insurance provider first to avoid unintentionally invalidating your policy. And make sure your policy covers you for accidental damage caused during your DIY efforts.

If you’re looking to fund your home renovations please speak to us for advice.

First time buyers Boost your mortgage chances

You’ve decided to take the plunge and get onto the property ladder, having swapped fun and frivolity for fastidious frugalness to save the deposit. But what can you do to boost your chances of getting your first mortgage?

Check and correct

The three main credit reference agencies, Equifax, Experian and Callcredit, will all use data to score you differently. Lenders will use one or more of these agencies to decide whether to offer you credit.


The general rule is, the higher your credit score the better, so if after checking you feel your score is low you can do things to improve it. For instance, if there are errors on your file you can write to the credit reference agency and ask them to add a notice of correction to your file. You should also check you're not linked financially to anyone, eg. an ex-partner or old flatmate. Their credit history could affect yours so make sure you've organised a 'disassociation' with the credit agency.


Address your address

Make sure all your bank accounts, any credit cards and loans are registered against your correct current address. Contact any financial institutions that hold incorrect information to update the details and take the opportunity to ask them to close any old and unused accounts.


You should also check you're on the electoral roll as lenders will use this as part of their identity checks on you. You can register for free at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.


Manage your money

As the proverb goes “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” and this is particularly true when thinking about applying for a mortgage. Lenders will look at your credit record and spending habits, so in the months leading up to your application make sure you pay all bills on time - set up a direct debit if this makes it easier to manage. Cut back on spending from any current accounts and on any credit cards. Try and stay out of your overdraft and don’t apply for any new credit in the run up to your mortgage application.


Have your paperwork ready

Your lender will ask for a range of documents, including three months' bank statements and payslips, ID documents, proof of address, proof of bonuses etc. Get these up together in advance to avoid unnecessary delays in the application process.


Arrange an Agreement in Principle (AIP)

AIPs are offered by many lenders as a conditional offer of acceptance. If you have this in place in advance of your purchase it will give confidence to the seller and their estate agent that the sale will complete.

Applying for a mortgage and the admin that comes with it may seem like a stressful process but these few tips can hekp make the process easier.

To discuss your mortgage needs, get in touch. 

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTAGE

The latest Omnis 2019 Market Update can be downloaded here

Omnis 2019 Outlook

The average homeowner moving from a specific mortgage deal onto their mortgage provider’s Standard Variable Rate (SVR) could save more than £2,500 a year in interest payments simply by remortgaging.


SVR is the type of mortgage you’re most likely to revert to at the end of an introductory, fixed rate, discount or tracker deal. The rate you pay on SVR is set by your mortgage lender and doesn’t track the Bank of England Base Rate, which means you might not benefit from interest rate cuts and you could be exposed to interest rate rises. SVRs don’t come with the security of a fixed rate deal and your mortgage lender could choose to increase your rate at any time.

SVRs can also be quite expensive; on average those on SVRs pay an extra £211 a month compared to homeowners on a mortgage deal. This rises to as much as £727 a month in London, where house prices are significantly higher than the average.


On the plus side, SVRs can represent good value when interest rates are low and there are no exit fees. Even so, with a potentially sizeable saving to be made by remortgaging, it’s a wonder that around two million borrowers seem happy to stick with their SVR. Why?

Time to remortgage?

It’s important to regularly review your mortgage, as it can often make sense to transfer to a new deal - or even a different lender. Your decision to transfer will of course depend on your individual circumstances and the current rate you are paying. If your lender plans to increase its SVR, moving onto a new mortgage deal could save you money.
To discuss your remortgaging options, please get in touch.

 

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

 

 

A report by Legal and General* has found that, on average UK employees could be on the breadline in just 32 days.

Whilst no-one wants to think, what would you do if the worst was the happen but if you were to fall critically ill or lose your job, could you still afford your lifestyle?

Research undertaken by Legal and General showed that if employees lost their main source of income due to long-term sickness or critical illness they’d be on the breadline in a month. 26% stated their current savings would last them a week or less. 

