Monday, June 1, 2020

How Life Disrupts Even The Best Financial Plans

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Most people know what they have to do to give a better financial future, but life just gets in the way and thwarts their plans.

Some of these obstacles are to do with money, while others are related to wellbeing or lifestyle.

While jumping on the property ladder is often a priority for the younger generation, jumping off is just as important for those in retirement.

But their ability to do so is hampered by many circumstances beyond their control.

Psychological barriers lock many over 55s into staying in the family home.

Clearing out the stuff that accumulates over the years is like ripping out memories and throwing them away.

Choosing what memories to throw away

How does someone choose what to get rid of and what to keep from five or more decades of experiences?

Then come friends and other community links.

People get used to living in one place for a long time. It’s like putting on a comfortable jumper.

Ripping up roots and moving is not quite the same, however nice the neighbourhood and new home.

That’s if the right house in the right place is available on the market – and then the selling and buying prices have to be right to release the cash to make downsizing worthwhile.

Many downsizers also forget to factor in the impact of tax on their retirement plans.

Downsizing doesn’t work

Selling is generally tax free if the property is a main home, but buying takes a slab of cash for stamp duty.

A typical average home worth £211,000, according to the Office of National Statistics, attracts stamp duty of £1,720.

Selling a buy to let or second home will add capital gains tax into the equation.

Research shows how difficult downsizing really is – the Joseph Roundtree Foundation found 85% of home with three or more bedrooms were released due to death rather than selling up to buy a smaller property.

“It is no surprise that there are significant levels of ‘under-occupation’ of large family homes in rural areas in particular, as elderly couples and widows/widowers go on living in a home which appears to be far in excess of their needs but who have been unwilling or unable to ‘trade down’ to a house in the same community that would be more appropriate for their needs,” said a downsizing on retirement report recently published by pension provider Royal London.

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