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2022 – A Year in Review

No one could have anticipated how quickly events would unfold. It kicked off on a positive footing with a strengthening labour market and a growing global economy – gradually rebounding from the pandemic. It was then abruptly punctuated as geopolitical events took hold and dominated the rest of the year. In fact, the editors of the Collins Dictionary declared ‘permacrisis’ to be their 2022 word of the year. Permacrisis is defined as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.’ That just about sums it up!

 

The invasion and its impact

The Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February was the prime ‘permacrisis’ catalyst, which as well as being a humanitarian disaster, forced global energy and other commodity prices higher, intensifying the already heightened inflationary backdrop. The economic impact was, and continues to be, felt around the globe. In early spring, the outlook for macroeconomic policy quickly became critical. The path of the global economy was primarily shaped by the consequences of Russia’s invasion, major central banks’ policies and their ability to keep inflation expectations anchored, while allowing a supportive environment for growth – a challenging balance to strike.

 

Slowing growth – a continuing theme

Even before the invasion, the mix of uncertainties led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to downgrade its global growth forecast for 2022 when its economic musings were released last January. While the international soothsayer outlined expectations for the global recovery to continue in 2022, it predicted a ‘disrupted recovery’ with growth forecast to moderate. Back in January, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expected growth to moderate to 4.4% in 2022. This reflected forecast markdowns in the US and China – a theme which continued throughout the year, as growth faltered in the world’s two largest economies.

 

Inflation and interest rates – an ongoing battle

Inflation exceeded all forecasts in 2022, reaching 11% in the eurozone and UK, and around 8% in the US. The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE) raised interest rates in outsized moves in the year in an attempt to temper inflation. On home shores, since December 2021, the BoE increased Bank Rate from 0.1% to 3.5%. The impact of monetary tightening on the economy is visible, with broader effects on consumer demand, spending, the housing market and job markets.

 

Closer to home – all change on the political front

As 2022 progressed, political events dominated the domestic landscape. The year saw three Prime Ministers, four Chancellors and a whole series of fiscal events. In September, the fallout from former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s controversial Growth Plan sent shockwaves through financial markets, causing significant moves in government bond prices and yields, a hit on sterling and chaos on the mortgage market. The BoE sought to intervene with a short-term bond buying programme, while the IMF weighed in with concerns of its own. Following new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s reversal of most of the Mini-Budget measures, a level of stability resumed. Challenges with household finances were somewhat supported by the Energy Price Guarantee, one measure which was retained. The Autumn Statement in November brought a swathe of announcements set to pull people into paying higher rates of Income Tax, with more people paying Inheritance Tax (IHT), a cut to tax-free income from dividends and a reduction in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowances. The Edinburgh Reforms announced in early December look set to shake up financial service regulation in the coming year. As the year closes amid widespread industrial action, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces a multitude of challenges as we head into the new year, including winning electoral favour for his party.  

 

Volatility – a known known? 

The year was a challenging one for global stock markets. All major indices had a tough time as soaring inflation, rising interest rates and the Ukraine invasion critically entwined to host a potentially disconcerting backdrop for investors. Markets experienced significant volatility and extended downturns throughout the year. Global stock markets have had some positive periods, and as the year closes out, some momentum has returned. The CBOE Volatility Index or The VIX® Index is a measure of the US stock market’s expectation of volatility based on S&P 500 index options. Widely known as the ‘Fear Index,’ the higher The VIX® Index, the greater the level of fear and uncertainty in the market, with levels above 30 indicating tremendous uncertainty. The VIX® Index topped 36 in early March as the Russian invasion impacted; it subsequently fluctuated throughout 2022 between 18 and 34, moderating in the low / mid 20s at the end of the year. In early December, The VIX® Index dropped below the key 20 threshold, reaching its lowest level in more than three months as Wall Street grew increasingly bullish about the stock market’s future prospects. The VIX® Index reached a record high of 82.69000 in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic and a record low of 9.14000 in November 2017.

 

Bulls and bears – a sense of perspective 

Although 2022 was a year littered with geopolitical events and market shocks, it’s useful to put what happened into a wider historical context. The frequency of market shocks has increased and, to a certain degree, intensified over the past few years. Recent catalysts such as the Brexit vote, the election of Trump as US President, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the Ukraine invasion and the UK political landscape in 2022, all triggered investment volatility. 

 

Interestingly, 2022 has been different because those exposed to lower risk assets such as bonds were adversely impacted. With rising inflation, higher exposure to fixed income strategies, including UK government bonds, bond yields rose and bond prices fell, which had a detrimental impact on their performance. This was further exacerbated by the political turmoil in the autumn, in particular the unfunded tax pledges in the mini-Budget. Reversal of the measures and return of political stability led investment markets to recover some losses. 

