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The Importance of Protecting and Protecting What’s Important

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Costa del Sol, Life Assurance, Spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 1st December 2016

01.12.16

Life Assurance is not the most popular of topics, as no-one wants to think about dying!

Most people have mortgages, loans, household bills, perhaps education fees, the payment of which is totally dependant on the income of the “bread winner”. Most Life Assurance policies are taken out to replace that income should the bread winner die or where there are children in a family to cover the life of the housewife/husband.

If your partner died, would you give up work to look after your children? A Life Assurance policy can provide the funds necessary to employ a carer/housekeeper.

Business partners too are financially dependant on each other. Should one of the partners in your company die, Life Assurance can provide a lump sum payment to buy the shares from the widow/er and help with the costs of finding new staff.

So, how much life cover do you need?

Employer schemes generally provide 4 times the annual salary but in order to provide sufficient capital to fully protect the financial future of a family, most Financial Advisers would recommend between 5 and 10 times the annual salary.

And how much will it cost?

The cost of Life Assurance varies according to age, medical history and family history etc. To find out more about this or other financial planning subjects call Pauline Bowden now on 95 289 0383 for a free confidential and personal consultation.

Warning – UK Pensions

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Defined benefit pension scheme, Pensions, Retirement, Spain, Uncategorised, United Kingdom
This article is published on: 25th September 2016

25.09.16

In the UK the FCA and HMRC have been making frequent changes to Pension rules and the way pensions are taxed. It has been for this reason that many clients have moved their pensions out of the UK. Now with BREXIT around the corner I suggest we may see even more changes.

Transfers out of most public sector schemes have been stopped– but not all, yet! That means that many former public sector workers; Teachers, Civil Servants, Nurses, Doctors, and many Local Government officers, have been unable to transfer their pensions.

More than 100 company pension schemes in the UK are in deficit i.e. they do not have enough money in them to pay out the expected benefits. Some schemes are good and have sufficient funds. Is yours?

In the past our firm have often advised clients to leave defined benefits schemes (final salary schemes) where they are as they usually provided a guaranteed income. Now that view is changing.

Transfer values are at a high at the moment because gilt returns are very low. This is the time to review your pensions before rules are changed yet again. There may only be a short window of opportunity to make sure you can take control over your existing pension funds.

Make sure you review your personal situation BEFORE article 50 is invoked i.e. before the UK start the process of leaving the EU. It is important to find out if your pension pot sitting in the UK is safe and well-funded.

A consultation with me is free. It will cost you nothing but time – I do not charge for a consultation. Although, I might let you pay for the coffee!!!

Timing the markets

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Costa del Sol, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain, Uncategorised, wealth management
This article is published on: 29th August 2016

29.08.16

Staying the course

Every market cycle has both up days and down days. Often, a few very good days account for a large part of the total return. Staying the course ensures that investments will be “in” the market on the good days. Some people try to time market movements by selling stocks when they think the market is about to decline and by buying stocks when they think the market is about to rise. Resist being a market timer. By trying to time the market, you potentially miss out on market rallies that could substantially improve your overall return and long-term wealth. Thus, what’s most important is not timing the market, but rather time IN the market. Staying the course when confronting difficult markets may prove very rewarding in the long run. Consistently predicting which days will move in which direction, though, is virtually impossible and can be very costly.

Diversifying your portfolio

Diversification may reduce the overall volatility of your entire portfolio, thereby helping you achieve greater long-term returns. It is important to remember, however, that diversification does not protect against loss in broadly declining markets. Like markets in general, different investment styles come in and out of favour in Cycles Rather than trying to predict which investment is likely to be the best performer in the future, investing in a well-diversified portfolio can help you to seek returns whilst managing for volatility. Diversification strategies may be especially important in a volatile market environment, when sector rotations and market fluctuations happen continuously.

The Importance of Protection and Protecting What’s Important

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Costa del Sol, Life Assurance, Spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 25th August 2016

25.08.16

Life Assurance is not the most popular of topics, as no-one wants to think about dying!

Most people have mortgages, loans, household bills, perhaps education fees, the payment of which is totally dependant on the income of the “bread winner”. Most Life Assurance policies are taken out to replace that income should the bread winner die or where there are children in a family to cover the life of the housewife/husband.

If your partner died, would you give up work to look after your children? A Life Assurance policy can provide the funds necessary to employ a carer/housekeeper.

Business partners too are financially dependant on each other. Should one of the partners in your company die, Life Assurance can provide a lump sum payment to buy the shares from the widow/er and help with the costs of finding new staff.

There are two main types of Life Assurance:

  • Term Assurance. This pays a lump sum on death or diagnosis of terminal illness within a set period of time. Often used for mortgage protection/family protection.
  • Whole of Life. This pays out whenever you die. Often used for Inheritance Tax, funeral expenses or for family protection.

So, how much life cover do you need?

Employer schemes generally provide 4 times the annual salary but in order to provide sufficient capital to fully protect the financial future of a family, most Financial Advisers would recommend up to 10 times the annual salary.

And how much will it cost?

