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Budget 2014: Pensions shake-up divides industry – but may boost sustainable investment



Changes to pensions announced in Wednesday’s budget have received mixed responses from financial advisers. Whilst some have welcomed the news, others have raised concerns about the possible impacts of what has been called the “most far-reaching reform” of the pensions industry since 1921.

The chancellor George Osborne said that pensioners would have more freedom when it comes to their retirement savings. He argued that people are “capable of making decisions” about their own financial futures and as a result scrapped the need to buy an annuity at retirement.

Mark Hoskin, financial adviser at London-based Holden & Partners, commented, “This is a massive change to pensions and makes them far more attractive to savers and is a very welcome move.

“Its stops the situation where a person saves for years and years and then finds the pensions cannot deliver what they expected due to rules around what you can take out. It is terrible for annuity companies.”

Since the budget speech, annuity providers have seen their shares slide, with more than £3 billion wiped off shares in the insurance sector. Leading annuity providers Partnership Assurance, Legal & General, Aviva, Standard Life and Prudential all saw a fall.

The changes have also raised concerns that some pensioners could be put in a vulnerable position. The National Association of Pensions Funds (NAPF) commented that taking a pension as a lump sum “brings with it a significant burden of responsibility for individuals to understand the choice they are making”.

The organisation called on the government to give more details on how it will ensure that people have access to good impartial advice so that they can make the right decisions about their income and retirement.

Julian Parrott, financial adviser at Edinburgh-based Ethical Futures, said, “I feel that though imperfect, the annuity does provide some certainty for many pensioners and it’s debatable that they can genuinely manage their assets to maintain a lifelong income.

The new ‘freedom’ over pension benefits may well prove to be illusory once people look at and hopefully understand the alternatives.”

Despite concerns, some have suggested the pension reforms could provide pensioners with a way to invest in sustainable and ethical projects and receive a better return on their money.

Karl Harder, co-founder and managing director of crowdfunding platform Abundance Generation, commented, “We very much hope this will allow green investment, providing inflation linked returns, to be considered alongside other forms of retirement income investing.”

Osborne also revealed that it would no longer be possible for companies that derive revenues from Renewable Obligation Certificates to qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), a tax relief designed to help smaller high-risk companies raise finance. Whilst not retrospective, the changes will impact on investment in renewables projects.

Further reading:

Budget 2014: Osborne freezes carbon price floor and boosts North Sea oil

Budget 2014: Investment tax relief to boost social enterprises

Budget 2014: new £1 coin revealed

Budget 2014: Osborne to deliver budget for ‘resilient’ economy

Budget 2014: Osborne must lay out vision for greener UK, says Lord Stern


Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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How to make a sustainable living out of Forex Trading?




sustainable forex trading
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Robert Kneschke |

There are two different types of forex trading in general: the profitable one and the not so profitable one. Everyone wants good profits at the end of the day, but unfortunately a good number of traders are burdened with the huge losses at the end of their forex careers. Many newbies run the other way around when they hear about forex trading due to heavy losses in their initial period. Of course, you would have heard about all those success stories, in your friends’ circle or on the internet. However, if you are looking forward to replicate those success stories, you need get yourself ready before that.

In this article, we will discuss the six essential skills that are needed to earn some profits from trading foreign currencies and make a sustainable living out of it.

1. Limit your risk ceiling

When you start with forex, you should try to define limits. Try to create a balanced scorecard that defines your personality with regards to various parameters such as your strengths, weaknesses, behaviors, and ability to take risks. It is essential that you list your financial goals before you start with forex trading.

2. Learn about leverage ratio and account type

When you start, brokers will suggest different forex trading accounts that might take you for a whirl if you aren’t prepared. Each forex trading account has its own pros and cons. It is essential that you engage with your broker to create a mini trading account so that you will be able to warm up on your forex trading skills in a low risk environment.

3. Start small

While starting out, some investors rush to have multiple currency pairs without doing proper research on them beforehand. It is very important have you understand the nature and volatility of a currency before you start trading a pair. Every single foreign currency is like a market onto itself. It is therefore important that you take the time to study about the country before forming pairs to understand the volatility of the currency. By using forex trading platforms such as ETX Capital, you can take informed decisions easily.

4. Learn to control emotions

A forex trader should never take any decisions on the spur of the moment based on emotions and should be as rational as he can. Controlling your impulses is the key to becoming a great forex trader.

5. Automate your processes

I am not suggesting you to rely completely on forex robots and trade copiers, but make use of the latest automation tech to execute transactions faster than ever before. Make use of automation features such as stop loss, price options etc. to make the most out of the exciting opportunities.

6. Keep it simple.

Not everyone can be a genius economist, mathematician and a trader, bundled into one. Forex trading is not a complex subject, you only need to arm yourself with positive thinking, and set yourself clear and realistic goals.


I hope this article was useful for you to learn about the key reasons why online forex trading is a good investment and how you can earn money through it. If you have any doubts with regards to this, let us know through the comments and we will be glad to help you out. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can improve the article, let us know them through the comments as well for us to improve.

Though it’s a reliable source of income, you will have to educate yourself properly before you start investing. It is important that you take the time to understand why things are the way they are before you jump all in and start making your first big bucks. All the best for your future ventures and keep coming for more interesting and useful articles.

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