Canal Street Online Manchester

Retirement and financial advice from Kath Wilkinson

LGBTIs are not alone in not planning adequately for retirement – it’s something that much of the population prefer to ‘think about later’. LGBTIs do however have some additional issues to consider. Many of us grew up in a time when we could not have imagined the open lifestyle that’s possible today. Indeed, many of the LGBTIs who will retire over the next couple of decades will probably have spent a number of years ‘in the closet’ and will not have thought about a ‘gay retirement’

Our blog here on Canal St Online looks at areas of your retirement, your Pensions and other important issues relating to your finances, both at present and crucially in the future.

Click here  for our comprehensive, simple to follow guide to your retirement. 

Will you stick to your resolutions for 2022?

One of the time-honoured traditions of the start of a new year is to make some resolutions, to set yourself some goals of the things that you’d like to achieve in the year ahead. Making resolutions is easy, but sticking to them is not. We start the year motivated and full of good intentions, but once we slip back into our day-to-day routines, it’s difficult to keep sight of the reasons we made the resolutions in the first place. There are particular aspects for the LGBT Community in that many of us don’t have the traditional life-cycle to ‘force’ a focus on setting clear goals.

One tactic to help you keep on track in delivering on your New Year’s resolutions is to set some measures against them so that you can track and monitor your progress as the weeks go by. For some goals, Financial Measures can be a really practical way of determining whether you’re making progress towards your goals and  we’ll take a look at how to set yourself some financial targets to help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions.

Drink less coffee

There may be several good reasons why you might wish to cut down on your caffeine intake, but a great motivator is to save some money. Are you buying a takeaway coffee on the way to work? Do you buy more than one coffee per day?For example, if you’re in London and you buy a Flat White from Starbucks, it costs £2.50. If you’re buying two a day, you’re spending about £25 per week on coffee. If you could reduce that to one per day, you could save around £600 over the year. Set up a designated Coffee Savings account and each week transfer in the money that you’ve saved by cutting back on coffee. Start planning what you’ll do with the £600 that you’ll have saved by the end of the year

.Drink less alcohol

With the 'excesses’ of Christmas and New Year’s Eve behind you, the start of the year is a great time to get motivated about reducing your alcohol intake. “Drink less” is a classic New Year’s resolution, but unless you set yourself some targets it’s really difficult to ensure that you deliver on the commitments that you’re making to yourself.A good way to adjust your future behaviour is to look back at your past behaviour. 

Take a look at your bank statement or credit card, and have a look at how much you typically spend on alcohol in a month. Put December to one side, as it’s generally a bit ‘distorted’, but take a look at November or October. Did you spend £50 on alcohol? £150? £250?Set yourself a realistic target. Could you reduce that spend by £25 each month? That might be two cocktails less - or perhaps one less bottle of wine – or it might mean opting for a pint instead of a spirit. If you could save £25 each month that would amount to £300 over the year.

Set up a designated Alcohol Savings account. 

At the end of each month, look at the your bank account or credit card and add up how much you spent on alcohol. Did you hit your target? Transfer the amount that you saved into your savings account. Start planning what you’ll do with the £300 that you’ll have saved by the end of the year.Invest for the futureOne of the most common resolutions that we all make is to start the year with good intentions of sorting out our finances: 'this is the year when we’re going to pay down our debts, boost our savings, or invest in our longer term future’. Good intentions are a great place to start, but you have to take some concrete steps to actually be doing something about it.

For LGBTs this can be particularly important as we very often don’t have the same Life-Cycle and Goals as the straight community, and as such, the need to plan for the future may be 'ignored’ or delayed.Make your resolutions concrete and specific. 

For Financial Goals, they could perhaps play out like this:• Make an appointment to see a financial planner by the end of January• Agree a financial plan by the end of February, to include short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals.• At the end of August, review the progress that I’ve made in working towards the goals set in my financial plan.• By the end of December, ensure that I have a date booked in for an annual review and update of my financial plan.

KATH WILKINSON is a specialist focussed on LGBT financial planning, 

You can arrange a free consultation with Kath here

Find a Resolutions buddy

Whatever resolutions you’re making this year, whether finance-related or not, get some help in sticking to them. 

Talk to a friend or family member and share your resolutions with each other. Agree to help motivate and support each other as you work towards your resolutions.

Schedule a monthly catch-up so that you can compare notes and progress and make any adjustments required as the year unfolds. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of the year and feeling like you haven’t made any progress on getting to where you want to be - and making resolutions that you can stick to is a great place to start!

Published on - Tue, 08 Jan 2019

PRIDE IN RETIREMENT: Does this apply to you?

