A sign for the Eurovision song contest.

It’s almost time for Eurovision, and it’s set to be held in the UK for the first time in 25 years. So, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your Eurovision trivia.

The song contest has been delighting fans since 1956 – the only year it wasn’t held was in 2020 when it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Every participating broadcaster sends one original song of three minutes or less to compete.

The performances range from powerful ballads to catchy pop tunes, and plenty of acts will leave you wondering “what on Earth did I just watch?” – it’s all part of the fun of watching Eurovision. As points are awarded by judges and the public, make sure you vote for your favourite performance of the night. 

Traditionally, the winning country will host the next Eurovision.

In 2022, Ukraine won with ‘Stefania’ by the Kalush Orchestra, and the UK came in second place with ‘Space Man’ by Sam Ryder. Due to the war in Ukraine, the UK will stage the contest in Liverpool on Ukraine’s behalf. 

This year, 25-year-old Mae Muller will represent the UK, performing her track ‘I Wrote a Song’ to compete against the 36 other countries taking part. 

If you’re eagerly awaiting 9 May, when the competition starts, here are 10 facts you may not know about Eurovision.  

1. It is the longest-running international televised music competition 

In 2015, Guinness World Records recognised Eurovision as the longest-running international televised music competition. While other music competitions have been around for longer, they aren’t televised.

2. The UK hasn’t won Eurovision since 1997… 

The UK came close to clinching the top spot in 2022, but we haven’t lifted the mini trophy since 1997. Coincidently, this year’s UK act was born the same year, so could she break the losing streak? 

3. …but the UK has won 5 times 

Despite a common belief that the UK always does badly at Eurovision, we’ve actually won five times and are among the most successful countries at the competition.

Ireland has the record for being the most successful, with seven wins, while Sweden has won six times. Luxembourg, France, and the Netherlands are tied with the UK with five wins. 

On the other end of the scoreboard, Norway has featured at the bottom the most. The country has been at the back of the pack 11 times, but it has also won on three occasions. 

4. Save Your Kisses for Me’ is one of the most successful Eurovision songs

The UK won in 1976 when the Brotherhood of Man received 164 points. ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’ went on to sell more than 6 million copies and remains one of the biggest-selling Eurovision songs. 

Since 1976, Eurovision has introduced public voting and the sales of the single suggest Brotherhood of Man would have been just as successful with this model. 

5. In 1969, there were 4 winners

Faced with a four-way tie, Eurovision judges in 1969 simply awarded all four countries – the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, and France – the title.

The rules have since been changed. If there’s a tie this year, the judges will need to look at which country received the most 12 points through televoting, then 10 points, all the way down to 1. If a tie cannot be broken this way, the country that performed earliest wins. 

6. Italy holds the record for the most covered song

The most covered Eurovision song is Italy’s 1958 entry. Domenico Modugno’s ‘Nel blu, dipinto di blu’, also known as ‘Volare’, has been covered by the likes of Dean Martin and David Bowie.

7. The UK awarded ABBA nil points

Arguably the most successful act to come out of Eurovision, the UK didn’t think much of ABBA in 1974. In fact, the UK awarded the band’s performance of the now iconic ‘Waterloo’ zero points.

8. 161 million viewers watched Eurovision in 2022

Last year, 161 million people watched at least part of Eurovision – 7 million more than in 2021. 

It’s estimated that more than 50% of TV viewers in Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK watched 2022’s final. The success of Sam Ryder meant the UK delivered its best TV audience of the decade. 

9. The longest Eurovision song was more than 5 mins

Today, performers have just three minutes to impress, but that wasn’t always the case.

Italy’s entry from 1957 holds the record for the longest Eurovision song at 5:09. Now, it would be immediately disqualified but it secured fourth place in the competition. 

10. It’s not only Europe that competes

Despite the name, countries outside of Europe have competed in Eurovision, including Israel, Armenia, and Morocco. Australia made its debut in 2015 and has placed in the top 10 four times.

A couple looking at a laptop.

Over the last year, interest rates have steadily increased. If you have a mortgage, it may have affected your repayments, or could in the future. So, does your financial protection still provide the cover you need?

The Bank of England has increased its base interest rate to tackle high inflation, which has led to a rise in the cost of borrowing. If you have a loan with a variable interest rate, your repayments may have already increased.

