When it comes to safeguarding your home and family’s financial future, mortgage protection is key. In Ireland, two common options are Level Term and Decreasing Term.      Level Term Mortgage Protection  This is a straightforward insurance plan that offers a fixed amount of coverage throughout your mortgage term. The amount insured stays the same over the life of the policy, so as your mortgage balance decreases, the remaining balance of the policy will be paid to the surviving estate if you were to pass away. This provides an extra layer of protection for your family if you pass away during the lifetime of the mortgage ensuring your loved ones will always receive a certain level of protection along with clearing the mortgage itself.    For example: John and Mary have a level term policy of €400k for their mortgage. After a number of years John passes away and at the time of death, the mortgage balance is €300k. The level term policy is implemented and paid out, which clears the mortgage of €300k and provides a lump sum to Mary of €100k.    Benefits of Level Term Mortgage Protection: 
  • Consistent Coverage: Your family gets the same level of financial protection, no matter when a claim is made.  
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your loved ones will receive a lump sum along with clearing the mortgage in the event of your death brings peace of mind.  
  • Flexibility: The payout can cover the remaining mortgage balance, helping your family stay in their home without financial strain. 
    Decreasing Term Mortgage Protection  This is designed to match your mortgage balance as it decreases over the length of the mortgage. As you make mortgage payments, the outstanding balance reduces, and so does the coverage amount of the insurance policy. This ensures that your family is protected against the remaining mortgage debt.    For example: John and Mary have a decreasing term policy of €400k for their mortgage. After a number of years John passes away and at the time of death, the mortgage balance is €300k. The decreasing term policy is implemented and paid out, which only clears the mortgage of €300k but does not provide any additional payout to Mary.      Benefits of Decreasing Term Mortgage Protection: 
  • Cost-Effective: Because the coverage decreases over time, this type of policy is often more affordable than level term.  
  • Tailored Coverage: It aligns with your mortgage balance, ensuring your loved ones are always protected against the remaining debt.  
  • Mortgage Protection: It serves its primary purpose of safeguarding your family’s home by covering the outstanding mortgage debt if you pass away. 
  Choosing between Level Term and Decreasing Term Mortgage Protection depends on your situation. Level Term offers stable coverage, while Decreasing Term is cost-effective and tailored to your mortgage balance. Consult with a financial advisor to find the best fit for your family’s security. 
Estate planning is important for anyone who wants to protect their assets and ensure a smooth handover to the next generation. Practical planning tools to get started:     A Will: This is a legal document prepared by a Solicitor that describes how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. It shows who gets what and helps prevent disagreements that may arise among your family. It’s an essential first step in any estate plan.   Power of Attorney: This is a legal arrangement which appoints someone to look after your financial and or personal affairs if you can’t. Think of it as a trusted ally who manages your affairs when you are unable to do so. The person appointed is called your attorney, but it does not need to be a solicitor. If you need more information get in touch with a solicitor or contact decision support services here Estate planning and wealth preservation can be a bit tricky, and that’s where professionals come in. Financial advisors have valuable knowledge and experience to help you create a plan that fits your unique goals.   Why Financial Expertise & Advice Matters?   Tax-Efficient Inheritance Planning: Understanding how tax affects your estate is crucial. Plan to minimise taxes to ensure more of your wealth goes to your loved ones. A great way to reduce inheritance tax is by setting up a Section 72 Policy    Tailored Plans: Your situation is special, and financial advisors can create a plan that fits your specific needs & objectives.   Peace of Mind: Knowing you have expert financial guidance provides peace of mind that your wealth is in capable hands. Estate planning and building a legacy might seem overwhelming, but with professional advice, it’s a step-by-step process that anyone can handle and with regular reviews, it will stay in sync with your evolving situation. With a solid plan, you’re not just securing your assets; you’re creating a lasting legacy for your loved ones. Passing on wealth isn’t just about passing on money; it’s about setting up the next generation for success while safeguarding what you’ve built.
