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How to keep your finances afloat at retirement: Follow these 10 steps to avoid falling into the pension abyss

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It is almost four years since the nation was delivered pension freedoms – giving savers greater control over their hard-won retirement pots. 

Although welcome, many people are still wrestling with the rules of their new-found emancipation.

The changes began in April 2015 and gave people greater flexibility over what to do with their funds on (and before) retirement.

Out on a limb: It is almost four years since the nation was delivered pension freedoms – giving savers greater control over their hard-won retirement pots

Savers with personal pensions could suddenly take as much money as they wished out of their plans at any time from age 55. They were also permitted for the first time to bequeath their pension to their family – free of inheritance tax.

The freedoms have proved popular, with £23.6 billion cashed in by the end of 2018 – though few blew their cash on Lamborghinis as the architect of the reforms, Steve Webb, then Pension Minister, joked that they might.

HOW THIS IS MONEY CAN HELP

But with freedom has come responsibility – a serious dose of it. Savers now require more nous about how to make their pots last a lifetime.

Financial advisers can offer help but research by insurer Canada Life suggests about seven out of ten of those who access their funds do it without expert guidance.

The upshot is that flexible access leaves many savers vulnerable to making bad decisions, such as cashing in too much, making poor investment choices – or running out of money. 

Worse still, they have become easier targets for either fraudsters or unscrupulous advisers eager to part them from their retirement fund.

Fiona Tait, technical director of specialist adviser Intelligent Pensions, says: ‘Flexibility can be useful but the reality is that you can only spend the money once, and if you use it early you could be left with little to live on later in retirement. 

‘Just because the rules allow you to do something does not mean it is a good idea.’

Canada Life’s research suggests most people appear well informed and are making sensible choices but there is cause for concern that more than 60 per cent of withdrawals are being swept into cash where it is at risk of withering on the vine of low interest rates and inflation.  Video playing bottom right…Click here to expand to full page

Andrew Tully, technical director of the firm, says: ‘The risk warnings don’t seem to have sated the appetite to grab the cash and put it into low or no-interest accounts.’

Here are key steps to making the right pension freedom decisions:

1. Ask yourself if you need the cash now

Unless you have an urgent use for the money, it is better to leave it in the pension so that it can continue to grow in a tax-efficient environment. 

Tait says: ‘Will the cash improve your overall financial situation? Perhaps you can use some of it to pay off debts, which would free up those loan repayments.’ But if the plan is to blow the lot on one holiday, then it is best to think again.

2. Dip into other savings first

The generous tax treatment of a pension fund – especially for those who wish to pass it down the generations – means savers who need cash are usually better off cashing in other investments first. 

Tax-efficient Isas, shares or cash deposits should be the first port of call.

3. Calculate income to last a lifetime

Working out how to convert a pension pot into lifetime income is ‘the nastiest, hardest problem in finance’, according to renowned American economist William Sharpe.

Adrian Boulding, chief innovation officer at financial company Spire Platform Solutions, says the best starting point is to work out what you will need in terms of essential income, lifestyle income and any legacy you want to leave behind.

He says: ‘Essential income needs to cover rent, rates, bills and one holiday. The lifestyle sum includes things such as a second holiday. The third is what you might want to leave behind for your family or a charity.’

At the same time, factor in the years that lie ahead. Jonathan Watts-Lay, of adviser Wealth at Work, says: ‘Most people live longer than they expect.

‘The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that those in their 50s and 60s underestimate their chances of survival to age 75 by around 20 per cent and to 85 by up to 10 per cent.’

For help on what income to aim for without it running out try an online calculator such as offered by the Money Advice Service at moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

4. Best ways to deliver income 

Income for bills should be guaranteed if you want to sleep at night. Boulding says: ‘One way to cover this element is to purchase an annuity – a policy that pays out a fixed income for life.’

Before pension freedom, the majority of people purchased annuities with their entire pot at retirement – after taking 25 per cent tax-free cash.

But in the last decade these deals have proved poor value – and once purchased they cannot be unravelled. Boulding says buying an annuity to cover necessities can be sensible if the remaining pension is left invested, with withdrawals made as and when required.

Watts-Lay says that whether choosing an annuity or a product that allows regular withdrawals of income – known as drawdown – it is vital not to accept the first deal offered by your pension company. He says: ‘Shopping around is likely to increase your income.’

As the years pass and guaranteed income needs increase in importance, more of the pot can be converted into an annuity. Boulding calls this ‘salami slicing’.

5. Avoid danger of too much cash

People cashing in their pots often divert the windfall into a bank account as a safe home for their money.