As your mortgage is often the largest loan you take out, even a seemingly small change to the interest rate could mean your expenses are much higher. If you have a repayment mortgage of £240,000 over 25 years:

  • An interest rate of 3% would lead to a monthly repayment of £1,138
  • In comparison, repayments would rise to £1,404 if the interest rate increased to 5%.

So, it can have a significant effect on your budget and your ability to overcome financial shocks.

As a result, if you already have financial protection in place, it may no longer provide the security you want. 

Income protection could provide financial support when you need it most

If your income stopped due to an illness or accident, what financial commitments would you need to meet? Regularly reviewing your outgoings could help you identify these and fill a gap if it’s needed. 

Income protection could provide an income if you’re unable to work due to an accident or illness. It will typically provide you with a proportion of your usual salary, normally around 60%, until you return to work, retire, or the policy term ends. This could help you cover regular expenses and means you don’t need to worry about short-term finances.

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average income protection payout in 2021 was £23,380. 

Just 12 months ago, your income protection may have been enough to maintain your lifestyle, but would that still be the case now?

Your mortgage repayments could be significantly higher than they were previously. Inflation has led to other costs soaring too, particularly energy and groceries. 

While you may be confident about your ability to weather a financial shock, rising outgoings could mean you’re unprepared and face a shortfall if you ever need to rely on financial protection.

So, you should check your financial protection would still provide the income you need to be financially secure. 

If you don’t have financial protection already in place, reviewing how you’d cope if you suffered a financial shock can be valuable.

Financial protection can give you peace of mind that, should something happen, you’ll have money to fall back on. While you would need to make paying premiums part of your budget, they may not be as high as you think. 

2 more things to check to create a financial safety net you can rely on 

1. Your emergency fund

An emergency fund can provide you with a safety net to cover short-term outgoings. 

The amount you should have in your emergency fund will depend on your goals. Having enough to cover three months of expenses is a common target. 

Again, as inflation could mean your outgoings are higher, you may want to increase your cash reserves. 

2. Your employer’s sick pay policy

It’s worth looking at your employer’s sick pay policy too. In some cases, they will pay your full income or a proportion of it for a defined period. This way, you wouldn’t need to rely on Statutory Sick Pay, which is unlikely to cover your essential expenses. 

If your employer does provide sick pay, you could opt for financial protection that has a longer deferment period, which could lower your premiums. 

Contact us to talk about your financial safety net 

Having a financial safety net that reflects your regular outgoings is essential and can give you confidence about the future. If you have any questions about the steps you could take to improve your financial security, please contact us.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.

A couple smiling together.

Research has found that many couples keep financial secrets. While you may want to keep your finances separate for a whole host of reasons, working together could mean your money goes further and you’re more likely to reach your goals. 

According to an Aviva survey, 38% of people in a relationship admit to having a secret account or money stashed away that their partner doesn’t know about. The average amount hidden in a savings account is £1,600, and half of over-55s have more than £2,000 squirrelled away. 

There are lots of motives for keeping some money to yourself. 32% of people said it was because they wanted to maintain control of their finances. A quarter said it was so they could treat themselves without their partner knowing, while a similar proportion are doing so to create a nest egg for their child. 

As well as savings accounts, it’s not uncommon for couples to keep other financial secrets.

Perhaps you haven’t told your partner how much you have saved in your pension, or how well your investments have performed? 

Whatever your reasons for keeping some of your finances to yourself, it’s worth considering if creating a financial plan together could be useful. 

3 fantastic reasons to plan as a couple 

Creating a financial plan with your partner can be incredibly useful and mean you both have more confidence about the future. If you’re not already planning with your partner, here are three fantastic reasons you should think about it. 

1. It provides an opportunity to talk about your attitude to money

Money can be a difficult subject to discuss. If you have different views about money from your partner, it can lead to arguments.

The Aviva survey found that 26% of people said they bicker about money at least once a week. Unsurprisingly, the cost of living crisis is putting more pressure on couples, and 34% said they are arguing about money more. 

A financial plan can facilitate an open conversation about your attitude to money and how you use it. It’s a process that can help you better understand your partner’s point of view and ease tensions. 

2. Benefit from a clear goal that you’re both working towards

Financial planning isn’t just about maximising your wealth – in fact, far from it. The key benefit of financial planning is that it creates a plan that’s designed to help you reach your goals.

