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Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Any other Autumn, we would be returning to the daily commute following the summer holidays, with children back at school and undergraduates resuming their studies on campus. However, as we all know, this year has been atypical – in all respects – and for many of us, retracing our normal routines will take far longer. One benefit of lockdown (and there may not seem like many) is that some families have actually been able to save money, simply by not being able to carry out normal routines such as buying coffee or paying for gym subscriptions.

Another surprising benefit has been to environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds, which have performed well on global stock markets in comparison to more traditional investments. One reason seems to be their lack of exposure to oil companies, which have been hit by collapsing oil prices. ESG funds consider factors such as supply chains and corporate social responsibility when assessing for risks and opportunities; this suggests that taking a responsible approach to investing may pay off in more ways than one.

Conversely when it comes to higher education, a new emphasis on online learning has not reduced the cost of undergraduate degrees, nor the debt associated with them. In our latest newsletter we consider the options facing new graduates regarding paying off student loans – and whether it truly is worth paying them off ahead of schedule.

Jumping ahead several decades, we also raise the issue of underpaid state pensions – a flaw which has recently come to light regarding married women not receiving an entitlement, equating to a 60% uplift based on their husband’s contribution record. Women who meet certain criteria, outlined in the article, are advised to contact the DWP.

Finally, the expected second Budget of 2020 has been delayed until early Spring 2021, which is being seen as the moment when Chancellor Rishi Sunak will begin to apply the brakes on government borrowing. Our newsletter considers where potential savings will be made – be it to tax or pensions – as well as all the issues listed above.

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