pension

Savings and investment help from Hargreaves Lansdown

If you are trying to save for your retirement, or just for a rainy day, it can be difficult to understand what your options are and what is best for you. Should you get an ISA (Individual Savings Account), or a SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension)? What are the pros and cons of each, and why might you open a savings account instead?

Fortunately, Hargreaves Lansdown have created a series of guides intended to help you make the most of your savings – the guides are free to download, all they ask is that you provide some registration details. If you would like to know more about investing for the future and the tax benefits of doing so, try their introduction to SIPPs, or the beginner’s guide to ISAs.

Also of interest to readers of The Salary Calculator might be the calculators on Hargreaves Lansdown’s site which can help you plan for your retirement.

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Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 Investments, Savings No Comments

None of the content on this website, including blog posts, comments, or responses to user comments, is offered as financial advice. Figures used are for illustrative purposes only.

Budget 2016

Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver his annual budget to the Houses of Parliament. We have already heard about some possible announcements (such as the introduction of a scheme to help people increase their savings), and we have been told that there will be no changes to pension tax relief (which looked likely, for a while).

From 6th April, the new tax year means changes to tax-free personal allowances, tax thresholds and the like. The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest values so you can see what your payslip will look like from April onwards. The personal allowance has been increased to £11,000 per year, which will reduce the tax due for most people. There are changes to National Insurance this year, too – since it is no longer possible for a pension to be “contracted-out” (earning a reduction in NI contributions), those of you who had one of these pensions will be paying the full NI contributions from 6th April.

If you would like to see how these changes will affect you, head over to The Salary Calculator to see what difference it will make to your payslip!

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2016 Tax rates available!

The Salary Calculator has been updated with the latest tax rates, which take effect from 6th April 2016 – so you can now see how the changes will affect you. Just head over to The Salary Calculator – 2016 take home pay calculator, enter your details and remember to choose the “2016/17” tax year in the drop-down box.

The tax-free personal allowance has been increased by £400, which will reduce the amount of tax most people pay. However, from April 2016 those who have been paying into a pension scheme which is “contracted out” of the additional state pension will find that their National Insurance contributions go up. This is because from April it will no longer be possible to contract out of the pension, so the National Insurance reduction that this gave you no longer applies.

You can try out the 2015 and 2016 take home comparison calculator and see side-by-side how your payslip is likely to change in the new tax year.

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Salary Sacrifice and charitable giving

A new update to The Salary Calculator allows you to enter deductions which were previously not available. Among the usual options is one for Salary Sacrifice, if you have contractually agreed to reduce your salary by a certain amount in exchange for receiving some other benefit. There are also new options for pre-tax deductions such as Gift Aid and Give As You Earn and after-tax deductions which are just taken out of your payslip each month.

Salary Sacrifice is often used for pension contributions, but The Salary Calculator already has an option for Salary Sacrifice pensions under the “Pension” tab where you can enter a percentage of your salary to be deducted. If you prefer to enter the monthly (or annual) £ amount that you are sacrificing, you can leave the pension field blank and enter the £ amount in the “Salary Sacrifice” tab. Alternatively, you might be making a salary sacrifice for benefits other than a pension (or in addition to a pension) – in which case just enter the amount you’ve sacrificed into the new field.

The “Other Deductions” tab has two new fields on it. One is for pre-tax deductions, like Gift Aid or other charitable contributions like Give As You Earn. The second is for after-tax deductions – i.e. an amount deducted from your take-home pay each month with no impact on your tax or National Insurance.

Head over the The Salary Calculator to check out these new options. I hope you find these new options useful – if you have any feedback or thoughts (or suggestions for other things to be added), please let me know!

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Salary sacrifice and personal pensions

For many years, The Salary Calculator has allowed you to enter a percentage of your salary to be deducted as contributions to a pension. However, only employer (or occupational) pensions have been supported. Now, the calculator has been updated to allow you to specify whether your contributions are to an employer pension (as before), a salary sacrifice scheme, or a personal pension.

These three different types of pensions have different regulations applied to them, which means they affect your take-home pay in different ways. Your income tax, National Insurance contributions and even student loan deductions might be different depending on the type of pension scheme you are paying into. More information about the different pension types is on The Salary Calculator “About” page.

Choose the “Pension” tab on The Salary Calculator to see the new options and see how it affects your take-home pay!

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