One in three retirees will have to rely on the state pension


The Financial Conduct Authority recently carried out research1 into the financial arrangements of just under 13,000 consumers in the UK. The results make for worrying reading. One of the findings that really stands out is that 31% of UK adults have no private pension provision, meaning they may have to rely solely on their state pension in retirement.

The report highlights that many people find pensions very confusing and have no idea what they will have to live on when they retire. The full state pension is currently £159.55 per week, but is only available to those who have a complete record of National Insurance contributions. The study also revealed that only 35% of 45 to 54-year-olds have given serious thought to how they will manage in retirement. The sad fact is that the longer people leave it before addressing their pension needs, the harder it is to achieve a reasonable level of income in retirement.

Putting pensions into perspective

Pensions auto-enrolment has been a very positive initiative that has resulted in far more young people paying into a pension than ever before. However, if workers only put in the minimum amount, this is unlikely to be enough to build up a sizeable pension.

The self-employed often regard their business as their pension, or say that they plan to keep working as long as possible. However, this is a high-risk strategy, as they might not find a buyer when they want to sell, or may find that ill-health prevents them soldiering on.

So, if you’re self-employed, an employee, work part-time, run your own business or have accumulated pension pots with past employers, we can offer you advice about saving for a pension. After all, retirement should be an enjoyable and fulfilling stage of life, not a time spent worrying about money.

Pensions don’t have to be confusing – at Platinum we take the pressure off and don’t bombard you with unnecessary jargon or terminology but we guide you through the process. Call us now on 0161 718 8328 to arrange an initial meeting.

1FCA, Financial Lives Survey, Oct 2017



Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are a great way to invest free of tax on the income and any capital gains. The amount you can put in each year has gradually increased. A growing number of people are becoming ‘ISA millionaires’ as a result of rising stock market prices, and the steady increase in the annual ISA allowance.

Generous Annual Limits

The allowance for the 2017-18 tax year is set at £20,000, meaning that couples can put away up to £40,000. Sadly, it seems that the ISA message hasn’t filtered through to everyone. HMRC has produced data that shows only two thirds of those earning more than £150,000 a year use up their ISA allowance each year.

With pension contributions subject to annual and lifetime limits, ISAs represent an excellent way of topping up retirement income, although the cash or shares could be subject to inheritance tax on death, unlike the types of pension that can be passed on to beneficiaries more tax-efficiently.

Making it to a million

If you were able to invest your full ISA allowance in a stocks and shares ISA every year, the ISA limit increased by around 2% each year, and your investments made an annualised return of 5% after fees, you too could join the elite band of ISA millionaires in 22 years (purely an example for illustrative purposes). Of course, we must underline that this is not guaranteed, because stock markets can and do go down as well as up.

Planning for the future

If you’re planning to invest this tax year, it’s a good idea to put plans in place as early as possible. The longer your money is invested, the more time it has to produce tax-free returns.

You can’t carry any unused ISA allowance into the next tax year, so don’t risk missing out on the valuable tax breaks available. We can help you investigate the choices on offer, and help ensure you use your allowance wisely.

Taking financial advice

It is essential to seek financial advice for tax planning purposes as you save for your future. On the run up to the tax year end we welcome you to get in touch for a financial review to ensure you have taken advantage of tax incentives available to you.

We look forward to working with you.


With the New Year fast approaching – why not start thinking about your 2018 finances?

A successful financial strategy means not leaving your saving and investments to chance so our Top Ten Financial Planning Tips are:

Consider your goals

Review your short and long-term financial goals – are they still relevant and attainable?

Consider your Inheritance Tax (IHT) position

You don’t need to be wealthy to find your estate liable to Inheritance Tax (IHT), taking advice can ensure your heirs don’t pay too much tax

Save more!

With the tax-year end approaching you still have time to use your ISA allowance

Revisit your mortgage

If you haven’t reviewed your mortgage, there could be a better, more cost-effective deal available

Check your state pension position

Check your retirement date and the amount of state pension you will receive, go to the website

Have a will in place

Having a valid Will in place should be a top priority. If you die intestate your estate might not go to your nearest and dearest

Review your pension planning

Keep your pension planning under regular review to ensure you’re on track for a comfortable retirement, there’s valuable tax relief on offer too

Think about a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

With dementia and Alzheimer’s a major cause of death in the UK, more people are writing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Refresh your investment portfolio

Reviews of your investment portfolio are a good opportunity to take a closer look at the underlying assets

Review your protection policies

Life insurance and other forms of protection should form a vital part of everyone’s financial planning

We are happy to motivate you to set the ball rolling – contact us to arrange an initial meeting. There is no charge for this and it will be the first step to you taking control!

Our office number is 0161 718 8328 or you can contact us at

We look forward to hearing from you.

