Things we don’t like to talk about:101 – An extra helping for the Overweight

Eat more, Drink more and Smoke: My advice for those looking to maximise their pension….

If you’re Overweight, Smoke, have high blood pressure or
other health issues, for once it’s a good thing, you might qualify for extra income from
your pension in retirement potentially up to 40% more!
According to the Association of British Insurers 1 in every
2 people who retire could qualify for an enhanced annuity. Which means they
could be losing out on extra income in their retirement by selecting a pension
from their existing supplier when they retire.

The Technical Bit


Usually* when we retire we have to buy a product called an
annuity, in simple terms this is where you give your pension savings to a
company and they promise to pay you an income for the remainder of your life.
We don’t like to talk about it, but this income is based on
statistics for life expectancy, and the healthier that you are the less money
you’ll get. The one time in your life that someone will say “Smoking is good for you” is when you
come to take your pension, the same is true of being overweight.
There are additional options that you can add such as an
income for your spouse if you die, or if you want your income to increase with
inflation each year. The starting income is based on the simple idea of a
guaranteed level income for the rest of your life and each option you choose
reduces the amount they will pay.  


Clearly you can suppose that different companies might want
to compete against each other to get your pension pot, by offering higher
incomes. In 1978 the government introduced the right to shop around for your
annuity, but unfortunately the statistics show that about 60% of people still
don’t shop around, a process referred to as using “Open Market Option” By
shopping around most people can typically get around 10 to 20% more income,
which rises to around 40% more if they qualify for enhancement.
Open Market Option is very simple, all you need do is
contact an Independent Financial Adviser, and they can check which options you
want and find out who will give you the most income. An independent financial
adviser can also see if you would qualify for enhanced annuities, statistically
almost 70% of retirees would have qualified. That’s a huge amount of money lost
each year, simply because of a lack of knowledge.
DALES Independent Financial Advisers, are independent financial
advisers in Newark and Nottingham and can offer Independent retirement advice
on taking your pension. Why not call DALES today to see how much more pension
income you could get, through Open Market Option?
T: 0333 772 9607, T: 0115 832 0265 (Nottingham) or T:01636
87 00 69 (Newark). E:
*Until 6th April 2011 everyone was forced to buy
an annuity by the age of 75, now there is an alternative, but it involves risk
and is not suitable for most people, for most people buying a “pension” when
they retire is still going to be in effectively mandatory as the alternatives
are unsuitable. Interestingly this is something that is in the news today, as
the Pension minister Steve Webb speaking at the party conference, admitted that
there are concerns that annuities may not be the right product for people in
retirement and said the government needed to tackle the issue.
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)
Philip Dales is principal at DALES Independent Financial
Advisers, based in Newark and Nottingham. He has been an adviser for over 16
years helping many clients with all aspects of financial planning, and
retirement. For more information on this or any other aspect of financial
advice contact t: 0333 772 9607.

The Real Cost of Cash

Why do we use cash so much for our investments? I think the main
reasons centre on the fact that it’s a safe investment.