When managing your money, understanding taxes is an important element of Estate Planning. One area that can help you transfer your  family assets by paying less tax when you pass away, is called a Section 72 Life Assurance Policy   This plan will provide a cash payment when you die which your family can use to pay any tax bills that might result. The proceeds of this life insurance policy are exempt from inheritance tax, however, it must be used to pay the inheritance tax bills that arise at that time.   Purpose of Section 72 Section 72 policy is a Revenue-approved insurance policy designed to cover the costs of an inheritance tax bill. It is a useful tool that ensures that the proceeds of your life insurance policy help or reduce any inheritance tax bill your family may face after your death. They are tax-efficient solutions ,  making it easier for families to stay financially stable during tough times which can save them making difficult financial decisions.   Practical Examples and Case Studies 

Mr and Mrs O’Brien have 2 children and assets of 1 million to be passed on in the event of their death. The kids currently have an inheritance tax threshold or limit of €335,000 each which  they can receive in a lifetime from their parents.    

Estate Value (Assets): €1,000,000 

Less the combined threshold of (€335,000 x2): €670,000 

This means there is a balance which is subject to Tax of 33%: €330,000 

The children will have inheritance tax liability of €108,900 to pay. 

A Section 72 policy can be put in place for an amount of 108,900 to cover this tax bill on the event of the parent’s death so that all of the inheritance will pass to the children without an inheritance tax liability being paid.

  Imagine John inherits a tax bill from his dad after he passes away. With Section 72, the policy will transfer to John’s name to help pay the inheritance bill. This ensures that the money from the policy helps reduce John’s tax bill.   Now, picture a whole family with a bunch of these policies. If they use Section 72 wisely, moving policies between family members strategically, they can save a lot on taxes over time, keeping more money for the future.   Criteria for Qualification  To make sure a policy qualifies under Section 72, it usually needs to be a certain type of life policy approved by the Revenue Commissioners either as a single-life policy  or a joint-or a joint-lives policy.   A “qualifying insurance policy” is where the policyholder has paid annual premiums over the course of his or her lifetime and the policy was taken out specifically for the purpose of paying “relevant tax” (i.e. inheritance).   There must be at least 8 times the annual premiums of life cover for the plan to qualify for inheritance tax relief (section 72 relief), and if the plan is also going to qualify for gift tax relief (section 73 relief), where there is a unit-linked savings element.   SINGLE LIFE POLICY  A life policy taken under section 72 is transferred to a beneficiary on trust or a named heir to pay “relevant tax” in the event of the insured’s death. Depending on the event specified in the policy, for example, the policy may specify that the payout will go to the named beneficiary provided he or she survives the insured person by a specified time period but if this condition is not met then the proceeds will be directed to another named individual.   JOINT-LIVES POLICIES  Joint-life policies are for spouses or civil partners under section 72. When one person dies, the proceeds are paid to the surviving spouse/civil partner. The premiums are paid by either or both of them during their joint lives and by the surviving spouse/civil partner after one individual’s death.  Alternatively, spouses or civil partners may obtain a joint policy so that inheritance tax is not payable on the death of one spouse/civil partner or on the death of the surviving spouse/civil partner within 31 days of the other’s death.   Consequences of Non-Compliance  Without a Section 72 policy, you could end up with a bigger tax bill. Not following the rules might trigger something called Capital Acquisitions Tax. To avoid this, it’s crucial to pay attention to the details and that’s where we can help.  In a nutshell, Section 72 is a handy way for you to pay less inheritance tax. Understanding what it’s all about, looking at real-life examples, and sticking to the rules can help families make the most of it. Having a Section 72 policy can ensure a smooth and tax-friendly transfer to loved ones.