So, planning as a couple can mean you’re both working towards the same future. Whether you hope to retire early or are keen to give your children a financial head start when they reach adulthood, a financial plan will be tailored to suit your goals.

Setting this out as a couple can mean you’re both on the same page and motivated to take the steps necessary to secure the future you want. 

3. Make the most of tax allowances 

As a couple, there may be tax allowances you can take advantage of by planning as a couple.

For example, the Marriage Allowance could lower your combined Income Tax bill if one of you doesn’t earn more than the Personal Allowance, which is £12,570 for the 2023/24 tax year. 

Splitting assets between you could also mean you can make the most of tax breaks. Each individual can add up to £20,000 each tax year to an ISA to save or invest tax-efficiently. So, spreading cash between both of your ISAs could reduce your overall tax bill.

Similarly, for the 2023/24 tax year, you can make up to £6,000 profit when disposing of some assets, including investments that aren’t held in a tax-efficient wrapper, before Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is due. As you can pass on assets to your spouse or civil partner without having to pay CGT, doing so could mean you could make profits of up to £12,000 before becoming liable for tax. 

Contact us to arrange a meeting with your partner to create a financial plan

Working together towards common goals doesn’t have to mean merging all of your assets. You may choose to keep some, or even all, assets separate. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when creating a financial plan – it’s about what works for you and your partner. 

Please contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your finances and aspirations for the future. We can help you implement a plan that you feel comfortable with. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

Someone walking a dog.

Financial planning doesn’t have a lot in common with science fiction. Yet, cashflow modelling could allow you to explore the lives you could lead if you made different decisions. So, it has more in common with the multiverse theory than you might initially think. 

The multiverse theory suggests there is a hypothetical group of multiple universes with many different worlds. It proposes that every time an outcome is observed, there is another “world” in which a different outcome becomes reality. 

So, while here you may have made certain career decisions, or started a family, there are countless other realities where you’ve made different choices. 

Despite some scientists searching for evidence to support the multiverse theory, they haven’t found any yet, and others are sceptical. Yet, it’s continued to be a huge source of inspiration in science fiction. 

Indeed, one of this year’s Oscar nominations Everything Everywhere All at Once suggests that every decision you make creates a parallel universe. You can see the influence of the theory in literature too, from Matt Haig’s Midnight Library to thriller Recursion by Blake Crouch. 

But, what does the multiverse theory have to do with cashflow modelling?

You can “test” your decisions through cashflow modelling 

Cashflow modelling can forecast your future finances in different scenarios. 

You start by inputting information, such as how much you have in savings, the value of your investments, or your income. By making certain assumptions, like expected investment returns or income growth, you can project how your wealth will change over your lifetime. 

Once the information has been added to a cashflow model, you can then model different scenarios and take a peek into what could happen in those other realities. You can see how decisions you make, or things outside of your control will affect your financial future.

Let’s focus on investments. A cashflow model could show what may happen if:

  • You increased how much you invested by 10% each month
  • Investment returns were 5% or 7% a year
  • You used your investment portfolio to boost your retirement income by £5,000 a year. 

Sadly, cashflow modelling doesn’t let you experience other lives like you see in films. But it can help you visualise different scenarios and how the decisions you make could lead to very different outcomes. 

2 compelling reasons to make cashflow modelling part of your financial plan 

1. It can give you confidence in your financial decisions 

As cashflow modelling can help you understand how your decisions could affect your wealth in the short, medium, and long term, it can give you confidence.

If you’ve been deliberating over whether you can afford to give your child a property deposit, or if you have enough to retire early, cashflow modelling could mean you’re able to move ahead with plans with fewer doubts. By understanding the implications of your financial decisions, you can focus on what’s important in your life. 

2. It can help you prepare for different outcomes 

One of the challenges of creating a long-term financial plan is that things outside of your control can affect it. Cashflow modelling can help you answer “what if?” questions like:

  • What if I was forced to retire earlier than expected due to ill health?
  • What if my investments don’t perform as well as hoped?
  • What if I passed away? Would my spouse and children be financially secure? 

By modelling these types of scenarios, you can see what effect they would have on your wealth and lifestyle. That puts you in a position to prepare for them to give you peace of mind. It could include putting more away for your retirement now or taking out life insurance to provide for your family if you pass away. 

