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September 29, 2017

Bespoke Support Network Essex Partnering with Winston’s Wish

It’s a little known fact that 75 per cent of parents could be at risk of disinheriting their children after they die, leaving many without parents or an inheritance. This is due to the ‘sideways disinheritance trap’ which allows the person who is left everything in the deceased’s will to alter it.

When a couple decide to write a will, they often leave their assets to the other spouse or partner in the relationship. However, most are unaware that when they die, their partner will have the ability to alter the will and leave the assets and estate to someone who is not their children.

This is a common case when the surviving partner decides to remarry or lives with another partner. However, if the other partner remarries and forgets the old will is cancelled, the new spouse will be entitled to everything anyway under the rules of intestacy.

With 70% of the population yet to make a will and the number of blended families on a rise, it’s important parents are aware that they could potentially be leaving their children without any inheritance.

At Bespoke Support Network, we’re raising awareness of this trap that is causing lots of children to be left without anything if their parents were to pass away. Together with Winston Wish, a charity supporting bereaved children in the UK, we have created the campaign #SupportingWishes to encourage parents to protect their children’s future.

Our campaign is hoping to get parents to put measures into place such as a Will to avoid falling into the ‘disinheritance trap’.

Over the last few months, the pension experts Essex with BSN have been offering completely free advice to British parents encouraging them to start making a will and look into getting life insurance.

We’re also helping to raise donations for Winston’s Wish via our website as well as our own company donations.

If you want to donate to this worthy charity, or take advantage of the services BSN can offer you, get in touch with our team on 0300 303 3441 or email us on



September 22, 2017

Understanding pension auto-enrolment as business owners with Bespoke Support Network Essex

In 2012, the Government introduced the Automatic Enrolment scheme for all kinds of businesses. Despite the introduction of this brand new law, it has only just started affecting to larger companies and so it’s important for small business owners to enrol their staff – otherwise, you can find yourself getting into lots of trouble.

For some employers, this could be the first time you have heard of this pension enrolment scheme. That’s why the Pension experts working at Bespoke Support Network have put together a checklist of how to enrol for small business owners.

Check Who You Need to Enrol – For any staff who don’t want to take part in this pension scheme, they have the option to opt out but you as the employer are responsible to set one up in case. The date your enrolment duties will come into force is based on the total number of employees who were in your PAYE scheme on April 1st, 2012, meaning the more people in the PAYE scheme, the earlier your ‘staging’ date.

● Preparing for The Staging – Once you have found out when your staging date is, the Pensions Regulator will write to you and ask for a primary point of contact. This is where you should carry out a review of your staff and check who needs to be enrolled. You can do this by assessing their age and salary before determining whether you have to automatically enrol any of your staff plus pay regular contributions. If your employees are aged between 22 and the state pension age, earn at least £10,000 a year and work in the UK, they will be eligible to opt-in.

Planning For Paying into Your Pension Scheme – You may need to speak to a financial advisor, payroll manager or accountant to sort out the costs for paying into your pension scheme. Contributions started at a minimum of 1 per cent, but while rise to a minimum of 3 per cent from October 2018 for each individual employee.

Checking Your Staff Records – If you haven’t already, it’s worth investing in payroll software or managers to manage your staff records such as dates of birth, salaries and national insurance numbers, and make sure they are up to date and accurate. It is important that your system is completely compatible with auto-enrolment to save yourself a headache.

Deciding The Best Pension Scheme – Once you have done all the following stages, you can decide on the perfect pension scheme from your staff (if you haven’t already decided). We recommend doing this six months before your staging date. If you are already using a pension provider, make sure to check if you can use them for auto-enrolment.

If you would like to find out more about the Pension Automatic Enrolment scheme, get in touch with Bespoke Support Network. We will put you in touch with our pension experts Essex for more information and advice.

September 22, 2017

Estate Planning for Your Business with Bespoke Support Network

Estate Planning can be a difficult and confusing task to undertake. However, if you’re a business owner and want it grow and prosper, estate planning is a vital key to ensuring your company’s success.

What is Estate Planning?

So, what is estate planning? Similar to a will, estate planning is the process of arranging, during the business owners’ life, the final management of their estate for both during the person’s life as well as after their death. Estate planning helps reduce the amount paid in legal fees, court costs and taxes.

If you’re a business owner, your estate planning needs to include both your business and personal assets. It needs to address such issues as:

  • More Complex Estates
  • Business Succession
  • Complicated taxes

What Are Your Options?

One route you could go down, particularly if your estate has significantly grown in value, is an estate freeze. If your estate is worth a considerable amount, then it may be riddled with a substantial large capital gains tax bill. This could potentially leave your family with a financial burden. That’s where an estate freeze comes in.