As consumers we would happily pay for insurance to cover valuables, iPads, mobile phones and our pets but not ourselves.

Income protection is something that could help you financially if you were unable to work from illness or injury or loss of earnings.

If you haven’t considered what would happen if you were just one month from being on the breadline then contact us for a no obligation financial review or Income Protection quote

 

 

*Legal and General Deadline to Breadline research 2017 https://www.legalandgeneral.com/adviser/general-insurance/campaigns/owl-financial/d2b.html

New research has suggested that UK’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are optimistic about the global economy and their role in it.  If this applies to you and you have built up a healthy balance sheet, you may be considering how you can release money from your business in a tax efficient way.

Most business owners are aware how they can do this through dividend payments or by paying a higher salary or bonus.  However, making a pension contribution may be something that you have not considered.  We believe this may be an effective tax efficient option for you and would be keen to discuss the benefits with you.

£40,000 is the limit for individuals on what can be paid into a pension each tax year, but this is reduced for anyone with an annual income which exceeds £150,000.

However, any pension contributions made by the company (rather than the individual) will normally reduce the business’s overall profit, meaning the amount of Corporation Tax is also reduced.  Unlike personal contributions, there is no limit on how much a company can pay into a pension scheme.

 

Please note, depending on the employee’s previous contribution history, there may be an annual allowance charge which we can calculate for you.

Both a short-term way of extracting profit and a long-term way of planning for retirement, paying into a pension is a great way to make the most of your business’s income.

 

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen

For specific tax advice please refer to an accountant or tax specialist

While homeowners can still benefit from low mortgage rates, savers will be struggling to enjoy any kind of growth on money they have on deposit, leading some to consider a riskier investment.

If you're considering investing in the stock market, one crucial and very personal issue is, quite simply, how you feel about the prospect of putting money at risk and your ability to accommodate any loss in value.

What's your appetite for risk?

It's a fact that risk and the potential for reward go hand in hand: Investments that are low in risk are low in potential reward, whereas the more risk you're willing to take with your money the greater the potential for reward.

Factors in determining risk

As investment advisers, we will consider a range of factors  when assessing your attitude to investment risk:

  • Age - how old you are may affect how you would like to invest, particularly the closer you get to retirement.
  • The need for emergency cash - you should always keep a certain amount readily accessible (for example, in a deposit account) in the event of an emergency or as a foundation for your longer-term savings and investment.
  • Can you afford to take a risk? - if your investments dropped in the short term, do you have the time to wait for them to recover?
  • Can you afford not to take a risk? - leaving all your money on deposit may carry minimal risk, but you may miss out on higher potential returns and possibly see the spending power of that money fall due to inflation.
  • Are there tax-efficient opportunities available - such as pensions or ISAs?

Devising an appropriate investment strategy

Once you are clear about the risk you need to take to reach your goals and you feel entirely comfortable with your risk profile, you'll need an investment strategy that is finely calibrated to deliver the results you’re looking for.

This is where a number of other key aspects of investment come into play:

  1. How to avoid the ‘eggs-in-basket’ principle. We can make sure your portfolio is invested across a range of assets in order that the positive performance of some neutralises the negative performance of others.
  2. Making sure that your money is in the hands of some of the best and most consistent investment managers in the business.
  3. Making sure you can give your investments time - the longer you can leave your investments in place, the more likely you are to cope with any short-term changes in market value.

Talk to us

As members of Openwork, one of the UK’s largest networks of financial advice businesses, we follow a clear and thorough process designed to clarify exactly what you need from your investments. We also have access to a meticulously researched and managed range of investments specifically designed to meet clients’ different needs.

Taken together, you will know not only that your money is in good hands, but also that given time, there is an increased level of probability that it will perform in line with your expectations.

Need advice?

Good investment advice involves building a clear picture of the results you're looking for, taking into account your current financial position, your future goals and your personal attitude towards the subject of investment risk.

Talk to us for expert advice.

The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

The week featured here is 23 – 27 October 2017; a period that saw a number of important global events.