But that’s not entirely the full picture….
Inflation is eating away at your savings or cash investments
every single day, inflation can wipe out its value just because its sitting in
a bank account.
Why: The Technical bit
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is 2.9% the very best Fixed
rate Cash ISA is 2.75% (Virgin Money 2.75% for five years fixed). Even with the
best Cash ISA you’re losing 0.15% each year. It gets worse if your money isn’t
in ISA’s as you’ll pay tax on the interest. The best non ISA savings bond is
3.5% (Skipton 3.5% fixed 7 years) take off tax (20%) you’re down to 2.8%, then
inflation and you are down to a loss of 0.1%.
All the above assumes you are using CPI index not the more
well known RPI which is higher at 3.3%, use this and the figures look somewhat
worse, add in that you could be a higher rate tax payer and the loss per year
is quite startling.
From 2002 to 2012 the total rate of inflation has been
37.80%, between 1992 & 2002 its been 27.22% and between 1982 and 1992,
If you invested £50,000 in tax-free cash savings in 2002 and
spent the interest (a common situation for older people who need to top up
their pensions) in 2012 you would have a sum worth £34,011 in real terms.
Interestingly the average interest rates over the same period
(source-Association of Building Society’s) is 3.91% so taking into account
inflation & interest you would have a miserable £650 extra in real terms,
if you hadn’t spent the interest.
Therefore Are Cash Investments & Cash ISA’s. SAFE?
Not against inflation that’s for sure, this demonstrates that
we should not use CASH for long-term investments. Short-term cash is ok; foregoing
growth or income because we intend to spend the money. But, for longer-term,
losing money each year against the costs of those items that you intend to buy
seems a little foolhardy to me.
What about for those topping up pension income? There are
two major problems facing people at present, inflation we have already
discussed, ignore inflation the interest rates themselves are insufficient to
maintain the income requirement for most and their lump sum is being eaten away
in real and actual terms. The current rates of return on cash investments are
simply insufficient.
Is there a solution?
Yes: The facts are longer term investments, such as fixed
interests, bonds, gilts and equities and there are more such as property, art,
fine wine, cars and antiques, which usually outperform cash. What’s the price of
a better return? RISK. I have always felt that it is a simple truism of life: That
the more risk one takes, the higher the potential for rewards, but like
Newton’s 3rd Law. With the higher potential for reward comes the
higher potential for loss. So like many other things in life, Investment Risk
is a balance. 
Look at these examples:
A house purchased at £50,000 in 2002 would have been valued
at £85,000 in 2012 – above inflation growth and it appears a fairly low risk
investment. Bricks and Mortar investments & Buy to lets are increasingly common,
but there are more risks associated with property than many realise – we can
offer buy to let advance and help in setting up your investment portfolio,
letting you understand the risks. (Source Nationwide house price index)
A Medium/ cautious risk fund such as the Invesco Perpetual
Monthly Income Plus – £50,000 invested in 2002 would now be worth around
£120,990. This is the gross amount, but there are many straightforward ways to
minimise the affect of tax on your investments, ISA’s for example are not
limited to just over £5000 per year currently in equity ISA’s you can invest
£12,520. Add this to a capital gains tax allowance each year and there is every
chance that the impact of tax would be significantly less than a
straightforward savings account. This fund mainly invests in Gilts, fixed
interests and bonds with currently 20% invested in equities, the fund is
available in a number of formats such as ISA’s and through many platforms.
(Source – Morningstar Fund Data)
A Higher risk fund (keeping with the same brand) is the
Invesco Perpetual High Income fund managed by the very highly regarded Neil
Woodford. If you had invested £50,000 in this fund 10 years ago, this would now
be worth – £168,475. With regard to tax and availability the same is true about
this fund as above. (Source – Morningstar Fund Data)
I have not taken inflation into account with the above
examples of the house, and the two funds for the simple reason that there is no
need its fairly clear that the effects of inflation will have some impact, but
all three examples out perform either the CPI or the RPI, and therefore you
would have kept your money or increased it.
Conclusions – Moderation in all things.
Is cash “A bit rubbish really” well yes it is if your
investing for the long term, don’t have any specific goals in mind or just need
an income, but cash investments do have a role to play within any portfolio of
investments. They give us a safety buffer, they are a safe place for money
that’s going to be needed, but for anything else investments of a different
type are necessary, investment advice is really worth seeking out to see how
you can reduce the impact of inflation on your savings and investments.  
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP&ER)
For more information or advice on Investments contact Philip
Dales at DALES Independent Financial Advisers: or go to our web
site or call our West
Bridgford office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 870 069
Important information.
The investment returns and any income can fluctuate, and
investors may not get back the full amount invested. Past performance is not a
guide to future returns. Where Philip Dales has expressed views and opinions
these may change and do not constitute a recommendation. For individually
tailored advice please contact either our West Bridgford (Nottingham) office
0115 832 0265 or our Newark office on 01636 870 069
Sources: All CPI and RPI data – Office of National
Statistics, Fund information – Morningstar, Savings & ISA rates– Moneyfacts.
Historical Average Savings rates – Association of Building Societies. House
price growth – Nationwide Building Society’s House price Index.
P N DALES LTD are regulated by the Financial Conduct
Authority: 496107.