Inspired by the approaching summer Pride season, an issue that we believe to be important is Pride in Retirement. Whilst many of us like to think we won’t grow old, the reality is that we will - but it would be comforting to think we that will be in a position to do so fabulously (if not gracefully!)!

Thinking about Retirement is important for us all. Many older LGBTs who are thinking about retirement may have spent their younger years ‘in the closet’, fearing rejection or even persecution, and so didn’t prepare for later-life financially or legally. Meanwhile, many younger members of our Community put off retirement planning, thinking they’ve got plenty of time.

For both groups – and everyone in between – we have launched the 2018/19 Pride in Retirement guide.

The guide is primarily for LGBTs living in the UK and you’ll  find lots of information on tax benefits as well as specific considerations for LGBTs, including information on planning retirement with your partner – whether you are married or not.

We believe that Pride is an opportunity for celebrating all the advancements we’ve seen over recent years and also to think about what this means in planning for our future and making sure we’re well prepared to take advantage of the possibilities open to us.

Top tips from the Pride in Retirement guide

1 Work out how much money you will likely need in retirement and how much income you can expect to receive in retirement - and if there could be a shortfall, get advice on how to help make up the difference!

2 If you’re with a 'significant other’ or have financial dependants, check the state of your ‘expression of wishes’ or nomination form.

3 Check your state pension and request a forecast from the UK Government’s site.

4 If your employer is prepared to pay into your pension, then consider very carefully before you potentially turn down this offer.

5 Start making small and regular contributions at the earliest possible opportunity.

6 If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, then consider making a contribution so you maximise the tax benefit.

7 As a 'rule of thumb’, think about contributing as much as you can afford from your gross annual salary.

8 Consider alternative tax efficient vehicles, including ISAs, which may pay a tax-free income in retirement.

9 Don’t rely on property income alone for retirement income.

10 Get advice!

You can speak directly to an LGBT specialist financial adviser. Here in Manchester and the North West, Kath Wilkinson is Equality Wealth’s accredited LGBT specialist adviser and is offering a free retirement consultation.

Click here if you’d like to talk to Kath.

The guide is for information purposes only. It does not constitute advice. Equality Wealth does not guarantee the accuracy of information contained within the guide and as pensions and taxation issues frequently change, people should take professional advice on their individual situation

Published on - Thu, 07 Jun 2018

Planning for living your Dreams! Why its not about being wealthy.

Many people we have spoken to following the previous ‘Money’ articles have told us that this seems to be something for the Rich!

At Canal Street, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to plan for their future and ultimately live their dreams.
For the Gay Community, there are some unique issues, many of which come about as a result of a different lifestyle which means we don’t
necessarily fit into the traditional life cycle that Financial Planning is based on.

We asked Kath Wilkinson, our local LGBT specialist Financial Planner, what some of the issues are that people should be thinking about
when planning for their future. Kath told us that the big issue for many of us in the LGBT Community is that whilst we realise that we have
to do something, we don’t see the urgency and ‘put it off’. Also many people haven’t thought about their life goals in financial planning terms
and lack the focus to get going. Kath also tells us that many of us in the Community feel uncomfortable talking about ourselves as this involves ‘coming out’
to advisers who may not understand us. Kath takes a consultative approach when talking LGBTs thinking about Financial Planning and starts by discussing their
dreams and goals and helping people develop a life cycle plan supported by a Financial Plan. As someone who’s gone through her own ‘coming out’ journey,
Kath makes a point of putting people at ease and feeling free to talk about their personal issues such as a same-sex partner which is essential in making sure the best plan
can be put in place.

For most of us having money to live our dreams requires work and careful planning and it’s important to start this as early as possible so that maybe one day, we can become one of those with
money to do all the things we want to. As the Ancient Chinese proverb says - ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step.’ The first step for many of us may well be that initial consultation
to discuss our dreams and goals and plan how to get there. With the start of the new tax year, this may be a good time to start this journey.

So, don’t put it off and arrange to meet Kath and chat about your personal sitiuation? Click here:

Published on - Thu, 12 Apr 2018

Property Purchase for the Gay Community. Make your dreams come true but make sure you get it covered? Tick list below..

Buying a property should be about making our dreams come true, whether buying our first single pad, a home with a partner, or a ‘beach property’ for holidays or retirement.

For LGBTs, things have changed considerably in recent years. Many of us now benefit from equal marriage, potentially allowing us more security when buying a property with a partner.  However, increasing the chances of making our dream come true depends crucially on defining, budgeting and taking steps as early as possible to make sensible preparations.  