Tait warns that unless you have plans to spend this, a bank account is a poor value option. The pension is best left to run.

Tom Selby, senior analyst at broker AJ Bell, says investors who opt to leave their pensions invested while drawing an income ‘face a great balancing act’.

Those who took this course in April 2015 and chose their investments carefully have done well so far in ‘generating a golden combination of income and capital preservation’ because of strong stockmarket returns.

The broker found that pension freedom customers often chose investment trusts that pay strong dividends to achieve this goal.

For example, someone with a pension fund of £100,000 who took a £5,000 annual income did best with investment fund Fundsmith Equity – with the pot now worth a healthy £165,000.

6. Seek the support of a financial adviser 

Thanks to the pension freedom reforms introduced four years ago, you can tailor when and how you use your pot pension – and when you stop saving into it

Thanks to the pension freedom reforms introduced four years ago, you can tailor when and how you use your pot pension – and when you stop saving into it

Savers should consider financial advice before making any decision with their pension – even if it means paying hundreds of pounds.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, says: ‘Even though financial advisers do not have a crystal ball they can help people make better decisions.’

Find a regulated professional at findanadviser.org.

7. Be tax aware to avoid penalties 

Willy-nilly withdrawal of cash from a pension can cost a fortune in unwanted tax.

Watts-Lay says: ‘Only the first 25 per cent of a personal pension’s value is tax free with the rest taxed as earned income. Many people who do not take advice end up paying more tax than they need to.’

He adds: ‘Some people have taken their pension as a cash lump sum, not realising it would push them into a higher tax bracket.’

It can be more sensible to take small regular amounts from a pension, topping them up with sums taken from an Isa as these withdrawals are tax-free.

A saver who has already started taking benefits under the freedom rules, but then wants to start topping up the pot again should be aware the maximum annual allowance for contributions falls from £40,000 to £4,000. 

Breach the limit and there is a tax penalty.

8. Understand defined benefit dilemma 

Defined benefit schemes are dubbed the creme de la creme of workplace pensions because they are based on a combination of salary and length of service and guarantee an income for life, whatever the weather on the stock market.

But thousands of scheme members have been transferring out of these gold-plated plans into personal pensions to gain greater access to their savings.

A transfer involves giving up pension scheme benefits in return for a cash value which is then invested in a personal pension. 

This can in turn be cashed in, converted into an annuity, have an income taken from it as and when – or left alone to be passed down to the next generation.

Some of the cash values offered in the last two years have been hard to resist – up to £1 million or more for the lucky few.

Watts-Lay says: ‘Regulated financial advice must be sought to transfer a pension if its value is £30,000 or above. But there is no requirement to take ongoing advice once the transfer has been made.

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The Daily Beast doubles down on its journo-terrorism tactics that doxxed a black Trump supporter and subjected him to potential violence from deranged Leftists

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(Natural News) If this doesn’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Left-wing “mainstream media” is no longer focused on news that informs our citizenry with an aim towards improving and strengthening our republic, nothing will.

Apparently because nothing else is more important in this day and age, The Daily Beast assigned a reporter to look for the person who trolled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a meme that pokes fun at her inability to get through news conferences these days without sounding like she’s wasted.

What’s more, the reporter — Kevin Poulsen — managed to learn the identity of the person because someone at Facebook readily revealed him.

According to Poulsen’s article, the claimed he was looking for a “Russian troll behind the ‘Drunk Pelosi’ viral video” — because to the Left, only ‘Russians’ would dare make fun of Democrats in the first place. 

“Turns out he’s an itinerant forklift operator from the Bronx who’s been secretly running hard-right ‘news’ outlets across social media for years,” Poulsen tweeted. “Also, not Russian.”

From Poulsen’s story:

On May 22, a Donald Trump superfan and occasional sports blogger from the Bronx named Shawn Brooks posted a video clip of Nancy Pelosi on his personal Facebook page. The clip showed Pelosi at her most excitable, stammering during a press conference as she voiced frustration over an abortive infrastructure meeting with the president. Brooks’ commentary on the video was succinct: “Is Pelosi drunk?”

Thirteen minutes after that, the ‘offending’ forklift driver — Shawn Brooks, who is black and conservative — posted a different Pelosi video to a Facebook page called, “Politics Watchdog, which is “one of a series of hyper partisan news operations Brooks runs (with help, he claims),” Poulsen wrote.

