Investing in your retirement can be both a rewarding and equally complicated process. Every year, countless individuals, and couples, struggle to find the most effective retirement plan. Factoring in all the complexities of retirement investment can be quite taxing – literally.
One of the biggest complications when investing for your retirement is the inclusion of tax charges on some of your contributions and withdrawals. The most prominent complication being the lifetime allowance, which dictates that your total pension cannot exceed £1,073,100 without being taxed (as of tax year 2021/22).
This poses many hurdles for both you and your partner, as you search for the most tax-efficient methods of investing, in order to achieve your dream retirement lifestyle.
However, as you read on in this guide, you’ll find out how to execute tax-efficient investing in your retirement, in the best way possible, using the four-box principle.
This method of tax-efficient investing uses the four main tax wrappers, as a smart approach to making investments, with the majority being free from tax. The key to doing this is as follows:
1. Diversify Your Tax Wrappers
The first thing to do is to understand how the tax wrappers work, and which ones you should include in your investment portfolio. The four main tax wrappers are:
- Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) – Allows you to save and make various contributions, which help build your retirement pot, in a tax-free environment. Contributions are gross of all tax, if through salary sacrifice. You can withdraw up to 25% tax-free annually, and the remaining 75% is taxed at marginal income rate.
- Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) – Allow a set amount of money to be put into each ISA annually, without incurring any tax charges. You can have multiple ISAs, creating more tax-free savings each year. Contributions are net of income tax and National Insurance. All withdrawals are completely tax free.
- General Investment Account (GIA) – Allows unlimited contributions net of income tax and National insurance. Growth (income, gains and dividends) is subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and dividends tax. Withdrawals are tax-free when below the £12,300 CGT allowance.
- Offshore Bond – Also known as International Bonds, allow a tax-free environment for growth on investments. Some jurisdictions may apply withholding tax. Withdrawals of 5% or less of the initial capital invested do not impose tax charges.
2. Carefully Manage Your Annual Investments
All four of these tax wrappers will have different Annual Allowances applied to them (the amount you can contribute yearly with tax-relief included), so be sure to effectively manage your contributions.
As an example, the standard ISA allowance is £20,000 (as of tax year 21/22), so ensure that both you and your partner are aiming to stay within this bracket for each ISA you invest in yearly.
Alternatively, SIPP contributions are applied with basic, higher, and additional rate tax relief, so plan your investments accordingly.
By cleverly investing each year in these four tax wrappers, you can easily begin to increase your total pension pot, and have a higher total amount to begin withdrawing from.
It is worth noting, the best plan for doing this is to consult a professional financial adviser, such as Saltus, for instance.
3. Use Tax-Efficient Withdrawing
The final stage of this method is to withdraw the funds from each tax wrapper annually for your retirement in a way that minimises tax charges, and potentially, avoids them.
For example, let’s say you and your partner have a total retirement pot of £2,000,000 spread across each tax wrapper:
- £400,000 (first partner) / £350,000 (second partner) in SIPPs
- £370,000 / £130,000 in ISAs
- £250,000 / £250,000 in GIAs
- £250,000 (first partner) in Offshore Bond
If you wanted an annual income of £90,000 between you, this can in fact be achieved totally tax-free, by doing the following:
- Withdraw £12,570 each from the SIPPs, which fall below the personal allowance threshold – meaning no tax is applied. This totals £25,170.
- All withdrawals from the ISAs are tax-free, so you could take £27,760 total from them between you.
- Combining the CGT allowance on your GIAs, means that you can withdraw a total of £24,600 (£12,300 allowance each).
- Lastly, the 5% withdrawal of the initial capital of your £250,000 Offshore Bond would amount to £12,500 tax-free.
The £90,000 annual income has therefore been achieved completely tax-free.
As you can see from this example, the four-box principle is a highly useful method of tax-efficient investing, which can be a huge benefit to your retirement plan, and allow you to secure the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.
Disclaimer: Information is correct to the best of our understanding as at the date of publication. Nothing within this content is intended as, or can be relied upon, as financial advice. Capital is at risk. You may get back less than you invested.