Autumn Budget 2017 Summary

In Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget, the second Budget of 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised that his Government would, “invest to secure a bright future for Britain”.

Despite much hype in the run up, the actual Budget was to some extent a non event, with no major changes.

The abolition of stamp duty for most first-time buyers was the most prominent announcement.  This, alongside a couple of other key announcements, are likely to impact on our clients.


Within his budget, Philip Hammond caught many by surprise by announcing the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £300,000 and in very high-priced areas, such as London, offering a stamp-duty exemption on the first £300,000 purchase price on properties valued up to £500,000; the additional amount up to £200,000 will incur 5% duty. To take effect immediately in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will not apply to Scotland, unless they decide to adopt the measure.


On the tax front, the income tax personal allowance will be increased to £11,850 with effect from April 2018, with the higher rate tax band threshold increasing to £46,350. (Rates and bands may differ in Scotland, where a Draft Budget is due on 14 December.)


The ISA savings allowance for 2018/19 will remain at £20,000. The allowance for JISAs and Child Trust Funds will be uprated in line with CPI to £4,260.


For the first time in seven years, April 2018 will see the pension lifetime allowance increase, by £30,000 to £1,030,000.

The basic State Pension will increase by the triple-lock formula. Therefore, April 2018 will see it rising by 3% (£3.65 per week) – for the full basic pension. The full new State Pension will, likewise increase via the triple lock by £4.80 a week.

If you have any questions about the Autumn Budget 2017 please do call us on 0161 718 8328.





In the first major study to be conducted since the introduction of the new pension rules in 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)1 reviewed the actions taken by pensioners who chose not to receive advice when accessing their pension pots. They flagged up several areas of concern.

Common mistakes

The FCA found that many people simply took the pension income drawdown that was offered by their pension operator, perhaps without realising that they would have been well within their rights to shop around to see if there was a better deal available from an alternative provider.

Before the introduction of the pension freedoms, 5% of drawdown plans were bought without seeking advice, but since the introduction of the new rules, this figure has risen to 30%. Drawdown can be complex in its operation, so taking advice that takes full account of a pensioner’s financial circumstances can help ensure that the right decisions about retirement income are taken. After all, retirement should be enjoyed and not endured; today’s pensioners can look forward to several decades in retirement and no-one wants to face the prospect of running out of money later in life.

The report also found that in 52% of cases where pension pots had been fully withdrawn, the money hadn’t been spent but had been moved into other savings and investments. Research by Citizens Advice showed that, in such cases, one in three put their entire pension savings into a bank account.

Pensioners who took this course of action risked paying too much tax, losing out on the possible but not guaranteed investment growth they could have enjoyed if they had left the money invested in their pension fund, and in some instances lost other benefits too.

Making the right choice

Today, pensions offer flexibility. However, freedom of choice brings with it the responsibility of making the right decisions. So, if you’re approaching retirement and would like some good advice, get in touch with us on 0161 718 8328 to arrange your financial review. There is no charge for our initial meeting and we are happy to meet with you at your home, workplace or in our office.

We look forward to hearing from you.



The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated.

1 FCA, Jul 2017

What does it cost to move house?

Moving can be an exciting but expensive time. Drawing up a budget will help you work out how much cash you will need for the fees you can expect to pay. The exact figure will depend on which rung of the housing ladder you’re on, whether you’re buying and selling, and which part of the country you live in.

There are costs involved with arranging a mortgage and your adviser will talk you through these in detail and confirm them in writing.

You’ll need a solicitor or a conveyancer to carry out the legal work. Typically, they will charge between £500 and £1,500, and will provide an up-front estimate of their fees. If you’re selling a property at the same time, you may be able to negotiate a package deal to cover both.

The cost of selling

If you’re buying, you don’t have to pay estate agents’ fees, but if you’re selling you can expect to pay a percentage fee which can range between 0.75% and 3%, plus VAT, of the agreed selling price of your home, depending on the type of contract you opt for. Alternatively, you can adopt the DIY approach and put your property onto a website, in which case your costs will be lower, but you’ll need to do a lot of the work yourself, including arranging viewings.

You should also consider getting a survey done to ensure you aren’t buying somewhere that could end up costing you a lot of money in repairs. Depending on the type you choose, you could be paying anything from £250 for a basic report to around £1,000 for a more detailed structural survey.

Then there’s stamp duty (Lands & Building Tax or LBTT in Scotland). This is payable on properties bought for over £125,000 in England and Wales and £145,000 in Scotland, and goes up in bands. For example, it would be £5,000 on a £300,000 property in England and Wales (0% on the first £125,000, 2% on the next £125,000 and 5% on the last £50,000). Don’t forget you may also need to book a removal firm, so there are a whole myriad of costs to budget for.

As a mortgage is secured against your home, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.

