“image credit: Andre Jackson”
Let’s face facts; Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn budget statement was aimed at placating an entire generation of younger voters that felt marginalised by the Brexit vote. This has arguably left older voters in the cold, however, with the statement making virtually no provisions for pensioners across the length and breadth of the UK.
No single announcement embodied this more than the change in railcard prices, as Mr. Hammond afforded extended use for younger people (aged up to 30) and piloted a scheme that would offer this demographic access to free travel. Conversely, there were no plans to offer a similar extension to older passengers or those approaching retirement, despite the fact that the current economic malaise and the rising cost of living is affecting every single UK citizen.
Why the Change in Railcard Prices is Indicative of a Wider Issue
This announcement was part of a wider trend for pensioners and older voters, who will probably feel as though they have been overlooked by the government in a bid to woo younger voters. After all, there was also a proposal to abolish stamp duty for first time buyers, on all property purchases worth £300,000 or less. Conversely, there were no amendments to pension legislation or allowances, meaning that no changes have been made to account for the challenging macroeconomic climate in the UK.
Some pension experts have labelled no news as good news for the older generation, of course, as those approaching retirement can at least take solace in the fact that they have not faced further restrictions on their investments.
Despite this, the sense of marginalisation among pensioners and older voters is tangible, with the lack of extended Railcard usage seemingly indicative of the government’s approach. For many, this is encouraging them to adopt a single-minded and proactive approach to optimising their pension funds, primarily by focusing on increasing their earnings, minimising expenditure wherever possible and opening their mind to more creative and rewarding investment options.
The Bottom Line – Why Financial Planning is Key
Given the nature of the market and the Chancellor’s budget, it’s also important that older citizens partner with expert financial planners such as Tilney. This ensures that their disposable income is invested and managed as effectively as possible, in line with both their financial circumstances and long-term objectives.
Another benefit of this is that you can begin to make and execute plans for your future estate, as you look to minimise taxation and plan its distribution in the event of your passing.
This type of proactive approach can make all the difference in the current climate, particularly with the government currently unable to enhance pension options or reduce the cost of living for older residents.