The cost of Life Assurance varies according to age, sex, medical and family history etc.
To find out more about this subject call Pauline Bowden now on 95 289 0383 for a confidential and personal consultation.

Where there’s a Will

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Costa del Sol, Inheritance Tax, Residency, Spain, Succession Planning, Tax, Uncategorised, Wills
This article is published on: 7th June 2016

07.06.16

Many people avoid drawing up wills because it requires them to contemplate their own mortality. If you are a foreigner with property and/or other assets in Spain, you should make a Spanish will.

You should also have a will for each jurisdiction within which you hold assets. For example, if you have a bank account in Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Jersey etc, you also need a will in that country.

Each of these wills needs to clearly state that they are for the disposal of assets in that country only and that you want your will to be governed by UK/ other EU country law. Only if you state this, will that disposal of assets be governed by your own national law and not that of Spain.

It is now possible to have your Spanish will made out in two columns. One side in Spanish and the other in English. This is checked by a Notary Public and signed by you, the Notary and your interpreter, if your Spanish is insufficient for you to read the Spanish side of the document yourself. The Testamento Abierto (Open Will) is kept by the Notary, an authorized copy will be given to you and the Notary will send a notification to the Registro Central de Ultima Voluntad in Madrid.

It is important to discuss with your legal or financial adviser in Spain, details of the heirs named on your Spanish will. The more direct descendants that are named in your Spanish will as heirs, the less the Inheritance Tax you should have to pay.

Unlike the UK and many other countries, in Spain it is the person receiving the inheritance that is taxable, NOT the deceased person’s estate.
There are many differences between the UK law and Spanish law on Inheritance and Gift tax and although the UK and Spain have many reciprocal arrangements for double taxation, there is no such arrangement for Inheritance Tax.

To die intestate (without a will) in Spain, makes the process of sorting out the deceased’s estate much more time consuming and costly. For the sake of a small amount of money and an hour of your time, you can leave your affairs in order, to help those left behind.

Working in Gibraltar but living in Spain

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Gibraltar, Income Tax, Residency, Social Charges, Spain, tax advice, tax tips, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 3rd June 2016

03.06.16

Thousands of people cross the border from Spain to Gibraltar every day to go to work. Many of these people feel that they are in a kind of “Limboland” because they are not fully part of either state’s systems. Even though they pay tax and social security to the Gibraltar government, they are not entitled to free education for their children, nor automatic free health care. If they do not pay tax and social security in Spain, they are not always entitled to the facilities in that country either.

Contrary to popular belief, the two countries do co-operate in many areas. Social security and health care are areas of great co-operation between the two. They also have a reciprocal arrangement for income tax.

Each individual working and paying social security in Gibraltar can elect for those payments to be transferred to their local social security office in Spain. It is a fairly easy procedure, in that you go to the social security office in Gibraltar and ask to fill in the form to transfer your social security payment to the seguridad social of your area of residence. The Spanish office then send confirmation of receipt of payments and issue you with a Spanish social security card.
You are then entitled to Spanish state health care, unemployment benefit, sick pay etc, and once enough contributions have been made, the Spanish state pension.

Many people worry that if they do this, then they would not be entitled to any health care in Gibraltar should they have an accident or fall ill while at work or visiting Gibraltar. Gibraltar is part of the European Union’s health care system and once you have your Spanish social security card, you can go to your local officina de seguridad social and ask for a “Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea” which is produced on the spot once a check is made to ensure that your social security payments are up to date in Spain. This card is valid in all EU countries and Switzerland (including Gibraltar).

To be fully legal, if you live in Spain for more than 183 days in any one year, you should also make a tax return in Spain. Unless you are a high rate tax payer in Gibraltar then you should have no more tax to pay. All it will cost you is the Gestor’s fee for submitting your annual tax return.

Retirement Benefits

By Pauline Bowden - Topics: Costa del Sol, Pensions, QROPS, Retirement, Spain, Uncategorised
This article is published on: 21st April 2016

21.04.16

For people in all walks of life, retirement can be an uncertain prospect. At the very least it raises all kinds of questions concerning personal financial stability and the maintenance of living standards.

For those whose work takes them to a number of different countries during their career, the uncertainty is increased.

Until recently, retirement plans have traditionally offered a restrictive and inadequate package which was expensive to implement and complicated to arrange.

Most people require a simple yet flexible retirement benefits package, offering the possibility of a secure and prosperous retirement. An investment programme that allows you to decide exactly what you want and when you want it, how much and which type of protection you feel is appropriate for your own personal circumstances.

A plan where you can have the flexibility to take it with you from employer to employer and country to country, where you can increase or decrease or even temporarily suspend payments. You want to choose at what age you wish to retire and choose how you wish to receive your money upon retirement.

Flexibility and choice are the key words to most people when they start a retirement plan. Gone are the days when you worked for one company for 40 years, religiously paying into the company pension scheme. It is each individual’s responsibility to make sufficient provision for their retirement and which route to take to achieve future financial security can be a complicated search of bewildering facts and figures when comparing products available.

To get personal and confidential advice regarding your retirement provision, it is necessary to discuss your own individual future financial needs, together with your full financial planning objectives.