First Time Buyers & Stamp Duty Land Tax

More Innovation for First Time Buyers

Stamp Duty Paid Mortgages 

Would you like someone to pay your stamp duty, perhaps you’ve saved up just enough for that nice shiny new house, but now have to set aside even more than you’d bargained for, to pay the tax man. 
Currently the rate for Stamp Duty is 1% on Properties valued at £125,001 through to £250,000, it doesn’t end there if the purchase price is higher the percentage increases, but for now lets assume that your buying between £125,001 and £250,000 as a first time buyer. 
So need a hand with your Stamp Duty, well Halifax’s new products may just be for you!
On Tuesday the 30th April Halifax will launch an innovative product range, of Stamp Duty paid mortgages for First time Buyers. Halifax will pay 100% of the Stamp Duty Land Tax due on selected products for first time buyers that fall into the 1% bracket (Purchase price between £125,001 and £250,000). 
There is a choice of products available, across the core range, Affordable housing, Help to Buy/ First Buy, NewBuy and MI New Home products. 
In essence the Stamp Duty Land Tax will be paid via a cash back arrangement, where the cash back is equal to the stamp duty, this will be paid to the conveyancer on completion.

Halifax have a wide range of products to suit most client types, and generally their rates are well placed within the market, criteria is consistent with their main competitors, so this offers a real opportunity to first time buyers, particularly when you consider that this is available on their Affordable housing, Home Buy/ First Buy, New Buy and MI New Homes scheme and their core range.

Full details of the new products are not available until tomorrow, but in the mean time this looks like a very positive step forward for First time borrowers, maybe now is the time to start looking at buying your first house!

Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)

For more information or advice on First Time Buyer Mortgages, Standard Purchases & Remortgages and other types of mortgages contact Philip Dales at DALES Independent Financial Advisers:, or go to our web site Nottingham office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 87 00 69.

The information above is for information purposes only, it does not constitute advice, for advice suitable to your personal circumstances please contact us directly and we will be happy to help.

For mortgages, P N DALES Ltd do charge fees, a typical fee for mortgage advice and processing is £350. 

DALES Independent Financial Advisers, Nottingham (West Bridgford) & Newark. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: 496107.

Mortgage Market Review & You


How will this affect you, the
As consumers you may or may
not be aware of the Financial Services Authority’s mortgage market review.  This was a review conducted by the FSA over
the last few years, of how the mortgage market conducts itself.  This review was heavily influenced by the
financial crash in 2008.  The FSA issued
the policy statement (PS12/16) and the final rules which will come into effect
on 26 April 2014.  However, in the
majority of cases, most lenders have anticipated these rule changes within
their criteria or have already put into force those items raised by these new regulations.  These new regulations fundamentally alter the
mortgage market for you as consumers. 
So, I would advise all consumers to make themselves familiar with some
of these new regulations.  The following
is an example of the type of changes and how it will affect you, but I would
suggest that the regulator is not regulating but defining the market.


An example of how these regulations
will affect you is a very lose term called responsible lending.  These terms are deliberately lose so that
each lender may interpret, and therefore be hung by, the regulations themselves.  So, how does it affect interest only?  The majority of lenders will now not accept
interest only in its strictest sense unless the loan to value is extremely
small and is backed up by investment products such as endowments.  Given the fiasco in the past over endowments
and miss-selling of endowments, in effect this kills the concept of an
endowment-linked interest only mortgage. 
Also these interpretations go further; in the past if you wanted an
interest only mortgage you would set up a repayment vehicle such as an
endowment or modern day an ISA at point of application.  However, these new changes preclude this as
the endowment or ISA needs to be existing prior to application.  This wasn’t even a requirement before the
endowment miss-selling scandal. 
Therefore again, killing new interest only, asset backed mortgage
applications.  Only those clients who have
been on interest only with asset baked provisions can obtain a new interest
only mortgage.  How about if you wanted
an interest only mortgage on the basis of selling your property to
downsize?  There are a handful of lenders
that will consider this but, of those, the majority will only accept the application
if you can prove that you either have 50% loan to value and/or sufficient
equity and capital resources to have over £150,000 at the end of the mortgage
term.  So, again, this kills the interest
only mortgage market.
But why is this a problem?  When comparing the financial benefits of a
repayment verses an asset backed interest only mortgage, or indeed resale of
property interest only mortgage, one should consider investment returns long
term versus interest rates and also house price increase on the basis of later
sale.  Right now, the Bank of England
base rate is ½% so I think most people would agree with me that we are in a low
interest period.  I think most people
would also agree that house prices are at an all-time low.  Also, one has to consider that if you were to
put £10,000 in a cash- based ISA you can achieve a return of 3 or 3½%.  One wold also suggest that if you were to put
your money in an equity based ISA whilst very volatile, again it would be fair
and reasonable to suggest that you would achieve 5% return in the medium to
long term.  So if these are compared,
clearly from a financial point of view it would be fair to suggest that an
asset based mortgage would be financially more astute than a repayment mortgage.  Classically, in a high interest rate period,
a repayment mortgage is better than as asset backed product on the basis that
one would have to achieve such high levels of growth to outperform the high
interest rate.  With this in mind I would
actually argue that, right now, interest only should not be being killed by the
regulator as it is a fully justifiable and potentially financially astute
repayment method, but if the only people that can have it are those detailed
above, ie those that have already had it, then the regulator is controlling the
market not regulating the market because, clearly, one should be allowed to
consider this type of arrangement.
If you would like more
information on how the mortgage market review may affect you or require
financial or mortgage advice please contact 01636 870 069 for your free
Philip Dales Dip PFS Certs
DALES Independent Financial
Advisors, are a whole of market mortgage broker and Independent Financial Advisors.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Market Leading Buy to Let Rates