An estate freeze is where your business interests are frozen from a certain date. This is often a common strategy used to address this issue.

The Benefits of Estate Planning:

  1. Guarantee of Longevity

Through estate planning you are able to allow your business to continue to grow. Like any successful business owner, you want to pass on your innovative ideas across generations. 

  1. Minimises Tax

As briefly aforementioned, estate planning helps you to minimise the amount of tax one needs to pay after you’ve passed. If you are the business owner, you are able to transfer your business over to your children. This means that when your business starts to grow, the increase in value and equity of your business will not enclose overwhelming taxes.

  1. Peace of Mind for the Future

Without sounding morbid, passing away is inevitable, so, planning ahead allows you to not only see the bigger picture, but also gives you peace of mind that your business will no longer be a burden but instead a success!

If you would like more information on estate planning or any other services Bespoke Support Network offers, get in touch today 0300 303 3441.

September 15, 2017

Let BSN Help Guide You with Your Pensions

2017 has been quite the year for pension changes. Following on from our recent blogs, Pension Awareness Day was on the 15th of September, so we’ve put together a list of vital information that you should know about your pension scheme:

What Options Are Available to You at Retirement?

Estimating how long your retirement will be can be difficult as none of us know how long we are going to live for. However, you are going to need to bear this in mind when deciding what you’re doing with your retirement savings, they may need to last longer than you think.

Of course, when it comes to retirement, many of us will have multiple sources of income. One being when you reach a certain age, you become eligible for state pension which is a monthly source of income. If you are currently saving into a work pension, you will also receive this. These are all forms of secure income and are guaranteed to last your whole retirement.

However, there are some incomes that you wish to receive but it is not guaranteed to last your whole retirement. Flexible income includes things such as; savings and investments, paid work and any rental property you own.

Which Pension Wrapper Do You Currently Have?

A pension wrapper is a system, that holds investments until you retire and start to claim retirement income. It’s a type of personal pension, with this, it allows you more flexibility with the investments you can choose which means you can manage them yourself. Another option is to pay an investment manager who will make a decision for you based on your circumstances. Please note, it is only recommended that you choose a personal pension if you have large funds to invest or you are already experienced in investing.

What Can We Do?

You’re going to want to prepare as much as possible for your retirement so you are able to live comfortably. There are still many questions that need to be asked, such as: What is the risk exposure to your holdings? Do you have a retirement age set? Is your pension managed?

Get in touch with the Bespoke Support Network today to help you identify the answers to these questions and help you to get the most out of your retirement.

September 14, 2017

Importance of Starting your Pension Young with Bespoke Support Network

For young people, it’s common to look at your pension as not a priority. Considering that retirement is a long way off for them, planning for their retirement can seem unimportant compared to the other financial priorities in their lives, such as saving for their deposit or paying off their student loan. Pair this with a busy social life and spending money on holidays/travelling, starting to save for your pension is definitely not at the front of young people’s mind – but it should be!

After speaking to older generations, the one piece of advice they give to the younger generations of today is; ‘to start saving now and feel the benefits later on.’

The team at Bespoke Support Network also agree with this. It’s important that young people recognise the importance of pension contributions early on in their careers in order to live a comfortable retirement. In fact, they are actually benefits to saving into your pensions early such as:

Tax Relief – Pension contributions are eligible for relief from income tax. If you agree to a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer (where you agree to a lower salary and your employer will pay the difference into your pension), you will also receive relief on the national insurance. While you may be giving up your wages to gain the tax relief, in the long term you will retain more of your salary for your personal benefit – as opposed to losing it to the government in tax you would otherwise pay.

● Employer Contributions – Employers are now obligated to contribute to company pension schemes, and so should contribute to your pension on your behalf. Their payments will be claimed as an allowable business expense, meaning they can be paid in gross. While the charges associated with company pensions are usually lower than an individual pension, you will receive additional funds you wouldn’t receive otherwise.

Starting Early – Defined contribution schemes are now the main options for pension savings. While they are less generous than the older final salary pension scheme, the later you start saving, the harder it will be to save for a comfortable retirement – so start saving early if you want to be going on luxury cruises every month!

Future of the state pension – As the ageing population in the UK continues to grow, there is an ever-increasing strain on the state pension fund. Experts are forecasting that the fund will run out before young people have the chance to claim their pension. Following this uncertainty, young people cannot rely on the state to provide for them during their retirement, highlighting the importance of saving into a private pension.

Early Retirement – The earlier you start saving, the larger your savings will be and the more flexibility you will have when deciding whether or not to retire. As the state pension age increases; with current 18 years olds having to work until they are 70, you may not be eligible for state benefits when you want to retire. The bigger your pension fund, the younger you can stop working and enjoy your longer retirement.

