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In recent weeks, the coronavirus has never been far from the headlines. At the start of March, there were more than 87,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with almost 3,000 deaths. While the vast majority of the cases and fatalities have been in mainland China, the virus has now spread to more than 60 countries.

One of the most immediate consequences of the coronavirus outbreak has been the impact on global stock markets.

Last week saw a fall of 11% in the value of shares in London, and a fall of 8% in New York. Other markets around the world have also seen sharp falls. While you may be concerned about the short-term volatility of the markets, it’s important to remain calm and focused on your goals.

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Juggling the demands of a busy career with the need to relax and spend time with loved ones can be difficult.

The 24/7 availability of the internet might have given you the flexibility to work on the train or receive instant responses from colleagues across the globe, but it can also bring with it a creeping temptation to check your work emails at home, or to Skype the office from your luxury holiday villa.

Striking a healthy balance between work and downtime is crucial to your physical and mental wellbeing, and can also improve your efficiency and productivity at work.

Here are five ways to improve your work/life balance.

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If you find yourself with a lump sum – perhaps through an inheritance, a bonus or because an investment has matured – you may be wondering what you should do with it.

One of the common questions that we’re asked is ‘should I pay off my mortgage with a lump sum, or should I invest it?’

As with all financial advice, there are pros and cons to both choices. However, before we consider the pros and cons of using a lump sum to invest or repay your mortgage, there are some other questions you should ask yourself first.

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Financial planning is essential at all stages of life. Speaking to an adviser can help you focus on your financial goals and give you the means to achieve them. But the hard work doesn’t stop once the plan is in place.

It’s just as essential that you revisit your plan, and that you do so regularly.

Whether checking on the progress of investments, making tweaks to retirement dates, or upending your plan entirely, checking in with your adviser is crucial.

So why do we revisit your financial plan with you?

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Last month saw the launch of the latest new polymer banknote in the UK. The new £20 note was released in late February and becomes the third new banknote to enter circulation in the last four years.

Considering that the £20 note is the most common note in this country, the introduction of a new banknote is a big deal. So, here are five important facts you should know about the new £20 in your pocket.

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Back in 2017, more than 35,000 term life insurance policies paid out an average of more than £78,000. Nearly every claim was paid (98%) and tens of thousands of families/beneficiaries were supported following an unexpected bereavement, to the tune of £2.79 billion.

However, HM Revenue and Customs figures from the same tax year (2016/17) show that almost 8,000 life insurance policies with payouts worth £774 million fell into the Inheritance Tax net, triggering the 40% tax and an average bill of £37,500.

The number of life insurance policies which are subject to Inheritance Tax has risen in recent years, yet mitigating thousands of pounds of potential tax can be done simply through the completion of a form.

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Spring Budget Newsletter 2020

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the 2020 Budget against a backdrop of economic uncertainty caused by the spread of the coronavirus.

Our Budget newsletter provides an overview of the key announcements arising from the Chancellor’s speech. Key points include a reduction in the Entrepreneur’s Relief limit from £10 million to £1 million, leading to an increase in the amount of Capital Gains Tax entrepreneurs selling their business may have to pay, together with changes to Statutory Sick Pay for employees advised to self-isolate because of the coronavirus.

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Investing in the Ethical Revolution

The ethical revolution has continued to accelerate in 2020. Extinction Rebellion protests are still taking place, ever more plant-based food and products are coming to market, and businesses are trying to show that they are taking environmental and social concerns seriously. The reason for these developments is consumer and investor demand. Consumers are looking for products that do not harm the environment, and investors want to see the companies in which they have a stake doing right by the world.

At Gibbs Denley, we whole-heartedly support these beliefs and are excited to announce the launch of three more Ethical Investment Model Portfolios from our sister firm, GDIM. In addition to the existing Conservative and Balanced Ethical, you will be able to invest in Cautious Ethical, Moderately Aggressive Ethical and Aggressive Ethical portfolios, giving a range of 5 risk profiles to choose from.

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Chris Adams, Chartered Financial Planner

Towards the end of 2019, Chris Adams became the seventh member of Gibbs Denley staff to gain Chartered Financial Planner status.  Chris provides financial advice to clients in Bury St Edmunds, Chelmsford and the surrounding areas.

Chris says: “We have committed to all advisory staff attaining a degree-level financial planning qualification – to provide our clients with the comprehensive advice that they require. I am really pleased that I have achieved this after my last exam.”

Congratulations, Chris!

The final quarter of 2019 brought significant changes in the UK with the re-election of the Conservative party as a majority government. As a result, UK assets received a boost in stock markets and the Pound made up some of the value it lost as a result of the EU referendum back in 2016.

As the prospect of a trade war between the US and China receded stock markets saw a sharp increase in values at the end of last year.  We entered 2020 with tensions between the US and Iran igniting again, which has been the source of further volatility and uncertainty.
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