101: Things we DO like to talk about. 

Buy to Lets. 

The Buy to let market can be a little intimidating, not many people know all that much about it, but in the currently depressed housing market a buy to let can be picked up quite cheaply.

With first time buyers finding it difficult to get on the mortgage ladder and buy their first home there is an ever increasing need for rented housing.

Locally in Newark and Nottingham there is very strong demand for rental properties in and around employment centres, with strong rents from incoming migrant workers unable to get on the mortgage ladder, with little or no deposit.

Buy to Let mortgages come in two basic flavours:

The first is the more difficult to get hold of, where the lender basis the loan not on the property but on the person borrowing. These are not the mainstream of buy to lets, but are often the best deals.

The much more common is the standard buy to let mortgage, where the mortgage is based on the properties ability to wash its own face, or rather that the rental is sufficient to pay the mortgage plus a small amount. Usually the calculation used by the lenders is 125%, in other words the rental assed by the valuer must be at least 125% of the mortgage payment based on a an interest only loan.

After this basic criteria there really is not much more to it, there are nuances for each lender, for example, some lenders will not accept any applications from first time landlords, whereas others have special deals for such. The Maximum number of properties available under one particular lender can vary widely with some lenders only allowing 3 properties to some allowing any number up to a total value of £3,000,000 or more.

There are a few other things to consider, usually buy to lets are not regulated buy the Financial Services Authority unless special conditions apply, such as the property will be let to a relative, and therefore some lenders will not consider this type of buy to let. However, in most circumstances this should not affect the manor of the advice you receive.

Currently the Market leading 2 year buy to let mortgage is 3.39% fixed until 31.08.2014 with a maximum Loan to Value of 60%. Which has been launched today, by one of the mainstream buy to let lenders.

Usually the maximum loan to value is 75%, meaning that the lenders usually expect you to be able to deposit at least 25%. However, there are executions to most rules and this is no different, some lenders do offer some schemes with an 80% Loan to value maximum.

Beware of the fees: Buy to lets tend to be slightly more expensive than standard mortgages, recently the interest rates for buy to lets have been running at what appear to be quite low interest rates but beware the fees on buy to lets can be high with some lenders charging percentage based fees.

Most lenders do not expect you to instruct an agent to run the property, just an Assured Short-hold Tenancy agreement with the tenant, which can be downloaded from the net or picked up from your local WHSmiths. This is a very standard landlord and tenant agreement protecting both of you.

There is also the possibility of Let to Buy, this is where you let out your existing property to enable you to purchase a new home as your main residence. Most buy to let lenders have special criteria and deals available for this type of buy to let. The big benefit of this type of arrangement is the ability to brake the chain and not have to sell off your property, given the current market this is a very viable option for most people to consider.

If you would like more information on Buy to Lets, Let to Buy’s, the 2 year deal mentioned above or other financial or mortgage advice, please contact us on 01636 870 069 for your free consultation.