For example, many LGBTs do not have children and may be in a position to build savings from monthly earnings, potentially allowing them to consider buying a 'fun property’, such as a holiday home in the sun or that dream pad for an early retirement.

Many LGBTs are keen to live in bigger cities, like Manchester, to be part of vibrant Gay communities. To do that, we may face some challenges as such locations can be relatively more expensive, especially City Centre Locations.

Older LGBTs may have bought property in a time when they didn’t feel comfortable being open and didn’t have legal protections available. As a result, they may be at risk of not having their partner properly protected.

Buying a property is a big step and there are many things to consider. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new home and not think about practicalities.

Obviously, the location of your property is an important consideration. But so is getting the correct mortgage for your circumstances, and you need to make sure your partner has legal and insurance protection.

LGBTs can easily overlook some of this. Often, an LGBT specialist can provide helpful advice, based on really understanding your circumstances.

Here are some tips for LGBTs buying property:

1 Location, location, location

They say the three most important things when buying a property are 'location, location, location’.

For LGBTs, this can be extra important, as many of us would like to be part a vibrant 'gay community’. Even if there is no 'gay scene’, we certainly want to be in areas where we can truly be ourselves.

Older LGBTs may not have lived an open life when younger and they may therefore find it extra important to live such an open life later in life and buy or retire in a location where this is possible.

2 The potential extra cost for LGBTs

Sadly, location costs and many locations desirable for LGBTs can be more expensive. So it’s important to start saving early for a deposit on that dream  home. Recent research showed that on average, locations chosen by LGBTs for property purchase in retirement are more than 20% more expensive than the average.

3 Finding the right mortgage

Getting a mortgage on your property is a very important part of the property purchase process. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new home and fail to carefully select the right mortgage.

For LGBTs, this is especially important as the majority of us are still not legally partnered or married. So it’s important the mortgage is structured in the right way for us.

Equality Wealth has a specialist LGBT mortgage desk. LGBTs thinking about a mortgage can get a free consultation on mortgages by clicking here.

4 Insurance

Insurance protection is important when buying a home, especially where a mortgage is involved.

You need to make sure you and your partner have adequate protection.

Again, for LGBTs, it is important to ensure the cover is right. Make sure it protects both of you, whether or not you are legally partnered. You may also want to protect your fabulous possessions!

5 Who owns the property?

The way you structure the ownership of the property is also very important.

In the past, many LGBTs with a partner had the property in only one name. That meant the not-named partner had little or no protection.

Even today, many of us are not in legal partnerships. So it’s essential we get this right!

You should make sure the ownership structure of the property is discussed and agreed with your partner. Then you need to speak with your solicitor and ensure this is reflected in the property deeds.

Finally, you should have clear and legally valid wills in place to underpin this, should you or your partner die.

This can be a complex area and it’s important to get the correct advice from someone who understands your situation and wishes.

6 Second property traps

Many LGBT have the opportunity to purchase a second property.

You may buy it to let as an investment or perhaps you plan to use it for holiday or retirement purposes.

Taxation of second homes can be complicated, especially for those not in a legal partnership and where the property is rented out (buy-to-let). Again, it’s very important to get specialist advice.

7 Buying a home abroad

For LGBTs buying property overseas, there are some additional considerations.

You should remember many countries do not have the same protections for LGBTs. Even if you’re married or in a registered partnership in your own country, you can’t assume you are equally protected 'abroad’.

When buying abroad, it’s even more important to get correct and up-to-date advice.

8 Is your current property protected?

If you already own a property, don’t assume everything is sorted. You still have an opportunity to double-check that your affairs are structured correctly.

This can be especially important for older LGBTs and those who purchased their property when LGBT registered partnerships and marriage were not available.

About Equality Wealth

At the end of last year, we announced the launch of a property search portal to help LGBTs find properties suitable to them. Click link below.

At the same time, Equality Wealth launched a specialist LGBT Mortgage Desk. At Equality Wealth, we want to ensure LGBTs have access to understanding advice when buying a property or choosing a mortgage. And we want to give you access to lenders and insurers certified as LGBT-friendly.

In Manchester and the North West, specialist advice for the LGBT Community is offered by Kath Wilkinson. If you’d like to talk to Kath, click link below.

With the launch of the specialist mortgage desk, Equality Wealth is also offering a free specialist LGBT mortgage consultation. This is available to those planning a property purchase or who have previously purchased property and would like a review of their current arrangements, for example in connection with an upcoming mortgage renewal.

Click here for specialist help 

Published on - Wed, 10 Jan 2018