Facebook should be sued, and should LOSE

Brooks, Poulsen wrote, would go on to post “the same doctored video” to a second Facebook page that he manages, AllNews 24/7. “This clip was identical to the Politics WatchDog video on every way, except that it didn’t carry the Politics WatchDog branding that was superimposed over the earlier video,” Poulsen wrote.

Wow, what a sleuth. And of course, The Daily Beast’s editor doubled down on the journo-terrorism during an appearance Sunday on CNN, whose host, little Brian Stelter never questioned him. 

Not only was Facebook an accessory in Poulsen’s act of journo-terrorism — through the doxxing of Brooks — but the platform also cut off Brooks’ source of income from the video after it had already earned $1,000. (Related: New alternatives to Twitter, Google, Facebook rapidly emerging: These sites won’t censor you.)

“We have zero interest in making money from fake news and our policy is to not allow people to make money from content that has been rated false by a fact-checker,” the company said in a statement. 

Unless, of course, that fake news is coming from Leftist “mainstream” sources like The Daily Beast, The New York Times, the Washington Post, or CNN, all of which have been responsible for publishing scores of phony reports claiming or suggesting the 2016 Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to “steal the election from Hillary Clinton,” or that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report claims the president “obstructed justice” (it does not).

Facebook helped The Daily Beast dox a user who cannot sue — or so the platform thought. According to The Gateway Pundit, Brooks has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a legal action.

Here’s hoping Brooks raises plenty of cash to sue the pants off of Mark Zuckerberg and his loathsome platform. What a sellout he is to authoritarianism.

This journo-terrorism has to stop. It’s no wonder no one trusts any media, even those of us who regularly report the truth.

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Hollywood studios’ demand for round-the-clock abortions reveals demonic sickness and psychopathy of the “entertainment” industry, including Disney

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(Natural News) The American entertainment industry, which is almost entirely dominated by Leftists, absolutely hates human life. In fact, Hollywood is so anti-human life that nearly every production studio that currently makes films, television shows, or commercials in the state of Georgia is threatening to leave over the state’s recently signed-into-law “heartbeat” bill to protect the lives of unborn human babies from being aborted after their heartbeats become detectable, which is around six weeks gestation.

(Natural News) The American entertainment industry, which is almost entirely dominated by Leftists, absolutely hates human life. In fact, Hollywood is so anti-human life that nearly every production studio that currently makes films, television shows, or commercials in the state of Georgia is threatening to leave over the state’s recently signed-into-law “heartbeat” bill to protect the lives of unborn human babies from being aborted after their heartbeats become detectable, which is around six weeks gestation.

Hollywood claims that its threats are somehow virtuous because “women’s health” is now supposedly at risk. It’s as though there’s no other way to avoid pregnancy, according to Hollywood Leftists, than to stab an unborn baby in the head, tear apart its tiny limbs, and either dispose of the remains or sell them on the black market to buy Lamborghinis.

It’s just ancient paganism repackaged, abortion being an act of mass sacrifice to the Canaanite god Moloch, which Hollywood and the rest of the Left Cult somehow believes is good and moral. But to everyone else, it’s about as Satanic as it gets to suggest that protecting unborn human life represents “oppression,” and something worthy of economic retaliation.

“There is no higher value in our cosmopolitan overlords’ minds than a woman’s ability to kill her own baby free from any consequence,” writes Chris Menahan for Information Liberation about the absolute derangement of today’s Leftists. “Abortion is their bible, abortion is their religion … Abortion is a religious sacrament.”

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“Women must be allowed to kill their own babies at any point – even post-birth – and then throw their aborted babies straight into the trash to thunderous applause … This is ‘our values.’ This is ‘who we are,’” Menahan adds.

For related news, be sure to check out Abortions.news and LiberalMob.com.

If you support Hollywood with your dollars, you’re fueling the continued Satanic practice of mass sacrificing unborn human lives

Keep in mind that it’s not just Netflix that’s threatening to boycott Georgia over its heartbeat bill. Nearly every major production company from WarnerMedia to CBS Corp. to Viacom Inc. to NBCUniversal, as well as Disney, wants round-the-clock access to abortion or infanticide in Georgia.

According to Bob Iger, the current head of Disney, the children’s programming company will have a “very difficult” time continuing to make productions in Georgia if the state’s heartbeat law persists unchallenged – because Hollywood actresses, in case you didn’t know, can’t keep their legs closed, and thus have to maintain unmitigated access to Planned Parenthood in order to quickly and easily dispose of their “clumps of cells” in between takes.

