There are now around 4.8m self-employed1, representing around 15% of the UK workforce. Being your own boss brings freedom but could mean that you won’t have a workplace pension scheme to rely on when you retire.

A recent nationwide study2 revealed that many self-employed people aren’t making provision for their retirement years. More than two-fifths (43%) do not have a pension, with 36% saying they can’t afford to save into one. Nearly a third (31%) expect to rely on the State Pension to fund their retirement.

How to plan for the future

If you’re self-employed, contributing to a pension can be a more difficult habit to develop than it is for those in employment. Irregular income patterns can make regular saving difficult, but there are plans available that can give you the flexibility you need, and the good news is that your contributions are topped up by Income Tax relief.

Despite often having more complex financial requirements, just 10% of self-employed people regularly see a financial adviser.

1Office for National Statistics, Feb 2018
2Prudential, Aug 2018

Shared ownership involves buying a share in a property and renting the rest. It’s a cost-effective way for first-time buyers to get a toehold on the property ladder.

The Chancellor’s 2018 Budget included plans to correct an anomaly from his previous Budget by cutting stamp duty for first-time buyers of shared ownership properties worth up to £500,000.

And there was more good news. The Chancellor applied the relief retrospectively from his 2017 Budget to shared ownership properties bought in England and Northern Ireland. Searching Stamp Duty Land Tax on gives details of how to contact HMRC if you’re entitled to a refund.

How much are your possessions worth? Having enough insurance is almost as important as having insurance in the first place. When it comes to applying for a policy, it’s important to provide the right figures, as getting them wrong could have serious consequences. “Guesstimating” the value of your household contents could leave you under insured and out of pocket.

Under-insurance can be a big problem if you make a claim, as your insurance company may not pay out the full cost to replace lost, stolen or damaged items. So, if you only paid for £25,000 of home contents cover, but the total value of your home contents is £50,000, any claim you make, even for a single item included at the correct value, could be scaled-down pro rata.

Whilst the Financial Ombudsman has commented that consumers are “unlikely to be experienced in calculating such costs“, it is in the interests of the policyholder to ensure that the figure they choose to insure for is sufficient.

With interest rates at their lowest levels for some years, borrowers are often content to stick with their existing mortgage deal. However, new research from Citizens Advice reveals that being a long-standing loyal customer of your mortgage provider might be costing you money. What’s more, they calculated that 1.2m mortgage holders could be better off by shopping around for a new deal.

Their conclusions are based on homeowners who remain on their lender’s standard variable rate after their two-year fixed term mortgage deal has come to an end. The penalty for staying with their existing lender can be around £439 a year. For first-time buyers, who are likely to have a bigger mortgage outstanding payable over a longer period, the figure based on the same scenario is even higher at £1,359 a year.

As the monthly mortgage repayment is often a family’s major outgoing, it’s a good idea to review your mortgage from time to time. If you’d like some advice please contact us.

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