 

The 2022 bear market differs because with crisis-fuelled bear markets, such as the pandemic-driven 2020 crash, a gradual easing of monetary policy was the antidote. This time, however, policy tightening will likely be the cause of economic slowing, as central bankers grapple with inflation. As an individual investor, the key to approaching any turbulence is to understand that market swings are normal and relatively insignificant over the long-term. 

 

Over a 75-year period to 2020, there were 64.7 bull years (the average bull period was 5.9 years), and 11.3 bear years in total (the average bear period was 1.1 years). Historically, bull markets have beaten bears and driven long-term gains. Investing for the long-term and having a disciplined, well constructed plan can help you reach your goals. Also, opportunities do arise in depressed market conditions, like the ability to purchase quality stocks effectively at a discount.

 

Looking ahead – recession and recovery

As 2023 dawns, we enter the new year under the spectre of potential recessions in developed markets, with high inflation and interest rates continuing to place downward

pressure on growth. 

 

Predictions can be troublesome; after all, at the turn of 2022; who would have called double digit inflation in the West, the most aggressive US monetary policy tightening for decades, a crash in government bonds and war in Europe? 

 

What we do know though is that providing our clients with a sound strategy and a financial plan able to flex with changing needs, which is positioned for the long-term and broadly diversified across a range of global assets, will help bring resilience in different market conditions. It’s important to remember that market volatility is normal, and history shows that those who are patient and stick to their plans are more likely to achieve their financial objectives. Rebalancing your portfolio will ensure your asset allocation remains aligned with your objectives.

 

Predictions

While we aren’t in the habit of making predictions for the year ahead, here are a selection from some reputable banks, organisations and asset managers for you to ponder:

 

  • The BoE expects inflation to fall sharply from the middle of 2023
  • The OECD forecasts a ‘significant growth slowdown’ globally in 2023, with tighter monetary policy, persistently high energy prices, weak real household income growth and declining confidence all weighing on growth 
  • The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) projects that the UK economy is on course to shrink by 0.4% in 2023, as persistently high inflation continues to dampen longer-term growth prospects, with unemployment expected to peak at 5.0% in late 2023 and early 2024, up from 3.6% currently, while gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to return to its pre-pandemic level in mid-2024
  • Recessions are anticipated in the eurozone and UK starting in late 2022 and in the US in Q2 and Q3 – Fitch Ratings
  • Despite the headwinds to growth, JP Morgan sees the potential for stronger markets in 2023, ‘a dramatic reset in valuations has created one of the most attractive entry points for both stocks and bonds in over a decade’ 
  • Mike Wilson, Chief Investment Officer and Chief US Equity Strategist at Morgan Stanley, believes, “Because we are closer to the end of the cycle at this point, trends for these key variables can zig and zag before the final path is clear. While flexibility is always important to successful investing, it’s critical now”
  • Real estate company CBRE expect a moderate UK recession throughout 2023 and in 2024, ‘the economy will recover, growing by 1.7%. The economy appears sufficiently healthy to avoid long-term scarring, such as reduced business investment, high long-run unemployment, and permanent decline in key sectors. As inflation reduces and the Bank decreases interest rates, consumers’ incomes will restore their purchasing power. Spending will increase, ushering growth in output in early 2024, with strong recovery underway by the second half of 2024.’

 

“The economy appears sufficiently healthy to avoid long-term scarring”

 

*The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated. 

 

*It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. This article does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only.

Your financial wellbeing hub

The past couple of years have undoubtedly been a challenge for us all but, by pulling together, we have managed to get though an extraordinarily difficult period of time. Now, as we emerge into the post-COVID economy, we face a different set of challenges which, in their own way, appear no less daunting. One thing though does stay the same – we’re still here, by your side, and determined to continue steering you safely through any financially choppy waters that lie ahead.

 

 Economic uncertainties

Although the economy did stage a tentative recovery last year and in the early part of 2022, it’s fair to say the outlook has become increasingly challenging in recent months. Surging inflation has curtailed our spending power and, with energy bills set to rise further over the autumn and winter months, the cost-of-living squeeze looks set to continue for now. Higher-than-expected inflation has also triggered a rise in interest rates, while fallout from the war in Ukraine adds to a cocktail of economic uncertainties.

 

Planning is paramount

No one is immune from these difficulties; while some will struggle more than others, we will all be impacted to some degree. In many ways, though, times like these serve to emphasise why people seek professional financial advice in the first place. Economic downturns are normal but having a sound, structured plan helps to ensure our financial goals and aspirations are not derailed when one does occur.

