Saving for retirement

Saving for retirement…

So how do you decide with the new pension rules how much you will need for your retirement?

In-business Blog - Saving for retirement

In-business Blog – Saving for retirement

In my opinion, this question has two sides to it. If you think you will live to say 86 years old, then are you not saying to your psyche, that you only expect to live till that age. You may not believe this will have an effect on you, but I say it will, as your subconscious has more power over your body than you might think!

The other side to this question is, in deciding how log you will live, how much money/investments you need to live off between the age you are now through to the age you die.

How I see this, is why not choose a ripe age of say 100 and plan accordingly. Of course depending on your present age, might mean you will need more funds to see you through to an ‘older’ final age.

The reason this is now an even more important question is due to the radical relaxing of restrictive pension rules which has handed complete freedom to people to decide how to manage their own money in retirement. Some might see this as the burden of responsibility has been handed over to individuals.

Personally, I think this is a good thing and of course, even though we now have more control over our pension pots, you could still invest the funds in the same way as before.

However, if you want to draw down the funds, then you can do so, after the appropriate taxes have been deducted. Saving for retirement has never been so relaxed and interesting as it is with the new rules brought in at the last budget.

As the shackles of pension rules are loosened, individuals will need to make sure they consider the ‘How long have I got to live?’ question even more and show restraint in the coming years. People must avoid the rapid depletion of savings, which have been earmarked to pay their living costs once they give up work and move on to retirement.

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Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

Is a business improvement district (BID) a good thing for business or a bad thing for business?

In-business Blog - Advice on Business Improvement Districts

In-business Blog – Advice on Business Improvement Districts

Firstly, to explain what a BID is, will help those that are not entirely sure what it is…A Business Improvement District is a defined area within which businesses pay a levy in order the fund projects within the same pre-define area.

The most important point to understand about a BID is that 100% of the funds raised via the levy will be used for projects and services identified and included within the business plan, where what is included in this business plan in the first instance is done via consultation with businesses within the define area.

In most cases a service level agreement will be put in place between the BID and the Local Council, so that agreement is reached from the outset, as to what the council will be responsible for in order to avoid the BID having to pay for services that should already be paid for in the first place, like road surfacing for example.

The investment fund raised by the BID will then be allocated to projects and/or services over and above what the council is responsible for.

What I like about BIDs, as a business owner and the Chair of a BID in the making, is the chance to improve in our case the industrial estate where 300+ businesses and over 3,500 employees work. Also, we will have a much stronger voice, as a collective of 300+ businesses, with the Local Councils, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and other important key stakeholders for the growth of businesses and for the benefit of employees as a whole.

Key areas that our BID process has highlighted, with input from businesses on the Estate, is to improve the estate’s security by using for example, number plate recognition. It also became apparent that broadband was extremely high on peoples agenda and we have set about to speak to the ‘powers at be’ to improve on this for our industrial estate. Other important topics and projects include enhancing the image of the estate with improved signage and to provide better transport links for employees reaching the estate.

The BID will also be in a position to enable support functions, which will benefit all businesses on the estate, along with the provision of an online directory and an inter-trading platform between businesses.

The reason that I put myself forward as Chair of the BID where my main business resides, is that I could see the real benefit to businesses on the Estates of having a shared voice of 300 plus businesses. Also, by each business paying over a relatively small level of investment individually, when combined produces over £600,000 of investment over a five-year period. It is already apparent, from our early discussions, that we will also be getting joint funding on projects, which will effectively increase the £600k pot and, as a result, lead to even better investment.

If you are a town centre or an industrial estate like us looking at the opportunity of setting up a BID, please do not hesitate to contact me for help and advice. At the point of writing this article, we are going forward to further consultations with the ballot to be held in June/July 2014 to implement the BID.

I am hopeful, with the positive feedback thus far, that we will succeed in forming our BID going forward.

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