Use it or lose it! Don’t miss out on this year’s tax-efficient opportunity
Placing money in companies that bring positive change
Issues such as climate change and sustainability have become increasingly hot topics globally and often the subject of conversation. As a result, Environmental, Social and Governance-linked (ESG) investment strategies continue to dominate financial headlines.
Focus on what you can control
The deep global economic shock and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made everyone rethink their finances and investments, making it clear that financial security is more important than ever to our overall well-being.
Investing for income, growth or a combination of the two
Creating and maintaining the right investment strategy plays a vital role in securing your financial future. But we live in the era of the 24-hour news cycle. Human tendency is to prioritise negative over positive news content, and no one is immune from bad news. So as an investor, when you do get it, how do you process the information, deal with it and move on unscathed?
How to make the most of the various pension allowances
Saving into a pension is one of the most tax-efficient ways to save for your retirement. Not only do pensions enable you to grow your retirement savings largely free of tax, but they also provide tax relief on the contributions you make.
Don’t get distracted from staying focused on your investment goals
Investment market swings can be unnerving, but they shouldn’t distract you from staying focused on your financial goals.
Periods of market volatility, like whose we’ve seen over recent months, will undoubtedly be unsettling times for most investors. The risks of incurring losses can make holding investments difficult to bear, with the temptation being to sell out and cut your losses. But volatility is part and parcel of investing.
Increased investor focus on environmental, social and governance considerations
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues continue to be a priority for many investors. Your values define you. But do your investments reflect who you are?
Increasingly investors are urging companies to build ESG considerations into their long-term strategy, bringing it up during engagements and using shareholder proposals to force companies to take action. Investing sustainably means putting your money to work on issues ranging from adapting to and mitigating climate change, improving working conditions and diversity, to tackling inequality.
Policy of engagement
Recent research has identified that nearly three quarters of women aged 40 and over would divest their pension from companies with poor pay practices, led by 74% of female ‘boomers’. A majority of men of the same age group agree but younger women are split 50:50.
By contrast, many Millennials want to divest their pensions from the fossil fuels industry. Half (49%) of all age groups prefer a policy of engagement before divestment.
An overwhelming majority of older women would divest their pension from investments in companies with poor pay and governance practices. Women aged 40 and over are much more likely than men of the same age group to agree with such steps, with a slimmer 59% majority of men of the same age willing to do the same.
Within the older female age group, 74% of female ‘baby boomers’ and 73% of women belonging to ‘Generation X’ would invest less, or not at all, if they knew their pension was invested in companies that have attracted criticism for their governance and pay practices. However, younger women are split on the issue. Only half of millennial women would follow the same policy of cutting out these companies from their pensions.
Revealing clear and generational differences the findings highlight a strong contrast between the relative importance of ESG issues to older generations and the views of younger people, who are more focused on climate issues.
Millennials were more likely than any other generation to want to reduce their exposure to the fossil fuel industry, despite any potential consequences. Even if there was a resulting performance impact, 45% of Millennials would opt to divest their pension from fossil fuels. This compares to 30% of Generation X, while Baby Boomers (at just 23%) were half as likely as Millennials to divest from fossil fuels regardless of the investment outcome.
Including a further 41% of Millennials who would only divest from fossil fuels if it didn’t impact investment returns, a combined 86% of millennials would choose to divest their workplace pension from fossil fuels if it would have no negative impact on their pension.
But several of Britain’s top pension funds say they would have lost hundreds of millions of pounds had they sold out of oil and gas stocks in recent years, highlighting a potential cost to scheme members as funds face pressure to help fight global warming.
Reuters contacted 47 of Britain’s largest pension funds, with 33 saying they were not divesting from fossil fuels. Some highlighted the potential impact on returns, and their preference to engage with oil and gas companies as reasons.
Across all age groups nearly half of all adults (49%) would prefer a policy of engagement to encourage change, before divesting. It is also notable that only half of respondents were already aware of the types of investments within their workplace pensions, implying many more may not be aware of possible inconsistencies between these investments and their own beliefs.
Investments with social impact
More and more, investors want to invest sustainably: they want to combine investing for a financial return with a positive contribution to the environment, society or both. Whether you’re just curious about what options are available to you, or if you’re strongly opposed or for certain investment options, please contact S4 Financial on 01276 34932 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
 Research from Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) conducted by Watermelon Research (fieldwork): 22–29 October 2019 consisting of 1,000 interviews (online) with UK adults between the ages of 25 and 65, who have a workplace pension and work in the private sector.
INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS.
ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM, TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS MAY GO DOWN AS WELL AS UP, AND YOU MAY GET BACK LESS THAN YOU INVESTED.
Successful life planning also requires a significant degree of financial planning
We spend our lives planning our next holiday, for a family, buying a property, funding a child’s education and for the day we retire. So then why is it that some people seem to have the ability to live the life of dreams and pass on their wealth to the next generation when others are faced with huge tax bills, the prospect of selling their home or worried about healthcare costs?
Staying invested and giving your money the greatest chance to grow
Perhaps the most common investment advice is to stay invested. But with markets being so volatile, the ease of sticking to that advice has been sorely tested in 2020. Even though we’ve seen global markets bounce sharply from their March lows, understandably there will still be those investing for retirement who remain worried and wonder what the best approach is for the remainder of the year and beyond.