A pension is the right thing on so many levels as it is the only savings plan that gives an immediate 20% uplift when invested because the government gives tax relief on top of every individual contribution i.e. contribute £80 and £100 is paid into the pension. There is also the advantage of virtual tax free growth and the ability to draw part of the pension pot take free before an income is taken.

Put Cash to Work

It is important to have sufficient money on deposit to cover day to day needs and a little extra for emergencies - the washing machine always knows to break down just as the overdraft limit is reached. But with interest rates being so low large amounts of money should not be left on deposit because it is not working.

Women tend to be more cautious and can shy away from investments considering them to be complicated and risky. This is not the case, there are interest based investments i.e. low risk, right up to individual stocks and shares in single companies with a wealth of investments in between.

To make money work it needs to have a spread of investment which will include Cash, but long term it will not keep up with inflation so adding other asset sectors, such as Equities, will offer a better opportunity for real growth over the medium to long term.

Make a Will

So many people think that they do not need a Will because they do not have that much to leave, but a Will is about ensuring that an estate goes where it should on death. It also ensures that any estate is dealt with quickly and efficiently. Dying intestate (without a Will) means that a set procedure is followed for the distribution of assets, which does not necessarily match a person's desired outcome. Also, sorting out a Will is the first step to reducing any inheritance tax liability on the estate.

After hard work and sensible investing most people want to be able to pass on their assets to the next generation. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what can be passed on before beneficiaries have to pay inheritance tax. An individual's 'nil rate' limit is currently £325,000, which sounds like a reasonable amount of money, but when the value of a home is considered, the allowance can easily be used on this one item alone and any value above this amount is taxed at 40%! There are many ways in which the value of an estate can be reduced but this has to be done with the luxury of time so it is never too early to look at such plans.

By looking at financial affairs early it is possible to save inheritance tax and ensure that family reap the benefits from assets that have taken a lifetime of hard work to accumulate - don't pay more tax than has to be paid to the tax man.

Get a Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (POA) defines who is responsible for an individual should they become mentally or physically incapable of dealing with their own finances or day to day needs. It is a simple way of giving peace of mind. Regardless of age, an accident or illness can happen that means that an individual becomes vulnerable. This is when a power of attorney will step in. If a POA is not in existence then legal representatives have to apply to the Court of Protection who appoint a deputy to manage the individual's property etc, this takes time and costs more money all at a time when the family do not need any more hassle.

As we are all living longer it means that it is now more likely that either our mind and/or body will give up on us. It is never too early to put a POA in place and if there are elderly relatives then POAs should be discussed with them too.

Get Cashback

When shopping online instead of going directly to the shop try a link to a 'cashback site'. Online retailers pay the cashback sites for referrals and then the cashback sites will pay part of this to the purchaser; receive money back for something you were going to buy anyway. A couple of good ones: and, never join a site that asks for a payment upfront.

Insure yourself and your income to protect those you love, it costs less than most people think and act now to get the benefit of female insurance rates.

Regardless of what life throws at you safeguard some of your income, reduce your tax liabilities so that life after work can provide what you want it to.

Don't accept poor interest rates, you can do better. Don't be frightened of investment, it doesn't have to be risky.
The famous quote by Lord Jenkins "Inheritance Tax is a voluntary tax, paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue!" may not be quite so true these days however it remains that, with careful planning, potential Inheritance Tax liabilities can be considerably reduced or indeed, mitigated completely.

May you have a long and healthy life, dying without the need of a lasting power of attorney but if it is required the family will be so glad that you have the foresight to deal with it.

Finally, make the most of what is on offer and get Cashback where you can! Zanne Marchmont at Savvy Financial Planning is a financial adviser in Dorset in the UK, fin out more at