Setting clear and achievable personal financial goals is the key to shaping a secure financial future. In this blog, we’re here to guide you through the process, aligning your goals with your aspirations and current life circumstances.    Look Back at Last Year  Start by reflecting on the past year. Think about your financial highs and lows, challenges, and life changes that have impacted your money plans. This review will help you set realistic and meaningful goals.    Decide What You Want to do with your money  What financial milestones are you aiming for in the upcoming year? Whether it’s saving for a dream home, funding your kids’ education, or gearing up for retirement, define your personal financial goals. Specify the exact amounts needed and set deadlines for each goal, ensuring clarity and purpose.    Make Your Goals SMART  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of vague aspirations like “save money,” be detailed– for instance, “save 40,000 for mortgage or lumpsum pension or holidays”. This not only makes your goals more attainable but also simplifies tracking.    Decide Which Goals are Most Important  Recognise that not all money goals carry the same urgency. Identify the high-priority goals that require immediate attention, allowing you to channel your time and effort effectively towards what matters most.    Plan How to Reach Your Goals  Break down each financial goal into manageable steps. If saving for a mortgage is on the agenda, plan the monthly repayment amount. If a dream trip is in the cards, calculate the monthly savings target. A detailed plan makes it easier to adhere to your goals.    Check Your Progress  Regularly review your progress towards your financial goals. Life can be unpredictable, so be flexible and adjust your goals if circumstances change. Celebrate the small victories, and don’t be disheartened if things deviate from the original plan.    Ask for Help if You Need It  Feeling a bit overwhelmed or unsure about your financial goals? Consider seeking guidance from a financial advisor. You’ll get personalized advice, assistance with challenging financial decisions, and help align your goals to your overall financial plan.    Setting money goals for the new year can help you have a secure financial future. By adhering to these steps and staying committed to your goals, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the financial challenges that lie ahead. Remember, it’s never too late to seize control of your finances and embark on the journey towards a successful financial future. To kickstart your journey toward financial success, don’t forget to download our FREE Finance Planner. 
A step-by-step breakdown of the mortgage application process:    Step 1 – Complete the Application Form  The mortgage application form must be filled out with all the necessary details, including your name, address, date of birth, amount you wish to borrow, and PPS number. Make sure the information is accurate and up to date.    Step 2- Gathering Supporting Documents  Collect the required supporting documents, such as bank statements, loan account schedules, and payslips. These documents demonstrate your financial stability and ability to repay your mortgage.  Here is a helpful blog on documents needed for a Mortgage application    Step 3- Packaging and Submission  When you have your application and supporting documents ready, we package the documentation and put a proposal together to go to the lender with your submission.     Step 4- Assessment by Underwriter  Your application will be evaluated by the lender’s mortgage underwriter. A red flag that may lead to rejection is being consistently in overdraft, missing payments, or regularly paying betting companies. They are primarily concerned with determining your mortgage affordability (i.e. whether you can afford your mortgage).    Step 5- Approval in Principle (AIP)  If your application is deemed acceptable, you will receive an AIP, which is a form sent by the bank confirming the approval of your mortgage in principle. There may be various terms and conditions attached to the approval in principle and it is valid for 6 or 12 months depending on the lender.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all these mortgage terms, here a quick guide to help you understand the key terms    Step 6 – Engaging a Solicitor and Property Search  At this stage, it is advisable to engage a solicitor and begin your property search. It is recommended to bid on properties only after obtaining an AIP, as the mortgage process can take time.    Step 7 – Property Submission and Valuation  Once you go sale agreed on a property, you send the details to your broker and satisfy any conditions that were attached to your Approval in Principle e.g up to date bank statements. The lender will send a Valuer from their panel out to the property to complete a Valuation Report on the property confirming the market Value and a number of other details.    Step 8 – Loan Offer and Conveyancing Checks  Following the property submission, a loan offer will be sent to your solicitor as an official document. The solicitor will conduct conveyancing checks to verify the property’s legality and ensure there are no outstanding mortgages on it.    