As a result, cashflow modelling can mean you and your loved ones are more financially secure and better prepared to overcome unexpected life events. 

Are you ready to consider the multiverse? Get in touch

If you want to better understand how the financial decisions you’re making could affect your life in the future, please contact us. We can help you visualise different outcomes, and then create a financial plan that could turn your aspirations into reality.

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Family with several generations

The benefits of having a will in place are well-documented, although if you don’t have a will, or haven’t updated it in some time, you’re not alone. A recent survey from MoneyAge has found that 51% of adults in the UK currently don’t have a will in place.

Of those with a will, 43% haven’t updated it since it was first written. 

A will can be a fantastic way to: 

  • Allocate your assets to loved ones
  • Nominate legal guardians for your children
  • Divide your estate as painlessly as possible
  • Reduce your liability for Inheritance Tax. 

If you don’t have an up-to-date will, there’s a chance your loved ones won’t receive the wealth you intended for them. So, continue reading to discover why having an up-to-date will is vital. 

It ensures your assets pass to the people you want them to 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of having an up-to-date will in place is knowing your assets will pass to the people you wish. 

If you die without a will in place, or “intestate”, you’ll have no say over how your assets will be distributed. Instead, the laws of intestacy will dictate how your estate is divided. 

This is especially important if you have a partner and you’re not married. While your blood relatives and/or spouse will usually inherit according to the laws of intestacy, a cohabiting partner and any stepchildren you have will likely not.  

Your will is the perfect way to dictate where you want your money to go after you pass away, giving your loved ones more financial security after you die. 

It could mean less hassle for your family

After you die, your family will need to administer your estate. This can be a stressful process, especially while they’re dealing with the grief of your passing. So, having a will in place that clearly outlines your wishes may make it easier for your family to make any necessary arrangements. 

For instance, if you don’t have a will, dividing your estate could be incredibly stressful and time-consuming, and it could take longer for your assets to pass to your loved ones. 

It could help avoid disputes

As mentioned, it’s a common occurrence for families to experience periods of heightened stress and grief after you die. As such, the dividing of an estate can be the perfect storm of stress and emotion, which can, unfortunately, often lead to disputes. 

Indeed, data from IBB Law shows that 75% of people are likely to experience a will or inheritance dispute case at some point in their life.

Disputes can have lasting adverse effects on your family – they could permanently damage relationships or even cause schisms in the family, not to mention costing thousands in legal fees.

With a will in place, these disputes could potentially be avoided, making the process of dividing your estate as simple and painless as possible. 

Even if you already have a will, you’ll need to update it regularly as your circumstances change. For example, if you remarry your existing will is automatically revoked. So, if you don’t write a new one, your estate could pass to the “wrong” people and cause arguments or disputes. 

You can assign guardians for your children

While you may think your will is only used to allocate your estate, it can also be used to express your wishes about what will happen to your children after you die.

If your dependents are below the age of 18, you can use your will to nominate legal guardians. If you don’t nominate a guardian in your will, a family court would need to decide what happens to your children and their care could be left in the hands of a person you wouldn’t have chosen. 

Even if you do have a will, it may be worth updating it regularly to fit your current circumstances – for example, as you have more children. 

You could potentially mitigate an Inheritance Tax bill

When you die, the total value of your estate will dictate the amount of Inheritance Tax (IHT) that will be payable. 

As of the 2023/24 tax year, the IHT threshold stands at £325,000, though you can also benefit from the additional £175,000 “residence nil-rate band” if you leave your home to a direct descendant, such as a child or grandchild. 

Then, anything left in your estate above this threshold will typically be subject to the standard IHT rate of 40%. 

With a well-written will, you can often reduce your IHT liability. For example, suppose you specify that you want your home left to a direct lineal descendant. In this case, you could make full use of the additional residence nil-rate band, substantially reducing the IHT liability of your estate. 

Wills can help you to make your estate plan as tax-efficient as possible. 

It ensures that nothing is left behind

After you die, there will be plenty of paperwork relating to your finances that your family will need to deal with. 

If you haven’t clearly outlined your assets in your will, your family could miss something they didn’t know existed, such as a previous pension, an old savings account, or even any protection you had. 

When your will is in place, you can clearly identify your assets and distribute them to your beneficiaries. This could ensure that your family doesn’t miss out on any of your hard-earned wealth. 