Philip Dales Cert PFS Certs CII (MP & ER)

DALES Independent Financial Advisors, are a whole of market mortgage broker and independent financial advisors. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority.  The Financial Services authority do not usually regulate Buy to Let mortgages.



every woman ought to know…..
men and women are created equal, but some have been more equal than others.
The gender directive is meant to address
this and it does!
However, do we all want what is fair and
what we may have campaigned for, what have we done?
In our pursuit of equality have we got more
than we bargained for?
Statistically women live longer than men, therefore life and protection premiums cost us less than men!
We want to be equal so after the 21st Dec 2012 we will be.
Obviously in the interests of fairness and the politically correct times that we live in, us ladies will have to pay
the same as our men, gone will be the reduction that women have previously
enjoyed their life insurance and protection premiums will be the same.
Life premiums for women could rise as much
as 15%, what does this matter, because 59% of WOMEN don’t even have any life
This is a bit silly of us, ladies, he deserves life insurance and income
protection why don’t we?
Society dictates that she can and should earn as
much as him, be the domestic goddess, nurture the children and strive to be as
successful as any man, in fact 40% of women are the main earner*, her life and
salary really is as important as his. 
Advising Director)
Sources: National Statistics Online, March 2012, HM Treasury, DEC 2011,  Opinium research for Bright Grey,
Jan 2011
For more information or advice on Life Cover, Life Insurance – Life assurance and income protection contact DALES Independent Financial Advisers: at, or go to our web site Telephone: Nottingham office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 87 00 69

DALES Independent Financial Advisers, Nottingham & Newark. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority: 496107.

Things we don’t want to talk about 101 – Savings Plans

Thinks we don’t want to talk about 101 – Savings Plans

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with an unhappy Saver, not mine I hasten to add.

The gent in question had been saving regularly for 15 years. He was justifiably upset that after 15 years he was about to get less back at maturity than he had put into his savings plan over the whole term. It raises two questions:

  1. Our understanding of the risks we are taking
  2. The purpose of savings
  3. What if you had not started the plan in the first place?

I know that’s 3, but I’ve always been a fan of the Spanish Inquisition

Dealing with each point in turn.

1. What did you understand of the risks when you took out the plan? Did you expect any risks, did you understand the relationship between risk and reward.

Most of us take risks everyday and most are calculated risks based on our experiences. Usually we know, that generally the higher the risk the greater potential for reward but also at the same time we know the greater danger of failure or loss. We learn this as children whether it be stealing sweets from the pantry or showing off a new trick on your bike, before you’ve really nailed it.

2. The purpose of savings.

I know this sounds like a silly question, but I’m not sure if we really take much time to think about it when we set out to save. I wonder if sometimes we save just because we know we should. I think at present there are a lot of people saving because the media keeps telling us we’re all in trouble now, and that its all our fault for not saving enough.

3. Where would we have been if we didn’t save?

Now this requires a little latitude: forget for a minute that the Savings plan gave us less than we had put in, we’ll come back to it later.

If Mr A had not started two £25 pm savings plans, 15 years ago, would he now have £8,000? In my experience the simple answer is NO, and a resounding no at that. Therefore, from this sense it could be suggested that the savings plan has worked. Indeed if Mr A had placed £25 each into a Mr & Mrs A’s bank account each month would they have more? Theoretically yes, but this assumes he continues to pay the same money each month, and that he bit his lip every time he thought about how much it was worth, and every time he walked into a shop and saw a new shiny thing or needed a new car etc. etc.

The thing is Saving Plans have a place; they are fire and forget you start them well within your means, and they run for a specified time. You get a statement once a year, which you soon forget because to start with they are going to be worth very little. Then all of a sudden the years tick by and “Thump” a cheque lands on your door step. “Here is that money you forgot about”.

You see, the thing is, you don’t start saving because you can’t afford to and if you don’t start saving you don’t have any savings.

When you start to think about it most of us, yes I really mean most of us, can afford £25pm. Even those with low incomes will soon grow accustomed to £25 less each month. £25 soon disappears, its less than the average take out, or a few drinks on a Friday at the village pub.

One last thought:

Savings Plans don’t have to be endowments, or have life cover within them; they can be tax efficient savings such as ISA’s. However, think about this: If your goal is to have some money to help your children out when they need to buy their own place or maybe get married, or even getting political, pay off their student debts. What happens if you die half way along?

The old style savings plan, the terrible much maligned endowments of the last millennium made sure the money was there whether you reached maturity or not.

The unscrupulous mis-sold them, manipulating the rules, growth rates and such, earning big money but there are many people out there that did very well from them.