Step 9 – Arranging Life Assurance and House Insurance  As part of the loan offer, you will need to arrange life assurance and house insurance coverage. These policies protect both you and the lender in the event of unforeseen circumstances.    Step 10- Signing the Loan Offer:   Once all requirements are met, you and your solicitor will sign the loan offer. This completes the mortgage approval process.    Step 11- Obtaining the House:   The signed loan offer is then returned to the bank, and you can proceed with the property purchase. With the mortgage approved, you are one step closer to owning your new home.    It’s important to note that the timeline for each step can vary. Generally, the AIP stage takes around six to eight weeks, and the loan offer stage takes three to four months (although it can sometimes be longer).     If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be beneficial idea to use a broker, who can advise you on the whole market. A broker can determine what lenders have the most competitive rates and offers for your specific circumstances. Using a mortgage broker can also save you time and money as the process is more efficient than applying directly to multiple lenders. Also, a broker can help identify which lenders are likely to give you a mortgage exemption.    If you still have a few questions – here’s a link to the TOP10 Mortgage FAQ’s   or     Have a chat with our experienced Mortgage advisors for personalised recommendations based on your personal circumstance
The need for a solid financial plan is often overlooked. Many individuals might find themselves caught up in daily life, forgetting to plan for their financial future.     In this blog, we will explore why everyone needs a financial plan and how it can be the key to unlocking a secure and prosperous future. 
  • Economic Uncertainties: Ireland, like any other country, is not immune to economic uncertainties. A robust financial plan can act as a shield, helping you through unexpected events such as job loss, illness, or market downturns. 
  • Retirement Planning: The concept of retirement might seem distant, but the sooner one starts planning, the more comfortable and stress-free their retirement years can be. A financial plan can provide a roadmap for retirement, ensuring a steady income stream and a comfortable lifestyle post-employment. 
  • Education Costs: With education costs on the rise, planning for a child’s education is crucial. Whether it’s saving for college fees or covering the expenses of specialised courses, a financial plan can help parents navigate the financial responsibilities of their children’s education. 
  • Property Ownership: A financial plan can help you save for a house deposit, secure a mortgage, and manage the ongoing costs of homeownership. 
    Financial planning isn’t just about setting aside money; it’s about making informed decisions that align with your life goals. Here are some ways in which financial planning can benefit you: 
  • Goal Setting: Financial planning starts with identifying and prioritising your financial goals. Whether it’s buying a home, starting a business, or planning a dream holiday, a financial plan provides a roadmap to achieve these objectives. 
  • Tax Optimisation: A well-crafted financial plan can help individuals optimise their tax liabilities. This includes taking advantage of tax incentives and credits available for retirement planning and certain investments. 
  • Investment Strategies: Rather than making impulsive investment decisions, a financial plan can guide you when selecting investment strategies that align with their risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial objectives. 
    Whether you’re a young professional starting your career or a seasoned individual approaching retirement, the benefits of financial planning are universal. Take the first step towards a secure financial future. 
Let’s delve deep into the changes… 

Tax Cuts: 

  • 2024 Personal Tax Credits Increase: Good news for the taxpayer. Personal, PAYE, and earned income tax credits have received a boost of €100, making the new amount €1,875. 
  • Standard Rate Band Expansion: A significant change for higher-income taxpayers. The Standard Rate Band now stands increased by €2,000, taking it to €42,000. 
  • Universal Social Charge (USC) changes in 2024: The 4.5% USC has been scaled back to 4%. Moreover, the ceiling for the 2% lower rate of USC is now increased by €2,840, making it applicable for earnings up to €25,760. 
  Mortgage Holders: 
  • Mortgage Interest Rate Relief 2024: A respite for homeowners, a 20% tax relief on the increased interest paid in 2022 as compared to 2023, has been announced. This is capped at €1,250 per property and is aimed at those affected by interest rate hikes. 
  Housing, Landlords, and Renters: 
  • Help-to-Buy Scheme Extension 2025: Aiding those aiming for local authority affordable purchases, the Help-to-Buy scheme will now run till the end of 2025. 