 

Financial wellbeing

Arguably, protecting your financial wellbeing has never been so important and the best way to do so is by sticking to your financial plan. It’s therefore essential to try to maintain any ongoing commitments such as pension contributions, protection premiums and regular savings policies if you possibly can.

 

We’re here to help

It’s also vitally important to keep talking, so do get in touch if you need our help. We’re here for both you and your family; ensuring your financial wellbeing is, and always will be, our primary concern.

 

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.

Selling with success

Planning to sell your property? You already know there’s a lot of big things to think about. But don’t neglect the small details either.

 Seemingly minor changes can make a significant difference to how a property is perceived and, ultimately, its sale price. Here are three top tips for putting the finishing touches to your home before listing it for sale.

Appearances count

If you’ve been putting off any DIY tasks, now might be the time to finally get them done! Presenting a well-maintained property shows prospective buyers that the house has been well cared for, which will reassure them that there won’t be any nasty surprises. In contrast, if buyers notice obvious DIY shortfalls, they’ll factor the costs of carrying these out into their offer price.

 Lose the quirks

It’s a good idea to remove some of the more personal objects and displays around your home. Without making it feel like an empty white box, you can help prospective buyers better imagine themselves living in your house by taking away your most glaring quirks.

 Define rooms

Over time, rooms can end up evolving away from their original purpose – intentionally or not. This is normal but when it comes to selling, clarity is key. If the spare bedroom has become a storage depot, converting it back to its original purpose can help showcase the space and market the house more effectively.

Big and small

Having someone on your side to help with the big decisions can help you stay in control of every little detail. Get in touch, we can help!



As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.

Intergenerational planning – a growing need

With the next 30 years set to witness the largest ever intergenerational passing of wealth, the need for inheritance advice has never been greater. Intergenerational planning, however, can also help with more immediate financial needs, particularly when generations work collaboratively to find solutions that support the whole family both now and in the future.

 

Inflation concerns

Currently, financial pressures are proving a key challenge across all generations, especially the impact of soaring energy bills as we move towards the winter period. The cost-of-living squeeze, though, is not only impacting people’s current spending power but also their future decision-making capabilities with regard to key issues such as housing, private education or university.

 

Balancing current and future needs

This has resulted in families increasingly adopting integrated strategies, especially in relation to gifting, in order to address imminent financial challenges. While reducing future Inheritance Tax liabilities inevitably remains at the heart of intergenerational planning decisions, the growing necessity to balance today’s and tomorrow’s needs is resulting in the focus shifting to support for children and grandchildren now.

 

Involving the generations

Intergenerational planning tends to be most effective when the process is not just focused on those who currently hold wealth. While funding a comfortable retirement and quality of care for the ‘caretaker’ generations remain fundamental elements of intergenerational planning, delivery of support for the coming generations and ensuring wealth passes efficiently to the right individuals at the right time have become increasingly important dimensions.

 

More families share an adviser

Greater involvement across multiple generations has also seen sharing a financial adviser become increasingly commonplace. This trend offers significant benefits, particularly when it comes to joining up a whole family’s needs with inheritance and gifting strategies, while treating all family members fairly.

 

Encouraging conversations

If your family needs help with any aspect of intergenerational planning, then please get in touch. We’ll be happy to assist by encouraging more open financial conversations across the generations.

 

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation. Inheritance Tax Planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

December Pensions update

December Pensions update

 

Recently released research* suggests UK consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about pensions and prepared to take a greater role in preparing for retirement. Other research**, however, shows significant sums are still sat in ‘lost’ pensions, while experts have warned about potential pension-related problems as the cost-of-living crisis bites.

 

Pensions knowledge improving

A survey conducted by Link Group suggests bodies within the pensions industry have had some success in building better public knowledge of pensions and the importance of retirement planning. The research found that almost four out of five consumers ‘understand’ pensions, with 18 to 34 year-olds more likely to display higher levels of knowledge than consumers in other age groups. In addition, nearly six out of ten respondents said they should take more responsibility for ensuring they have a good retirement income.

 

Time to trace lost pensions?

Estimates suggest there is currently over £19bn sat in lost pension pots across the UK. These are typically the result of people changing jobs and then not keeping track of contributions made with previous employers. The good news, however, is that the government runs a free pension tracing service (www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details) to help employees track down their lost pensions. So, if you’ve worked for a number of different employers through the years it might be worth checking to see if you can be reunited with a long-lost pension.