If you’re looking to get pension advice, call our team on 0300 303 3441.

September 5, 2017

The 15th of September Marks Pension Awareness Day, Let BSN Help You

The 15th of September marks pension awareness day. The UK is facing a challenge. More and more of the population are choosing to not save for their retirement, which can potentially be detrimental. Pensions are often looked over as a blasé task, especially with the opt out rather than the opt in system introduced in many businesses. The vast majority of people would much rather have a few hundred pounds left over at the end of every month, and is there any wonder why when living costs are constantly rising?

What Are The Changes?

As we’re sure you are aware, 2017 has been quite a year for changes in pension schemes, which have left people enraged and no longer saving. Of course, we recommend you don’t stop saving and risk falling into pension poverty, but what exactly are the changes?

1. Workers in their late 30’s and early 40’s will see their retirement age rise to 68.

This has angered many careers people across Britain and it is not surprising when you’re planning your life after work to then be told you’re going to have to delay it by a further 5 years. It automatically reduces job satisfaction and leaves many people questioning, ‘what’s the point?’

2. Each person affected may lose up to £9,800

Due to this rise in retirement age, more than 7 million of us will lose up to £9,800 in order to save the government £74 billion. Recent research showed that increases in life expectancy are slowing which suggests there’s no evidence for the change.

What Does This Mean for You?

Due to these changes, it will greatly affect you as well as the accessibility of your pension. However, this is just the surface, it will affect everyone differently as everyone’s plan is unique to them and essentially, pensions are a very complex and layered subject.

How Can We Help?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Which pension wrapper do you currently have and why?

2. What is the risk exposure to your holdings?

3. Do you have the correct retirement age set?

4. Is your pension managed, if so, by whom?

5. Do you know what your options are at retirement?

If you are unable to answer all of these questions, then it may be worth seeking the advice of one our expert pension advisors.

If you would like more information on pensions or any other services Bespoke Support Network can provide, get in touch today to see how we can help.

September 1, 2017

Networking Events In Essex: Benefits for Local Businesses

When someone sends you over an email or gives you a call inviting you to a business networking event, you may be quick to delete the email or hang up the call. But actually, networking can be of benefit to your business, helping you to make connections and build relationships between professionals and customers.

At Bespoke Support Network Essex, we host monthly networking events for local businesses in Essex to meet and start working with our team of professionals. We think it’s important that local businesses meet with experts within finance, the legal sector and marketing in order to benefit their brand. But if you’re still not convinced, here are some of the other benefits of networking as a small business:

  • Connections – At Bespoke Support Network, we have created networking events to bring together small businesses across Essex and London who are interested in improving their businesses through our professionals services. During the event, they will get to sit down and have a chat with our experts, gaining business advice and helpful tips for planning your finances. Even just by attending the event, our team can build meaningful relationships that will last.
  • Opportunities – When there are a group of business owners together, this presents the option for opportunities to arise. Whether it’s joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking and writing opportunities – or even sales, networking gives local businesses lots of opportunities to sell themselves.
  • Awareness – As a local business, it can be hard to get your name out there but networking gives you the opportunity to hand out some of your business cards and make relationships. If you’re regularly attending events, you will build up a reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive business.

So whether you’re looking to join our network of experts or find the right professionals to aid your business, it’s time to take the jump and RSVP to our next networking event in Chelmsford on 28th September.

To RSVP your interest in our events, feel free to call our team on 0300 303 3441 or email for more information.

August 24, 2017

When to Seek Financial Advice with Bespoke Support Network Essex

A good financial advisor can help you through difficult financial times as well as making sure you make the more suitable financial choices for your future. However, it can be hard to determine whether a situation seems worthy enough to seek the help of financial planning.

With the world of finance constantly changing, there are new opportunities and rules that will help you save money like increases in ISA limits, meaning you can save more money tax-free. Other changes to inheritance tax mean you will be able to leave more money to your children and grandchildren for the future.

While this gives many new, exciting opportunities to save money, it also gives more chances for making mistakes which could be costly and irreversible for your finances. This is the perfect reason to get in touch with a financial advisor and start discussing financial planning.

So in what circumstances should you get financial advice?

