Posts

Boy checks finances and Child Trust Fund

If you have a child or children reaching the age of 18 between now and 2029 their Child Trust Funds (CTFs) are due to mature.

The CTFs are tax-free savings accounts given to 6 million children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011. Anyone reaching the age of 18 in the next 8 years or so could access up to £1,000 if parents made contributions.

You may have forgotten about your child’s CTFs, especially if you didn’t make any contributions. Our guide about Child Trust Funds will help your child access their funds, and we’ll offer hints and tips about what to do with the cash.

What are Child Trust Funds?

Set up by the Blair government, CTFs encouraged parents to save for their children’s futures. The aim was that the cash could help with future costs, such as further education funding.

Initially, the government gave £250 into the tax-free account during a child’s first year. A further £250 was paid in when children reached the age of 7. The payments were £500 for low-income families.

Parents, family and friends are still able to contribute to the account to top it up to a maximum of £9,000 per year. New CTF accounts were eventually scrapped in January 2011.

How they work

When they mature, CTFs become adult ISAs and retain their tax advantages. While children legally take responsibility from the age of 16, they cannot access the money until they are 18.

Parents or guardians were sent vouchers by HMRC for each child to set up a CTF account in the child’s name. Three accounts were opened:

  • Cash Child Trust Fund: This allowed parents to make deposits just like a bank account to earn tax-free interest.
  • Stakeholder Child Trust Fund: Savings are put into a mix of stock market investments with rules to reduce financial risk. They are charged based on the value of the fund and capped at a charge of 1.5% a year. If parents forgot to use the payment voucher within 12 months, HMRC opened one of these accounts.
  • Share-based Child Trust Fund: Most if not all the cash in this account is invested in shares without protection.

Each year, around 800,000 teenagers will gain control of their CTFs, and while the temptation might be to spend, research shows that teenagers would prefer to invest or save their money.

Finding lost Child Trust Funds

Around 2 million Child Trust Funds are estimated to have been lost by families, especially if HMRC set up the account. Don’t worry, because the funds are easy to find.

To find a fund, visit www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds and fill in the form, as this tells HMRC which account was originally opened. You will need a Government Gateway ID and password, which is fairly simple to set up. Once HMRC locates the details of the CTF provider, they will contact you with information by post within 3 weeks of your request.

What to do next

When your child reaches their 18th birthday, they have a number of choices:

  • Withdraw the money and spend it, perhaps using it to help fund a new car or a house deposit.
  • Convert it into an ISA (Individual Savings Account) to maintain the savings for a future purpose.
  • Use it to open a Lifetime ISA (limits apply) which can provide a 25% government bonus for use towards buying their first home.

Co-Navigate clients who have children or grandchildren can always ask us for help or guidance on the options available.

Dan Bullen from Newcastle Financial Adviser firm Co-Navigate

Name

Dan Bullen

What is your position at Co-Navigate?

Financial Planning Assistant

When did you start work at Co-Navigate?

July 2017

What was your experience before working here?

I moved to Co-Navigate straight after school after completing my A-levels at Berwick Academy and heard about the job. I started working with Lyndsey in the mortgage side of the business. 

What attracted you to Co-Navigate?

At the time it seemed like the right place. As I was living in Berwick and when you’re from there you can either go to Edinburgh or Newcastle for work as they’re about an hour away. I was looking for an apprenticeship and I met the directors and they seemed really nice.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to work with some very interesting people both as colleagues and as clients. You get to hear about all sorts of things: where they have been, what they want to do in the future and being part of that is a fantastic.

Favourite colour

Green

Favourite music

I tend to listen to radio. I usually listen to Radio 1, although I’m a fan of Coldplay.

Hobbies and interests

My big hobby is golf. I’m a 3 handicap and at the moment I play about 5 times a week. It’s pretty much what I do outside of work. I have won 3 times this year, since lockdown. I play in individual events and have been playing for a while. But I have only been playing competitively for just over a year. This summer I was going to start playing in team events and leagues, but because of lockdown that hasn’t happened yet. I’m also a big football fan and support Glasgow Celtic. I used to play but I don’t do that anymore.

If you would like to read about our other team check out our news page. Contact us today and you might even get to talk to Dan.

Fiona Richardson from Co-Navigate, Newcastle Financial Adviser company in Gosforth

Name

Fiona Richardson

What is your position at Co-Navigate?

Mortgage and Protection Assistant

When did you start work at Co-Navigate?

May 2019

What was your experience before working here?

I hadn’t been in financial services before. My job before I came here was at an asbestos company. I was there for 2 years working on projects and arranging surveyors to test for asbestos in buildings. It was very different to being here!