This is the filth you’re supporting, America, every time you renew your Netflix subscription, pay your cable bill, or go to the movies for “date night.” There’s no longer a valid excuse for continuing to shell out cash to Mystery Babylon’s entertainment-industrial complex, which is all but completely controlled by Satan-worshippers with a bloodlust for unborn human corpses.

Commenting on both the irony and hypocrisy of Hollywood studios colluding with one another to overturn the democratic process in Georgia, a page known as “Woke Capital” tweeted acerbically in response to Hollywood’s threats against the Peach State:

“Democracy is a $157B market cap corporation (Netflix) fighting in court to overturn a state law, with threat of economic sanctions should they not get their way.”

In other words, these Hollywood demons are doing exactly what they’ve been falsely accusing President Trump of having done while on the campaign trail, projection being another Leftist “virtue” that rears its ugly head every time a Leftist doesn’t get his or her way.

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5 ways to make the most out of your MBA program

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Most prospective candidates typically calculate their return on investment (ROI) of their MBA degree before venturing into it. However, while looking through the figures and equations that are typically centred around life after graduation, many people overlook the returns that exist even while still working through the program.

While these returns are not typically financial in nature, they may still be responsible for impacting your financing or improving the quality of your in other non-financial ways.

Here are some benefits of an MBA to consider while beginning your program that would guarantee you instant ROI while still in school.

1.  Advancement in your career prior to graduation

For quite a number of MBA students, they still continue to work either full-time or part-time jobs while earning their degree. However, these set of students are likely to begin getting early returns from their MBA program.

Students can begin applying what they’ve learnt in the classroom in real business world scenarios and the sooner you begin doing this, the earlier you’d reap the financial benefits from your business.

Bachenheimer, a clinical professor of management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York City, noted that an MBA provides project-based learning activities that allow students to practice solving real business problems.

“An MBA can be much more than the knowledge and skills acquired through coursework; it can truly expand you and your world,” he said in a report.

For example, while applying the knowledge acquired from your MBA classes to your current job, you could earn yourself a raise or a promotion from your current employer—giving you a more lucrative financial position while still studying.

2.  Improves your time management and prioritization skills

As an MBA student, it is important to learn strategic prioritization which is a critical soft skill and integral element of every MBA coursework. However, it also has practical applications which can be extended to your personal and professional life.

Many MBA students juggle a lot of time-consuming but yet critical commitments in addition to their coursework—be it a full or part-time job, family, internship, relationship, volunteer work, social calendar or an organized team sport.

Therefore, learning prioritization is important to not only your degree but to your range of personal commitments.

3.  Access to career support services

One obvious way to impact your MBA’s financial ROI is to take advantage of the services offered by your institution to potentially secure a more lucrative job title and salary.

Taking advantage to these career support services offered by your school strengthens your position as a job seeker even before you graduate as you’d have a better resume, cover letter, networking and interview skills to land the job of your dreams.

According to SFGate, earning a better position and higher salary are the two key reasons prospective MBA students decide to pursue the degree. Therefore, apart from giving students the required hard and soft skills needed to excel in the business world, some MBA programs offer services that help its students secure better opportunities.

For example, with the need for data scientists on the rise, enrolling in an online data science masters program not only gives you the required skills to excel as a data scientist but can help you secure a role in a prestigious organization.

4.  Grow your professional network

This is one advantage that cannot be overemphasized as your fellow students are most likely among the foundational members of a growing list of an invaluable professional network.

It is important to follow up with business connections at your school—be it, teachers, students, visiting faculty or guest speakers—as the connections you make during your MBA program can last a lifetime and lead to personal or work changing opportunities.

During your time as a student, offer assistance—and equally, accept it from—your fellow students as doing this establishes and nurtures relationships even before you graduate.

Apart from students, the professors and faculty working within your MBA program can also be important members of your professional network. They can provide their expertise and a long list of career-related experiences you may need during an exam, business meeting, or product pitch.

The more time you invest in building a professional network while still in school, the more value and higher ROI you’d get from your MBA program.

5.  Acquiring better listening skills

Being able to not just hear the words someone says but understanding the sentiments and context behind them is one the most sort after and invaluable skill sets across industries.

Listening is a fantastic way to strengthen your critical thinking, making you become a more intuitive thinker and a faster problem solver.For example, good listening skills can be the distinction you need to stand out from other candidates during a job interview as you’d be able to clearly interpret and answer the questions directed at you.

Therefore, it is important to hone your listening skills during in-class discussions, team meetings, job interviews and when pitching ideas to classmates during group projects.

Though this benefit is hard to quantify in terms of figures, it is a great way to attain your desired ROI while still studying.

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