  • Pensions – The pension market is extremely difficult to comprehend and so the chances of you making a mistake is huge. Your pension is a huge asset to your future finances and therefore needs to be planned very carefully in order to make sure you can retire while maintaining the lifestyle you are used to. So whether you’re just starting out in your working life, or you’re getting close to retirement age and have accumulated a number of company pensions along the way, a financial advisor can help you manage your assets to make sure they meet your objectives when the time comes.
  • Investments – Say you have received a lump sum of inheritance, or are planning on generating some income prior to your retirement, you will need a good financial advisor to question you about your goals and ambitions. They will be able to provide you with the relevant solutions to achieving these goals. They should also inform you of the risks associated to making the investment and work with you to create an investment package should you need it.
  • Life Insurance – Most life insurance products are relatively easy to understand, however there are some that are complicated. If your particular circumstances and finances are not as straightforward as you would hope, you should get advice from an advisor. They will ask you about your goals and find out what your financial situation is like. Once the advisor knows about your situation, they will be able to guide you to the right solution.
  • Tax Planning – For high earners, tax planning is invaluable in minimizing the impact of Inheritance Tax, dealing with tax on a second property or helping self-employed to manage their taxes.

Are you in need of a financial advisor? The team at Bespoke Support Network have a database of thousands of trusted financial advisors throughout the South East. With experts providing business advice Essex to qualified will writers, we have professionals for every aspect of individual and business finance and legal practice.

August 21, 2017

The Importance of Life Insurance

Facts and figures:

Are you aware that right now, Britain is facing a deficit of 5 trillion pounds? The reason? People are taking endless amounts of loans out and not repaying their debt. Instead of allowing your family to be left in such a situation, it is important to cover yourself and your loved ones for when you do pass.

One of the main concerns you will need to sort out is making sure your life insurance is put into a trust. Without doing so, you could end up paying the tax man 40% of your savings. You shouldn’t pay the premium of losing 40% of your hard saved money, without even touching it!

With one in four people not having any type of life insurance, it means 8.5 million people in the UK are risking their families having to payout £31,000 should a family member die.

It’s importance:

Keeping your family financially stable is another important reason for life insurance. For example, covering education costs could allow a family member to achieve their dream of working in a particular job, or even add security to paying off those university debts.

Of course, life insurance also covers any additional costs you may need. Along with the added stress and emotions your family already have, the cost of funerals can amount to thousands of pounds. Do the right thing to avoid having this shadowed over your families heads, and look into getting life insurance.

Funding a home is one of the hardest things to do. The last thing you want is your loved ones having to sell their home because they can no longer afford to live there. Talk to one of our team members today to ensure this never happens to your family.

With life insurance, you choose the amount of cover you will need, how long you need it for and how you pay it, making it completely personal to you! In return your family will have the reassurance they need, knowing that if you sadly pass while covered by the policy, they would receive a cash sum pay out if a valid claim were made.

Speak to the experts: 

Start putting towards the protection of your family today, by taking out a life insurance policy. Unsure of where to start and what all this means? We are here to help. Contact Bespoke Support Network today and we can advise you on the best possible solutions for you and your loved ones.

Here at BSN we have partnerships with hundreds of experts in the finance industry, including qualified and trusted insurance brokers and advisors.

Get in touch with the team on 0300 303 3441

August 18, 2017

How Can a Virtual PA Benefit You and Your Business?

Almost every industry will have a busy and slow season whether it’s the Christmas period or the six-week holidays. It’s during the slow season you’re going to struggle to stay afloat. However, if done right, it is the ideal time to plan ahead. Planning ahead makes it easier to make it through the slow season and helps you plan unforeseen circumstances. Forecasting is tricky business and knowing where to start is even harder, fortunately, this stress can be relieved with the help of a virtual PA. Here’s how:

What is a Virtual Personal Assistant?

A virtual PA pretty much does what it says on the tin. Essentially, you pay a monthly fee and get matched with an assistant that meets your needs. They can handle as much or as little as you want. Virtual PA’s can undertake everything from E-mails and travel booking to research and other tasks. The whole idea of a virtual personal assistant is that they’re not based with you, they’re typically based at home and can work all over the country.

How Can They Help You?

Online Research
Virtual PA’s can help you undergo research which they can then report back to you. This research can be on potential competitors, exploring the market for new products and even checking up on potential employees. This can shave hours off of your working week.

Summarising Statistics
Another handy role a virtual PA can help contribute to is the collection and analysis of raw data. If you wish, they can then convert this raw data and transform it into a clear PowerPoint which you can then use to present to bosses or even fellow colleagues.

This is possibly one of the most convenient jobs to assign to your virtual PA. They can keep track of all business expenses. Deal with any outstanding invoices and unpaid bills. Of course, this will require the sharing of important information, so ensure that you are able to trust your virtual PA before-hand.

So, there you have it! There are three benefits that a virtual personal assistant can add to your business. Not only that, but it gives you more time to focus on the important things that matter most like forecasting and planning during lulls in business. The Bespoke Support Network can offer you a virtual PA service. If you would like more information about the services the Bespoke Support Network offers, don’t hesitate to get in touch.