Toni Meadows, Chief Investment Officer of the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service
“My day-to-day work life is broadly split into two roles. One is to monitor and keep in close contact with the managers of the Omnis funds range, while the other is to lead the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service. This is where my team allocates money across the individual Omnis funds according to the risk preferences of the investors whose money we are responsible for.”

Monday
An early start and my first port of call is to check what has happened overnight in Asian markets given Sunday’s Japanese general election. Stock markets reacted well to president Abe’s victory, which is good news for our Omnis Asia Pacific Equity Fund. We check in with the fund manager at Baillie Gifford to see how he reacted and his views on the implications of the result.

The team gets together in the afternoon for our quarterly analyst meeting. While we meet formally every week, this is an extended discussion and our chance to talk in real depth about how we are investing in each of the Omnis funds, as well as upcoming meetings and changes to the global economic environment.

Tuesday
The morning starts with a call with Schroders, who manage the Omnis UK Equity and Omnis Global Bond funds. Of interest to us today is how the funds may be impacted by upcoming policy meetings by the world’s big central banks, one of the tasks of which is to set interest rates.

Later that day, our attentions turn to the US where we recently changed the manager of the Omnis US Equity Fund. We are in regular contact with the new manager T. Rowe Price to get an update on performance, buys and sells within the fund and investment outlook for the country.

Wednesday
Given the amount of client money we manage, it is no surprise we are often invited to various high-level conferences and events hosted by top investment strategists and economists. Today I attend Pimco’s Global Advisory Board summit with fascinating speeches from the likes of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ex-US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, and Jean-Claude Trichet, who was president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011.

From that, I rush back to the office for the Openwork Investment & Proposition Committee, another valuable safeguard for investors, where I am tasked with running through our investment choices for senior directors and non-executives.

Thursday
Much of today is spent with advisers. Having recently finished our Masterclass events, a series of roadshows meeting advisers up and down the country, I’ve scheduled some follow-up one-on-one meetings. As the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service is a relatively new proposition, it is important to outline exactly how the team works and the benefit we can bring to our investors.

In the afternoon, all eyes are on the European Central Bank, which intends to extend its bond-buying programme until at least September 2018.

Friday
After a busy week, it is good to spend some time catching up on research with notes from external economists. I also spend some time on Bloomberg screens, checking the progress of the Omnis funds and analyst notes on yesterday’s news.

As is often the case, I end the working week with plenty of questions buzzing around my head. What is the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates next week? And how might UK stocks and the pound react? While I am certainly looking forward to a relaxing weekend ahead, I can’t help but ponder what surprises wait for me on Monday.

If you'd like to know more about Omnis Investments and the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service, please get in touch.

Given the nature of social media and the millions of us who use it every day, you probably weren’t alone in posting pictures, videos and status updates showing off your recent Christmas presents and festive celebrations.

But did you stop to think that posting information like this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat could be advertising your property, your whereabouts and your latest expensive Christmas gadget to criminals, and potentially void your home insurance?

Counting the cost of burglary
There were 650,000 domestic burglaries in the 12 months to March 2017, costing, on average, £2,267 in stolen valuables and £566 worth of damage.

Figures also show that the number of claims relating to domestic burglary increases by a whopping 36% from November to March. This could be down to the longer nights providing more opportunities for criminal activity, and the likelihood of burglars finding expensive purchases and presents following the Christmas period.

Take a break from social media
If you suffer a break-in shortly after publishing your latest holiday snaps on social media, it could lead to your home insurance provider deciding you are partly at fault for advertising an empty property and this could affect your claim.

Are you vulnerable?
When assessing an application for home insurance, insurers are reportedly considering asking homeowners if they use social media, as the risk of over-sharing becomes more and more common. If you use social media and think it could affect your home insurance, consider taking the following steps to reduce your risk:

  1. Turn off location-based services on the social media accounts you use
  2. Never share your home address on social media
  3. Make your posts private so that only your friends and connections can see them

It also makes sense to review your home insurance cover, especially after Christmas or birthdays when you may have bought or received expensive items.

If you’re concerned you may not have the right type of cover, or you think you might be underinsured, please talk to us.