  • Renters Tax Relief: An uplifting change for private renters, the tax relief sees an increase from €500 to €750. 
  • Landlord Tax Relief: Depending on certain conditions, 20% staggered temporary relief. 
  Businesses and Workers: 
  • R&D Tax Credit: Businesses engaged in Research and Development are in for a treat as the tax credit jumps from 25% to 30%. 
  • First-year Payment Threshold: Companies engaged in smaller R&D projects can rejoice as the threshold has doubled from €25,000 to €50,000, ensuring better cash flow. 
  • New Capital Gains Tax Relief: Angel investors now get a reduced rate of Capital Gains Tax for qualifying investments. 16% or 18% if through a partnership. 3million lifetime limit on gains 
  • 2024 National Minimum Wage Increase: Come January 2024, the national minimum wage will see a rise of €1.40, setting the new hourly rate at €12.70. 
  Families and Children: 
  • Free Schoolbooks Initiative 2024: For the junior cycle students in secondary schools as they are set to receive free schoolbooks, benefiting approximately 210,000 children. 
  • College Fee Reduction: A sigh of relief for families earning under €100,000 as undergraduate college fees will be slashed by half to €1500. Other families will see college fees for full-time undergraduate students cut by €1,000 
  Energy Credits: 
  • Household Energy Credits 2024: Households can expect three energy credits of €150 each, to be disbursed between the end of this year and April next year. 
  • Extended VAT Rate on Energy Products: The lower 9% VAT rate on energy products gets an extension for another 12 months. 
  There is something for everyone in this budget. Do you have a plan? Why not book a FREE Financial Planning Consultation. 
When it comes to personal finance, few strategies hold the potential to shape a more secure and fulfilling retirement than making early pension contributions. This proactive approach not only empowers individuals to harness the magic of compound interest but also bestows an abundance of remarkable benefits that pave the way for a brighter financial future.    Compounding Magic: The most compelling argument for early pension contributions is the power of compound interest. By starting early, your contributions have more time to grow and accumulate earnings. Over the long term, this can result in a substantial amount that can provide financial stability and peace of mind during your retirement.     Reduced Financial Pressure: Making early pension contributions allows you to spread out your savings over a longer period. This can alleviate the burden of trying to catch up later in life, which could lead to higher monthly contributions and potential financial strain.    Tax Efficiency: In Ireland, pension contributions come with tax benefits. Contributing early can maximise these advantages, potentially lowering your tax liability while simultaneously building a nest egg for retirement. Moreover, when you eventually retire and start withdrawing from your pension fund, a portion of your withdrawals may be tax-free as well, depending on your pension plan.  In Ireland, pensions offer a unique advantage as tax-free funds. This means that the money you contribute towards your pension can grow without being taxed, allowing your savings to accumulate more effectively over time.  This tax-free status of pensions in Ireland serves as a compelling incentive for individuals to build a financially secure future while enjoying the benefits of reduced taxation on their retirement savings.    Flexibility and Choices: Early contributors are better positioned to make informed decisions about their retirement lifestyle. Having a sizeable pension fund gives you the flexibility to choose between different retirement options, from travel to pursuing hobbies, without worrying about financial constraints.    Financial Independence: Early pension contributors can secure financial independence sooner, allowing them to retire when they want, rather than when they have to. This newfound freedom can enable individuals to explore new ventures, embrace new challenges, or simply enjoy a well-deserved break.    Mitigating Market Volatility: Investing consistently over the long term helps smooth out the impact of market volatility. By starting early, you can weather the ups and downs of the market more effectively and avoid making rushed decisions during uncertain times.    Inspiring Good Habits: Early pension contributions cultivate a healthy savings habit that can spill over into other aspects of your financial life. This disciplined approach can lead to improved money management, better financial decisions, and an overall stronger financial position.    The benefits of making early pension contributions are truly remarkable. From the compounding growth of your savings to reduced financial pressure, tax efficiency, increased flexibility, and enhanced financial independence, this strategy can significantly enhance your retirement outlook. Remember, time is an invaluable asset in the world of investing, and the earlier you start, the brighter your financial future will be. Seize the opportunity today to unlock the full potential of your retirement dreams. 