 

Pensions warnings

Experts are warning the over-55s not to be tempted to raid their pension pots in response to the cost-of-living squeeze. There are fears that if people withdraw lump sums or start taking an income sooner than planned this will result in them having less income in the future. People are also being warned not to reduce their workplace pension contributions as a knee-jerk response to the cost-of-living crisis.

 

*Link Group, 2022

**ABI,2022

 

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.

Can green home improvements add value?

With energy bills soaring, the advantages of improving energy efficiency are becoming evident to many homeowners seeking to reduce their outgoings.

 Research* suggests that over a quarter (26%) of British homeowners want to carry out improvements in order to make their home more energy efficient.

 Give your home a price boost

Not only could energy efficiency improvements make a huge dent in your annual energy bills (up to £1,878 according to a study from WWF and Scottish Power)**, but they could also add an average of £10,000 to the value of your home.

 So, what are the top green home improvements and how much could they add to the value of your property?

  •         Air-source heat pump: £5,000 to £8,000
  •         Solar panels: £1,350 to £5,400
  •         Electric vehicle charging point: £5,400 to £7,400

 The smallest actions can make a difference

Despite their clear long-term benefits, the cost of installing low carbon technologies can be prohibitive – the average installation cost of an air-source heat pump is nearly £11,000! Don’t worry – even the smallest actions can chip away at your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

 

According to the Energy Saving Trust***, these are the top ten energy savers that you can try without splashing too much cash:

          Keep showers to four minutes: £70 per year

  •         Avoid the tumble dryer: £60 per year
  •         Ensure appliances aren’t on standby mode: £55 per year
  •         Draught-proof windows, doors and floors: £45 per year
  •         Insulate your hot water cylinder: £35 per year
  •         Wash clothes at 30 degrees and less frequently: £28 per year
  •         Don’t overfill the kettle and fit an aerator to your tap: £36 per year
  •         Turn off lights when leaving rooms: £20 per year
  •         Only run dishwasher when full: £14 per year
  •         Replace baths with showers: £12 per year

 

Taken altogether, these actions could shave £375 per year off your bills!

 *MAB, 2022

**WWF & Scottish Power, 2022

***Energy Saving Trust, 2022

 

As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.

IHT – time for a refresh?

Latest data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) revealed IHT receipts for April 2021 to March 2022 were £6.1bn, 14% (£0.7bn) higher than in the same period 12 months earlier.

 Factors at play

Receipts have increased partly due to higher death rates during the pandemic, as well as due to the rise in property prices which has seen more families coming into scope for IHT. With thresholds frozen at current levels – the nil-rate band is £325,000 and the main residence nil-rate band is £175,000 – IHT is effectively a stealth tax.

IHT top tips

Gifts – use your £3,000 annual allowance before the end of each tax year. You can also make gifts of up to £250 per person per tax year

Trusts – for example putting money into a trust to pay for a grandchild’s education or to support another relative

Make a Will – and keep it up to date

Leave money to charity – if you leave at least 10% of your net estate to charity, the IHT rate reduces from 40% to 36%

Take out life assurance – this won’t reduce your estate but instead provides a lump sum to your beneficiaries to pay the IHT bill. The policy should be written under a suitable trust

Take advice – sensible IHT planning can help to reduce the amount of IHT your beneficiaries will have to pay and safeguard your wealth for the future.

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.

 

Your retirement – no two are the same

The Class of 2022 retirement report provides a riveting insight into the plans and thoughts of those either planning to retire this year or recent retirees, really highlighting the changing face of retirement in the UK.

The last couple of years have impacted people’s plans, with people reassessing what retirement looks like to them. Less people are giving up work entirely, choosing to adopt a more staggered approach to retirement. Two thirds (66%) plan to continue working in some capacity during retirement; of this number some plan to move to part-time hours, others intend to continue working for their own business, start their own new business or volunteer. Therefore, a third of retirees plan to give up work altogether, down from 44% of 2021 retirees.

Financial readiness
Confidence in financial readiness to retire has fallen, with only 25% feeling financially ready to retire, versus 30% in 2021. A key factor in this fall being the rising cost of living, with 28% of respondents unsure how to mitigate the impact of rising inflation on their retirement income – a prime concern for those with large cash holdings.

Pass it on
With over a half (56%) of retirees planning to pass on wealth to their loved ones, just 23% feel confident about how they will pass on any leftover assets to loved ones. Only 9% have started gifting wealth to reduce their IHT liability. Interestingly just 30% have had conversations with their partner about passing on their estate, while just 26% have spoken to their children about it.

No two retirements are the same
Retirement is a thriving new beginning to plan for. Whether you’re thinking about a gradual retirement or full retirement how do you visualise your retirement years? Have you thought about your income requirements or tax implications? Have you started a conversation with family about how you want to use your wealth to help them? Advice can help you seek clarity and provide focus and direction.

