What you must know to plan your finances this year

What you must know to plan your finances this year

Everything from your weekly state pension to council tax bills is set to change next year. Here Amelia Murray takes you through what’s in store for your finances in 2019. Get a grip: There are changes in store for your finances in 2019 and it pays to plan ahead  JANUARY Energy bills Gas and electricity


Everything from your weekly state pension to council tax bills is set to change next year.

Here Amelia Murray takes you through what’s in store for your finances in 2019.

Get a grip: There are changes in store for your finances in 2019 and it pays to plan ahead 

Get a grip: There are changes in store for your finances in 2019 and it pays to plan ahead 

JANUARY

Energy bills

Gas and electricity bills were capped at £1,137 a year yesterday. This will be updated each April and October, when it could rise. 

Ofgem, the regulator, claims it will reduce energy bills for 11 million homes by an average of £76 a year — or £120 for those on the most expensive tariffs. 

But experts say households could save more by switching to a cheaper fixed deal. Currently, the cheapest one-year fixed rate is around £903 with Utility Point — a £234 saving.

Train tickets

Rail fares will rise by an average of 3.1 per cent from today, according to the Rail Delivery Group. 

All change: Rail fares will rise by an average of 3.1 per cent from today, according to the Rail Delivery Group

All change: Rail fares will rise by an average of 3.1 per cent from today, according to the Rail Delivery Group

All change: Rail fares will rise by an average of 3.1 per cent from today, according to the Rail Delivery Group

Regulated train fares, which account for around 45 per cent of those available, including season tickets and anytime fares in major cities, will rise — in line with inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) last July. 

It means an annual Brighton to London season ticket will now cost an extra £134 a year, at £4,092.

FEBRUARY 

Water bills

Any changes to next year’s water bills will be announced in early February, and come into effect from April 1. 

Last year, costs increased by around £9 a year, taking the average annual bill to £405.

As part of watchdog Ofwat’s 2019 price review, water companies have submitted plans for 2020 to 2025, a number of which have pledged to lower prices, including Northumbrian Water which has proposed a 12 per cent cut.

March 

Council Tax

These are set to rise across the country from April 2020. Individual councils set their own levy, so the extra amount will depend on where you live. 

Council tax is set to rise across the country from April 2020. Individual councils set their own levy, so the extra amount will depend on where you live

Council tax is set to rise across the country from April 2020. Individual councils set their own levy, so the extra amount will depend on where you live

Council tax is set to rise across the country from April 2020. Individual councils set their own levy, so the extra amount will depend on where you live

Last month, ministers announced they would allow councils to up rates by 2.99 per cent — with many also able to add a further 2 per cent to pay for social care.

In total, it means a potential rise of £107 for the typical Band D council tax bill, taking average demands from £1,671 to as much as £1,778. Councils are expected to reveal changes to their bills on March 27.

April

Income tax

From April 6, the personal allowance, the amount you can earn before paying tax, is increasing from £11,850 to £12,500. 

Also, the amount you can earn before paying 40 per cent tax is increasing from £46,350 to £50,000.

In the October Budget, Philip Hammond said the changes would give basic-rate taxpayers an extra £130 a year and higher earners £860.

In reality, only high income pensioners will save the full £860, as they do not pay National Insurance, which is also increasing from April. When taking into account NI hikes, someone with a salary of between £50,000 and £100,000 would get an extra £520 a year.

State pension

This rises every year in line with the greater of average wage growth, inflation (as measured by the Consumer Prices Index) or 2.5 per cent. Last year, the increase in average earnings was highest at 2.6 per cent.

Those who receive the full new state pension, introduced in 2016, will see their weekly payment rise by £4.25, from £164.35 to £168.60 — an extra £221 a year

Those who receive the full new state pension, introduced in 2016, will see their weekly payment rise by £4.25, from £164.35 to £168.60 — an extra £221 a year

Those who receive the full new state pension, introduced in 2016, will see their weekly payment rise by £4.25, from £164.35 to £168.60 — an extra £221 a year

This means that, from April 6, the basic state pension will increase by £3.25 a week, from £125.95 to £129.20 — an extra £169 a year.

Those who receive the full new state pension, introduced in 2016, will see their weekly payment rise by £4.25, from £164.35 to £168.60 — an extra £221 a year.

Inheritance tax

Everyone can pass on up to £325,000 to loved ones, tax-free, when they die. There is also a main residence allowance, which is £125,000 per person. 

This means that anyone who owns a home can pass on up to £450,000 of wealth without inheritance tax being due.

From April 6, this will increase again to £150,000. So an individual would have a total allowance of £475,000 (£950,000 for married couples and civil partners).

To qualify for the extra allowance you must have previously lived in the property and leave it to a direct descendant.

Work pension contributions 

From April 6, the minimum amount you and your employer must pay into your workplace pension is increasing. 

For all staff aged over 22 and earning more than £10,000, this contribution will rise to 5 per cent, and to 3 per cent for employers. 

It means those on a £27,000 salary would be paying around £500 this year if they made minimum contributions, which will rise to more than £850 in 2019-20.

August

PPI deadline

If you think you have been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), you must complain to your provider or the Financial Ombudsman before August 29 or lose your right to claim your money back.

NOVEMBER 

Help to buy isa

This Government savings scheme for first-time buyers will close to new customers on November 30.

The account offers a 25 per cent bonus on savings earmarked for a first property. Savers can put away £1,200 in the first month and £200 a month thereafter. 

For every £200 you save, you get a £50 boost from the Government, up to £3,000.

If you already have a Help to Buy Isa, you can keeping paying into the scheme and claim the bonus until December 1, 2030.

a.murray@dailymail.co.uk

 



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