This is another great reason to update your will regularly. If you have acquired assets later in life and fail to update your will to include them, they could be missed out entirely when your estate is divided. 

It can give you peace of mind

Another beneficial reason to have a will in place is that it gives you the peace of mind that your affairs will be dealt with in the way you desire after you die. You can rest assured that your loved ones’ future is secure, and you can start living in the present. 

For instance, if you die without a will, the intestacy laws will rule on issues ranging from the guardianship of your children to the dividing of your estate. If you write a will now, you can regain control and relax, knowing that the right people will receive your assets after you die. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

A couple talking to a financial planner.

Do you find pension information confusing? You’re not alone; 50% of people in the UK describe the information they receive about their pension as “overwhelming”, according to a Standard Life study.

Fortunately, there are places where you can seek guidance or advice. The survey found 83% of people think financial advisers offer useful support.

If you’re not sure if your pension is on the right track, a financial planner could help put your mind at ease. Here are four reasons why. 

1. A financial planner can cut through jargon

Pension information can be filled with jargon that makes it difficult to understand exactly what it is saying. 

From “annuities” to the “Tapered Annual Allowance”, a financial planner could help you cut through confusing terms and take the time to explain what they mean and, more importantly, whether they’re relevant to you. 

Having someone you can turn to for answers that you know you can rely on is invaluable. 

2. A financial planner can help you make sense of pension statements 

Your pension provider will provide a statement each year; this may come in the post or be online.

It will cover pension contributions, including your own, those made by your employer, and tax relief. These figures can help you understand how much is going into your pension.

As your pension will usually be invested, the statement is likely to include investment performance too. As investments can be volatile, it can be difficult to know whether your investments are performing well or not, and it’s also essential to ensure they match your risk profile and goals. As financial planners, we can help you get to grips with pension investments. 

In addition, your pension statement will include a forecast. This is a projection based on assumptions that the provider makes, including your retirement date and investment performance, so it’s not a guarantee. 

The pension forecast can be incredibly useful when thinking about how your savings will add up to deliver a retirement income. But understanding if it’s “enough” is another challenge. 

3. A financial planner can help you calculate if you’re saving “enough”

Calculating how much you should be saving into your pension can be complex. There’s no one-size-fits-all figure, so you’ll need to consider your circumstances and goals to understand what is “enough”. 

Not only will you need to calculate potential investment returns, but also the income you need to create the retirement lifestyle you want. As a result, setting a pension target often means pulling together different pieces of information, from life expectancy to other assets you’ll use to create an income, like savings. 

A financial plan can help you understand what is “enough” for you to retire on, and, importantly, the steps you can take to reach the goal. With a clear blueprint, you’re more likely to retire with enough savings to live the lifestyle you want. 

4. A financial planner can create a plan that means you can enjoy retirement

A financial plan can help you get the most out of your money, and allow you to really enjoy your retirement. 

There’s strong evidence that taking control of your finances could boost your wellbeing. In fact, 93% of people that planned for retirement with an income of less than £20,000 say they are enjoying life after giving up work. However, only 66% of people that didn’t plan could say the same.

Despite this, 7 in 10 people are doing very little, if anything, to plan for their retirement.

So, arranging a meeting now to create a plan for when you give up work means you’re more likely to enjoy the next stage of your life. It’s never too soon to start retirement planning, and doing so earlier could grant you more freedom in the future. 

Contact us to talk about your pension

If you want to talk about your pension and start thinking about what it means for your retirement, please contact us. We’ll work with you so you can have confidence in your retirement savings and look forward to the milestone. 

Please note:

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. 

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.  

While growing wealth is often an important part of a financial plan, understanding how you can use your money to reach goals and improve your wellbeing is crucial. It could help you get the most out of your wealth and lead to a more fulfilling life.

This guide offers practical steps that could help you improve your relationship with money by understanding how it’s related to happiness. It covers four essential steps to creating a financial wellbeing plan that’s tailored to you:

  1. Understanding the sources of happiness that are true for everyone
  2. Understanding what makes you happy
  3. Creating a clear path to your objectives
  4. Travelling along that path in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Download your copy of ‘Financial wellbeing: 4 steps to creating a financial wellbeing plan’ now to find out what you could do to boost your long-term wellbeing.