Notwithstanding this: The message is clear, start saving, small amounts soon rack up, and 15 years is not that far away.

The only thing we spend but can never get back is TIME!

Philip Dales Cert PFS

For more information or advice on Savings Plans, ISA’s and other investments contact Philip Dales at DALES Independent Financial Advisers:, or go to our web site Nottingham office: 0115 832 0265 or Newark Office: 01636 87 00 69

DALES Independent Financial Advisers, Nottingham & Newark. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority: 496107.

MORTGAGE BEST BUYS, 2 year deals

Mortgage Best Buys – 11th May 2011

Current 2 year best buys, based on a 65% Loan To Value.


TMW (The Mortgage Works) – 2.75% fixed until 31/07/13 – total fees of £1,036 (in valuation)

Woolwich – 3.08% with a 20 month Fixed rate – total fees of £948.93

L&G – Leeds Building Soc with a 4.69% fixed until 31/05/2013 – total fees of £559 (inc valuation)

Newcastle Building Soc with a 4.64% fixed until 30/06/2013, but the fees increase to £1,350 (inc valuation)


Coventry -2.29% – bank base +1.79% for 25 months – total fees of £1,012

Nationwide – 2.75% – Bank Base +2.25% for 5 years fees are very low at £124

These are just best buys, they are only shown as an example of the type of rates available, you should always seek advice when buying a mortgage. As Independent Financial Advisers, we are able to select and advise from the Whole of the Market.

The loans above are based on a 65% loan to value on a house costing £250,000.

You may not fit the criteria of the above lenders.

For Further information, or advice

phone: 01636 642 844 or 0115 832 0265.

PNDALES LTD are authorised and regulated by the Financial services authority. You home may be at risk if you fail to keep up payments on any loan secured against it. PNDALES Ltd a typical fee for mortgage advice is £350, the precise amount will depend upon your circumstances

Things we don’t want to talk about 101 – Funeral Plan Advice

Things we don’t want to talk about: 101 – Funeral Plan Advice
A client of Dales Independent Financial Advisers recently asked for some advice on a funeral plan. It made me think about my own experience a few years ago on the death of my Farther in Law, what is available, what are the benefits and who needs to consider such a plan.
First things first: just how much does it cost to die in the UK these days?

On average it costs anywhere between £2500–£5000, depending upon either, where you live or how basic the funeral is. From my personal experience, for the most basic funeral in the south of England with no wake, no trimmings and no limousine it cost us around £5000, two years ago. In the Midlands, i.e. Newark or Nottingham for the same funeral you may expect to pay around £2500. Adding a limousine, a small room for the wake, and you would expect to pay closer to the £5000 mark.
Who pays for the funeral?
In the first instance the deceased estate is responsible for the cost. The cost of the funeral, is the first call on the estate (this means that before anyone else can get their inheritance or costs, the funeral director gets they’re money), however probate will still need to be granted to make the payment. Therefore, as probate can take some time the next of kin will be expected to make payment to the funeral director before probate has been granted.
If the deceased has insufficient resources to pay for the funeral from the estate, it is the responsibility of the next of kin to pay for the funeral.
Can you get any help with funeral costs?
The simple answer is, if you have any money probably not. Similarly, if the estate of the deceased has any money no probably not either.
However, if you have no savings, and are claiming income support or similar benefits you may be able to claim some help as an interim payment for the funeral, until the estate’s funds are released, if the estate has sufficient money you will have to pay the council back once probate is granted.
The only situation where the local council would be expected to pay the full costs of the funeral is where the deceased has no next of kin, with sufficient funds, and no assets, or personal belongings that may be sold to cover the costs of the funeral.
It is important to point out that if the next of kin have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the funeral, then the council will not be liable for the funeral, you will have to pay, even if the estate has insufficient funds to reimburse you.
In my mind this means that most people will have to pay for their own funeral, or their next of kin will be expected to. With this in mind many people over 50 start to consider the issue.
Covering the cost of the funeral
There are a number of ways to consider how one pays for your own funeral: You could leave sufficient funds in a savings account. The main disadvantage is that the funds will not be accessible by your family until after probate has been granted. Consider for a moment whether or not, your son or daughter may have as much as £5,000 in a savings account to cover the cost until the estate is released.
Some people consider life insurance (assurance), this can be an inefficient method, as a lump sum is insured not the cost of the funeral, as we discuss later the cost of funerals keeps increasing, therefore the lump sum may not cover the cost in the future.
Notwithstanding that – if you do use this method please take advice on placing the policy in trust, otherwise you may not have alleviated the issue of access to the funds on death.
The other method and probably the best is a pre paid funeral plan.

