Your at-a-glance guide to this week’s financial news

Number one financial regret: “I wish I’d started saving earlier”

Research from Standard Life has found that UK adults have many money regrets. But when asked what one thing, if anything, they most wish they had started doing earlier to be financially efficient with their money, saving for retirement came top of the list.

Nearly one in seven (15%) UK adults said they wish they’d started saving for their retirement when they were younger. And if you ask those aged 55 plus, today’s baby boomers, then an even higher number – one in five – say this is their biggest regret. This figure rises further among adults who are saving into a personal pension rather than being part of a workplace scheme, with a quarter (25%) wishing they’d started saving earlier, compared to just 13% of those saving into a workplace pension.

Standard Life’s Julie Russell says: “As they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I think we can all learn from those who are older and wiser. If 20% of baby boomers who are retiring or are already retired say they wish they’d started saving for their retirement earlier, then we would be foolish not to listen to their advice. The earlier we start saving, the bigger the impact on our future finances.”

Child benefit changes reminder

People with an income over £60,000 whose family is still receiving Child Benefit should opt out before 28 March if they wish to avoid filling in a tax return and repaying the benefit for the 2013/14 tax year.

Latest HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) figures show that over 365,000 people have opted out of Child Benefit since the High Income Child Benefit Charge was introduced on 7 January. Those who have already stopped their Child Benefit payments do not need to act.

People who continued to receive Child Benefit after January need to register for Self Assessment by 5 October 2013 to repay the benefit received between January and April 2013, but opting out now means they will not need to fill in a tax return in future years.

Lin Homer, chief executive at HMRC, says: “Anyone wanting to opt out of Child Benefit payments can do so at any time. It is really easy – just go to our website. Anyone with an income over £60,000 who has received Child Benefit since January needs to register for Self Assessment by 5 October to repay some or all of this year’s benefit, but if they opt out now this will be a one-off.

“For people with income of more than £60,000, the tax charge is 100% of the amount of Child Benefit. For income between £50,000 and £60,000, the charge is gradually increased to 100% of the Child Benefit.”

50% of 65 year olds could get more income in retirement

Analysis by Partnership, one of the UK’s leading enhanced annuity providers, has found that over 50% of the UK’s retiring population at age 65 have a health or lifestyle condition that would qualify them for an enhanced annuity.

The latest analysis also highlighted that the extra income that a 65-year old with a typical condition would receive in their pension is on average 25% and this is after taking into account the recent gender pricing changes.

The top five enhanced annuity medical conditions identified by Partnership are: diabetes, cancers, strokes, high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, whilst top lifestyle conditions include smoking and diabetes.

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