Key findings
The Class of ’22 have saved £385,000 on average on their pension pots
21% have less than £100,000 in their pension pots
£293,000 is the average amount in savings and investments
28% have less than £100,000 in savings and investments

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.

Achieving Balance This Summer

Now is very much a season of hope; a time to look forward and plan. While that’s not always easy amid a flurry of headlines concerning the cost-of-living and immense global political tensions, it’s important to look beyond short-term bouts of market volatility and ensure your financial objectives remain firmly aligned to your life goals – which may well have shifted or flexed over the last couple of years.

At times like these, the fear of losing money can be a powerful deterrent to investing. However, in reality, most of us have been investors throughout our lives – if you own your home, for instance, you’ve invested in the property market; if you own jewellery you’re effectively investing in precious metals. With inflation factors at play, some may consider holding too much cash as a risky move at present.

Diversify

As well as being a season of hope and renewal, Summer is also viewed as the ideal time to declutter and reorganise. The last couple of years have taught us the importance of achieving balance in our lives – this extends to our finances too, making now an opportune time for investors to review and rebalance their portfolios to ensure investments remain aligned to their long-term financial goals.

 

Concerns surrounding inflation, rising interest rates and immense global political tensions have all combined to create a potentially disconcerting backdrop for investors during the early part of this year, as markets search for a stable footing. The good news is that many investors with long-term retirement goals tend to have time horizons that extend beyond inflationary cycles and any market volatility experienced is a normal investment phenomenon. History shows that investors who are patient and stick to their plans are more likely to achieve their financial objectives. Diversification is one strategy that withstands the test of time.

 

A ‘disrupted recovery’

The current mix of uncertainties has led the International Monetary Fund1 to downgrade its global growth forecast when its latest economic musings were released in January. While the international soothsayer does expect the global recovery to continue in 2022, it is now predicting a ‘disrupted recovery’ with growth forecast to moderate from 5.9% in 2021 to 4.4% this year – half a percentage point below the previous forecast made in October.

 

Many factors at play

Last year’s gains in growth due to rebounding activity now appear to be behind us. Although the pandemic will continue to impact growth rates, the outlook for macroeconomic policy is likely to become increasingly critical. Indeed, the path of the global economy this year looks set to be largely shaped by central bank policies, specifically, their ability to keep inflation expectations anchored while allowing a supportive environment for growth.

 

Your investment strategy 

With the investment landscape undoubtedly changing, now seems an opportune time to spring clean your portfolio to ensure your investments continue to work as hard as possible for you. We can arrange a review to make sure your investment strategy is firmly aligned to your current personal circumstances and that your portfolio is well-balanced, diversified, tax-efficient and inflation-proofed where possible.

 

Need financial advice? Get in touch:https://audleywealth.com/

 

The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Inheritance Tax Planning is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Spring into action

Spring into action

 

Now is very much a season of hope; a time to look forward and plan. While that’s not always easy amid a flurry of headlines concerning the cost-of-living and immense global political tensions, it’s important to look beyond short-term bouts of market volatility and ensure your financial objectives remain firmly aligned to your life goals – which may well have shifted or flexed over the last couple of years.

 

At times like these, the fear of losing money can be a powerful deterrent to investing. However, in reality, most of us have been investors throughout our lives – if you own your home, for instance, you’ve invested in the property market; if you own jewellery you’re effectively investing in precious metals. With inflation factors at play, some may consider holding too much cash as a risky move at present.

 

Diversify

While it’s easy to understand potential unease in the current climate, it’s also important to appreciate markets have always experienced short-term bouts of volatility. The key to managing this risk is by diversifying your assets. By holding a balanced portfolio with a mix of equities, bonds, property and cash, investors can effectively mitigate risk by ensuring ‘all their eggs are not in one basket.’ By building safety nets as well as opportunities for returns into your plans you will end up with an optimum mix of investment, protection and saving instruments, allocated according to your circumstances, objectives and risk tolerance.

 

Plan

Recent research also vividly highlights the importance of investing in relation to retirement planning. The study found that less than 40% of the population is currently on track to receive a moderate level of income in retirement. In other words, if most people don’t take action now, they face living on only the most basic standard in later years.

 

Review

One way to ensure your financial plans stay on track is by arranging regular reviews. This will help to identify any areas of concern and ensure you avoid any untoward financial surprises at a later stage in life. With meticulous planning and careful consideration, we can assess and develop a robust plan to align and flex with your changing requirements and priorities. We’ll help you spring into action and ensure you can look forward to a sound financial future.



The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend on the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.