Our mortgage adviser Nick is happy to help guide you through the mortgage process. If you have any questions please contact him on 0161 718 8328.


Six personal finance facts we all need to know

Knowing your numbers can do wonders for your money, helping you plan and manage your finances effectively.

Your credit score

If you’re thinking about getting your first mortgage or remortgaging, then it’s important to know your credit score. If it’s not as good as it could be, take steps to improve it before you make your mortgage application.

The rate of interest you are paying on your mortgage

As the monthly mortgage repayment is often a family’s major outgoing, it’s a good idea to review your mor tgage from time to time, as there may now be a better deal to be had by remortgaging, especially if you’re currently paying interest at your lender’s standard variable rate.

Your state pension age and how much you will receive

The state pension age is increasing, so if you’re not sure when you’ll receive yours, you can check the date and get a forecast of the amount you’ll receive on the government’s website.

Where all your pensions are

If you’ve moved jobs a few times, the chances are you may have paid into several pensions. It’s important to know what your entitlements are; we can advise you whether you’d be better off transferring them into one scheme to cut down on administration and charges.

How much you can save into your ISA

The ISA allowance for 2017-18 is £20,000. Don’t pass up this important opportunity to save or invest tax-efficiently. We can help you choose the right ISA for your needs.

What the sum insured is on your home contents policy

Don’t risk being underinsured. If you don’t insure your possessions for the right amount, you could find your insurance company will reduce your payout if you make a claim. It may be time to increase your sum insured in line with the value of your contents.

If you need any help with any aspect of your finances please contact us to make an initial (no charge) appointment with one of our advisers 0161 718 8328.


Words from Martin Hood, Director at Platinum

Why do we love what we do?

We get a buzz from offering a great service by encouraging people to seek financial advice in order to achieve financial security for their future, with our help. It is important to us that we keep it simple and guide clients through the process in a relaxed manner, as it can be confusing and daunting.

What do we want people to know about us?

We want potential clients to understand that we are real people, genuine and trustworthy. We are approachable and interested in clients and not just their money, we make people feel comfortable and relaxed and are always available to answer any queries they may have.

What do our clients get from us?

Clients benefit from our expert knowledge of pensions and investments and we work with clients to help them plan for their future. They gain confidence that they are taking control of their finances and it gives them peace of mind that we are managing their affairs on their behalf on an on-going basis.

More about the future of Platinum

We encourage everyone who has existing pensions, savings and investment plans to consider how they plan to ensure their policies are kept on track. With clear goals for the future and regular reviews and planning, we help to ensure your money is doing what you want it to do.

We want to ensure that we continue to move forward and to work hard to aspire to be the best we can be now and in the future. It is important to us that our business and the people within it take time to continue to develop personally and professionally and that our clients will always remain at the centre of everything we do. This is reflected in our company values and weaves through everything we do.

You are welcome to contact us on 0161 718 8328 if you need any help with organising your finances or have any questions. We are always happy to help!

Coffee morning

Following the success of our last coffee morning, we are holding another one between 11am and 1 pm on Thursday November 16th 2017 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.

Pop the date in your diary and join us at our office on Marsland Road in Sale for coffee and cake and to meet the team.

If you have any questions, please call us on 0161 718 8328.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Who are we and what do we do?

At Platinum we focus on building lifetime relationships with our individual clients and their families and we cater for their changing needs at every stage of their life.

We have been offering independent financial advice to individuals and businesses for over 16 years. We always keep it simple and don’t bombard you with unnecessary jargon and terminology, providing you with the information you need and we stay on top of changes that matter and which affect your finances.

We are approachable and friendly and all members of our team are here to ensure you have an excellent experience that you can tell your family and friends about!

We offer financial advice on your personal matters including saving and retirement planning which covers Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) and personal pensions, Drawdown and annuities. In addition, we can help you with your savings and investment needs whether you are saving for growth or to provide you with an income in the future by investing in tax efficient vehicles such as Stocks and Shares ISA’s and investment bonds.

We also offer mortgage advice including re-mortgages and buy to let mortgages, in addition to giving advice on your personal protection including life assurance, critical illness cover and income protection.

At Platinum we also help you with your business related financial needs by giving advice on Shareholder Protection and Key Person Assurance as well as workplace pensions. We are happy to liaise with your accountant too regarding tax planning and your solicitor in connection with issues such as divorce settlements, pension sharing and setting up trusts.

We encourage everyone with existing pensions, savings and investments plans to consider how they plan to ensure their policies are kept on track. With clear goals for the future and regular reviews and planning you can ensure your money is doing what you want it to do.

If you would like to get your finances in order with our help, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on 0161 718 8328 to arrange your initial (no charge) meeting. Feel free to share our blogs with your family, friends and colleagues you think may benefit from our services.