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New year, new financial planning?

Posted in: Finance Last updated: 21 Dec 2015
Parent and child reviewing finances and using a calculator

There's nothing like packing away the decorations, contemplating a new year, and paying off your Christmas bills to focus the mind on making a few financial resolutions.

Personal finance planning is just that – a very personal thing. Everyone has their own priorities, incomes and family situations. But no matter what your individual circumstances, a good place to start is by familiarising yourself with the broader economic climate and, in particular, what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has planned for you.

So, as well as looking at the relevant parts of George Osborne's Autumn Statement 2015, we'll also remind you of those policies that have previously been announced, and are coming into effect from April.

Families

The headline-grabbing news from the Autumn statement was that the planned £4bn tax credits cuts would no longer happen. While families fearing this loss to their income will have heaved a sigh of relief at this U-turn, it may be relatively short-lived. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that 2.6m working age families will still lose an average of £1600 by the end of this parliament although there will be 1.9m who gain £1400 a year under Universal Credit.

For those with young children, the Autumn Statement laid out an increase in free childcare – for some at least. From 2017, if you have children aged between three- and five-years-old, you will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare if you're working more than 16 hours a week and earning less than £10,000.

Pensioners

This government has ensured its policies favour the older-aged citizen and that continued in the Autumn Statement. The state pension was kept in line with earnings with a 2.9% rise. This means it will increase by more than £3 to £119.30 per week from next April – this is the largest increase in 15 years.

In addition, the new 'flat rate' pension will start for new retirees and was set at £155 per week – although again, there are restrictions as to who is eligible for the full amount, depending on your private pension provision.

Savings

The broader economic environment has not been kind to savers over the past few years and little has changed with Osborne's recent announcements. The ISA allowance was frozen so will remain at £15,240 for adults, with the Junior ISA limit sticking at £4,080.

From April, the new personal savings allowance will be introduced. If your taxable income is less than £42,700 a year, the first £1000 of interest you earn on savings will be tax free; and for those earning between £42,701 and £150,000 a year, this tax-break will apply to the first £500 of interest. This means all interest paid to you will be gross from April. And finally, from April this year, the tax-free personal allowance will increase from £10,600 to £11,000 while the threshold for the higher tax rate of 40% will rise from £42,385 to £43,000.

So all-in-all whatever your circumstances it’s time to get ahead of your finances and start planning in earnest.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-and-spending-review-2015
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34919523
http://www.ifs.org.uk/tools_and_resources/budget/509
https://www.politicshome.com/economy-and-work/articles/story/ifs-26-million-families-will-lose-%C2%A31600-under-tory-welfare-plans