Creating a successful financial plan may seem like a complex puzzle, but fear not! At askpaul, we’ve broken it down into three key areas: protect, grow, and replace. With our expertise, we’ll guide you through each step to help you take control of your financial future.    Protect: Life is unpredictable, but being prepared can make all the difference. Our priority is safeguarding your assets and income. Through comprehensive life and income protection strategies, we ensure you have the right insurance coverage, emergency funds, and contingency plans in place. By mitigating risks, you can face unexpected challenges with confidence.    Grow: We understand the importance of making your money work harder for you. Our financial experts will help you identify suitable investment opportunities that offer the potential for higher growth. By optimising your disposable income, we can help you reach your financial goals faster.    Replace: Our team is dedicated to ensuring you retire comfortably. By analysing your current financial situation, we’ll determine the assets required to support your desired lifestyle. We’ll develop a personalised retirement plan that considers your unique circumstances and goals.    Tailored Financial Planning Consultations: Our financial planning consultations are designed to understand your individual needs, aspirations, and challenges. We’ll create a personalized plan that aligns with your goals, helping you achieve financial security and peace of mind.    Why Choose askpaul: 
  • Expert Guidance: Our team of financial advisors possesses in-depth knowledge of the financial landscape. We stay informed about market trends and provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date financial planning advice. 
  • Trust and Transparency: Your trust is paramount to us. We prioritise open communication and transparency, ensuring you have a clear understanding of our recommendations and how they align with your financial goals. 
  • Personalised Approach: We recognise that every individual’s financial situation is unique. We take the time to listen, understand your aspirations, and tailor our solutions to meet your specific needs. 
  Don’t let the complexities of financial planning overwhelm you. Take the first step towards financial success by booking a consultation with askpaul today. Together, we’ll protect your assets, grow your wealth, and prepare you for a comfortable retirement. Your financial future starts now.  
Retirement is a significant milestone that holds different meanings for each individual. For some, it is a time of relaxation and adventure, while for others, it signifies an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. Our recent Pension Survey aimed to understand people’s perspectives on retirement preparedness and their aspirations for this new chapter in life.   1: The Retirement Readiness Gap: The survey reveals a startling fact: a staggering 62% of respondents feel completely unprepared for retirement. This finding highlights the pressing need for individuals to take proactive steps towards securing their financial future. Retirement planning is a long-term endeavor that requires careful consideration and consistent efforts.   2: Aspirations for Early Retirement: When asked about their motivations for early retirement, 71% of respondents expressed a desire to travel more. The dream of exploring new destinations and experiencing different cultures resonates strongly among individuals approaching retirement age. Additionally, 67% of respondents emphasized the importance of spending quality time with their family and loved ones, reinforcing the significance of personal connections in their retirement plans.   3: Current Retirement Saving Habits: Encouragingly, almost 70% of the survey participants are currently saving for retirement. This indicates a positive trend of proactive financial planning. However, it is essential to note that 30.32% of respondents are not currently saving for retirement. This statistic highlights the need for increased awareness and education around retirement planning, emphasizing its long-term benefits.   Our Pension Survey highlights the importance of retirement preparedness and the aspirations individuals have for their post-work years. While it is concerning that a significant percentage of respondents feel unprepared for retirement, it is never too late to take control of your financial future. By adopting a proactive mindset, seeking professional advice, and implementing sound retirement strategies, you can navigate this significant life transition with confidence and peace of mind. Remember, retirement should be a time of fulfilment, cherished experiences, and the realisation of lifelong dreams. Start planning today for a brighter and more secure tomorrow.

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