As the years go by most of us take on more responsibility and liabilities, perhaps we buy a house and take on a mortgage, we have a partner and maybe children. In order for the financial plan to work you have to keep saving and there may now be moments when it looks almost impossible. So, here are a few ways to cheat
First Cheat – redefine the definition of 10% but only for the lean years. In the past we have defined 10% as being 10% of pay – now you could reduce your pay by the cost of the mortgage and the children so your saving are based on a low figure – but only do this if you have to and only for as long as you have to.
Second cheat – talk to your employer and see if he is prepared to treat your pension contribution as a salary sacrifice. This means that if you are a higher rate taxpayer you will receive immediate 40% tax relief and there will be a small saving on your national insurance contributions
Third cheat – if you as a couple and find yourselves in a position where you are losing child benefit or having to pay tax on it, you may need to seek some advice because by increasing your pension contribution you may be able to secure the child benefit and thereby have an increase in family spendable income and as a result you can maintain the savings plan
Fourth cheat – take money from the emergency fund and move to the ISA fund on a monthly basis – this is more tax efficient and keeps up the savings. However remember not to let the emergency fund go too low
Fifth cheat – talk to your parents. If your parents are retired they will obviously be aware of their need for long term security. However, they may be happy to help out. They may for example not be aware that they can make a contribution into your pension fund and you will get the tax relief. Any one can give away £3,000 per annum free of Inheritance Tax that amount could be placed into your pension plan and the Government would uplift it by 20% giving relief of £750. They would not need to commit to this as an ongoing arrangement, they will simply make the contribution as a single payment.
If your parents are well off financially you could consider discussing with them utilising the gifts out of normal expenditure rule. This rule means that if they make regular gifts to you out of income and they can still maintain their standard of living then there is no Inheritance Tax to pay on such gifts. These gifts could be used to help fund regular savings into a pension plan or to help with the costs of the children thus releasing income for you to place in your savings plan
On a similar theme, if your parents can be sown a cash flow indicating that there wealth is sufficient to support them through retirement, they may be prepared to consider lifetime gifts of capital to you at this important point in your life