Funeral plans: how do they work and why should I get one?
Most funeral plans are a way of pre-paying for your funeral, with some you can select various options e.g. you could elect to cover limousine high. Most cover the cost of a cremation, but again you could elect to cover the cost of burial. The basic premiss is that they guarantee to cover the cost of the funeral. This makes a lot of financial sense, the price of a funeral has gone up considerably over the years, between 2004 and 2009, the rate of increase has been higher than inflation or savings account interest at 7.32% per year. (source|: Mintel). Usually the money you have paid is held in trust for you, this puts the value of the plan outside of your estate, so there is no Inheritance tax issues or indeed probate requirements. Therefore, your nearest and dearest can access the funds straightaway.
Funeral Plans: Where Can I Get One?
There a number of suppliers available, some may have restrictions on what funeral director you can use and some may have limited guarantees or options, the point is that it is important to get the plan that best suits your needs.
Traditionally these plans are something one buys without any real advice, most people who buy one go through a local funeral director, and are not aware that you can get independent advice on which funeral plan is best for you.
Dales Independent Financial Advisers can help you chose the right funeral plan for your circumstances. Although the sale of funeral plans are not regulated by the Financial Services Authority, they have issued guidance on funeral plans. We use this guidance, consider your circumstance and requirements, then review the market and find the plan best suited to your situation.
For more advice on Funeral Plans contact Philip Dales Cert PFS Cert CII MP at Dales Independent Financial Advisers: We have offices in both Nottingham and Newark, and would be happy to discuss your situation in more detail.
Call us today to discuss your requirements. Nottingham: 0115 832 0265 or Newark: 01636 87 00 69 or email or look at our website
The Financial Services Authority do not regulate Funeral Plan advice.

Mortgage Update – New capped rate

Market leading Capped Rate Mortgage Launched

In these uncertain times, most people don’t seem to know which type of the mortgage deal is the best to select.
With Bank of England interest rate so low most people assume that interest rates will, sooner or later increase. However, the issue with a fixed rate product is that if the rate does not increase or only increases a little and then remains static. If you had chosen a fixed rate there is a possibility that you may be paying above what you need to. This has its advantages, the security of knowing what your payment will be may be worth the extra in payments.
With a Bank of England tracker mortgage your mortgage increases or decreases with the ups and downs of the Bank of England interest rate. Therefore, if as outlined above people feel that interest rates will increase, then the payment on this style of mortgage will increase. However, if you don’t feel that interest rates are going to increase straight-away or increase only a little and then stall, then this method would appeal. The only problem with this is that what if your wrong and interest rates just go up and up.
So both basic types of Fixed or Tracker rate products have their limitations:
The Third Way!
A Capped Rate:
This is a mixture of both products, it is a tracker mortgage, but it can not go above a specified rate – the cap. So you benefit while interest rates are low, and if they increase a little you are still generally speaking better off than a fixed rate (at the moment) but if the Bank Rate increases above the Cap you are in-effect on a fixed rate, during that period, because if the Bank rate falls you would also fall again. In my view this is the best of both worlds.
Limitations: Caps sometimes have collars, this is when the interest rate charged can not go below a specified interest rate, recently it has become more common for Cap mortgages to have collars, you should always check the Key Facts document for full details on any Collars.
New Deal Launched.
3.99% tracker (Bank of England + 2.49%) until 30.06.12 Capped at 3.99% until 30.06.12
Maximum Loan to Value – 65%
Incentives – One Free Valuation
Remortgage Transfer Service included
Early repayment charges – only during the benefit period (4% to 30/06/12)
This is only one Capped product, it does not suggest that it is the best product for your needs, DALES can review your circumstances and make a recommendation suited to your needs. For Mortgages DALES offer an advice and recommendation service, and recommend products from the Whole of the Market.
For more details of this or other mortgage products or to arrange a free consultation please contact tel: 01636 642 844 or email
Your Home is at risk if you fail to keep up payments on any mortgage or loan secured against it. P N Dales Ltd is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority 496107.