What attracted you to Co-Navigate?

There was a job advertisement for the position on Facebook. When I spotted it and read about what was needed I thought, ‘That sounds like me!’ I contacted Lyndsey and I was successful.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like that every day is different and everything is fast-paced and it keeps me on my toes. I love working here because everyone is so caring and they look out for each other.

Favourite colour

Purple

Favourite music

I love music from musicals. My favourite musical is Wicked.

Hobbies and interests

I play volleyball once a week in a local league and I like cycling. It is electrical but there are a lot of hills around where I live.

If you enjoyed meeting Fiona, why not meet the rest of our team…

Brenda Bailey from Co-Navigate

Name
Brenda Bailey

What is your position at Co-Navigate?
Financial Planning Assistant

When did you start work at Co-Navigate?
April 2019

What was your experience before working here?
I started in financial planning in 2001, so I have 19 years of experience. At the start, I was a part-time administrator in a financial planners and chartered accountants. I then worked for a large North East financial firm in 2008 as a financial planning administrator. During my time there I became a team leader in 2015 and left in April 2019 to join Co-Navigate.

Before financial services I was an administrator at a builder’s merchant. I then became a medical secretary at a local hospital before I took four years off to look after my two daughters. As they were growing up I worked at a local supermarket part-time then moved into financial services.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The main thing I enjoy is working for a great team. Our clients are our main priority, and I enjoy working with all the team to ensure the client’s journey goes really well. I love the fact you are always learning and putting it into practice. And I love the variety as no two clients are the same.

During lockdown I’ve missed the interaction with the rest of the team and our clients. But the safety of our clients and ourselves is the priority.

Favourite colour
Red

Favourite music
I like a mixed range of music but mainly rock, such as Def Leppard and Iron Maiden.

Hobbies and interests
Keeping fit is a hobby and I run twice a week although I’m a fair-weather runner. I like going to rock concerts and real ale and enjoying going to the occasional beer festival. I love socialising with my family and that is what I’ve missed most during lockdown.

Don’t miss interviews with our directors

Woman happy thanks to having financial well-being

Life in the past few months has been a real struggle, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies claiming that the Covid-19 pandemic will affect people’s mental health.

Struggles in the wake of lockdown and isolation is likely to have a long-term effect, which will need addressing.

One area that has hit people hard is their financial well-being, due to worries about current and future employment and any debt they have. Thousands of job losses are announced daily across many sectors. And it is likely that more will follow in the future, sadly.

While the coronavirus pandemic was unexpected, those without a financial plan will be hardest hit, no matter what sector they work in. That doesn’t just mean those with lower salaries, as even seemingly affluent people admit worrying about money – especially if they have no plan in place.

At Co-Navigate, our role is to provide clients with a realistic financial plan to help them achieve their goals. After our first meeting, we use software that includes ‘what-if’ scenarios so we can plan for the worst. As a result, if or when, the worst happens, they have peace of mind. They know there is a plan in place, even if it is plan B or plan C.

Money and happiness

Money doesn’t buy happiness, the saying goes, but a number of studies show that’s not necessarily the case. Researchers from Purdue University revealed that there is an optimal point to how much money makes us happy.

Andrew T. Jebb, the lead author and doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences, says, “It’s been debated at what point does money no longer change your level of well-being. We found that the ideal income point is $95,000 (£77,000) for life evaluation and $60,000 (£47,000) to $75,000 (£60,000) for emotional well-being.”

Having a healthy income not only gives us a chance to buy the things we need, it offers a chance to enjoy luxuries, such as new cars and holidays. It also means we can save and invest to increase our wealth, which provides security.

It is in times such as those we are living in that financial security trumps our desire to buy the latest technology! A newly released smartphone can wait as our understanding of money changes during recessions and downturns.

Increase financial well-being

Last year, leaders within the finance profession launched The Financial Wellbeing Conference. Set up to help financial planners, its aim was to show that someone’s well-being is just as important as wealth. During the conference, financial well-being was broken into five elements:

  • A clear path to achieve objectives
  • Control of daily finances
  • The ability to cope with financial shock
  • Financial options in life
  • Security for those we leave behind

What it means to us

The five elements mentioned are among those that form the bedrock at Co-Navigate. We love to hear about our clients’ goals, but nothing makes us happier than watching them achieve those objectives and take control of finances.

When it was discussed at the first conference 12 months ago, no-one would have guessed just how important the ability to cope with a financial shock would become.

So, how is your financial well-being? If you want to improve it and take control, then contact us today and talk to one of our team.