The very best of 2018: your 12 gift-wrapped money tips

MoneyPlus Features Team

We’re wrapping up 2018 with a dozen of your favourite MoneyPlus articles from this year, packed with tips and guidance.

From being inspired to save by the Australians and understanding tax when it comes to your pension, to millennial saving and six reasons you can’t afford to ignore the potential benefits of a pension – get ready to sort out your finances.

Super saving: Be inspired by how the Aussies do it

Whether or not a BBQ on the beach is your dream Christmas, there’s a lot to learn from Australia when it comes to pension savings – which they call their ‘Supers’.

Aussies often talk openly about what they’ve built up in their pension pots and how their investments are performing.

It’s as much a part of day-to-day conversations as house prices and the weather are here in the UK.

So, what can we learn from the Australians? If you missed this the first time, catch up now on some wisdom from down under.

The gift of knowledge: be tax savvy when taking your pension savings

If you’re thinking about taking your pension savings, which you may be able to do from the age of 55, if you are in a modern flexible pension, there are things to consider to help you make the most of your money.

It starts with knowing how your pension is taxed – and understanding more about the 25% tax-free cash that modern pensions normally offer.

Our simple guide explains that how and when you take your pension can make a real difference to how much tax you pay overall.

Let us guide you through the pension tax basics.

The ‘magic’ of tax relief and how you can boost your savings

Getting into the habit of saving for your future is a good thing. When it comes to pensions, saving can be a lot more affordable than you might think, thanks to the boost you could get from tax relief.

Put simply, for most UK taxpayers every £100 saved into your pension costs you only £80 if you’re a basic-rate taxpayer (paying 20% tax, you get 20% tax relief on money into your pension), £60 if you are a higher-rate taxpayer (taxed at 40%, you get 40% tax relief) and just £55 as an additional-rate taxpayer on the 45% tax rate. Income tax rates and bands are different in Scotland.

It’s what makes pensions such a tax-efficient way to save. But bear in mind that tax rates may change in the future and the value of tax relief depends on your own circumstances.

Read more in how to boost your savings with the ‘magic’ of tax relief.

Wrap up 2018 by sorting out your finances

The year is coming to a close and talk has turned to Christmas and the New Year.

And with the nights long, it’s a perfect time to have an end-of-year sort out, on the evenings you’re not heading out to do some festive shopping or socialising, that is…

You don’t have to be on the property ladder yet or even established in your career to benefit from giving your finances a once-over to make sure you’re taking the right steps when it comes to your money.

So, instead of wrapping presents, why not spend an evening wrapping up your finances for 2018? From winter-cleaning your bank account to using technology to manage your money and making the most of tax-friendly savings, we help you wrap up 2018 by sorting out your finances.

More of us are living longer, so let’s make the most of it

It’s a fact of modern life that more of us are living longer, often juggling careers and family into our 50s and beyond. Reaching 100 is becoming less rare.

You might be wondering what increasing life expectancy has to do with money. The answer is – plenty.

As Emma Maslin, personal finance blogger at The Money Whisperer asks: “Will the black and white phases of working life, then retirement, remain so clearly defined when we start to live for longer?”

So how can you make the most of what could be a long retirement?

Read: More of us are living longer, so let’s make the most of it

The State Pension – what you need to know

It’s little surprise that our State Pension article was one of our top performing articles during 2018. After all, it has gone through big changes in recent years.

Getting to grips with what you can expect from the State Pension and when, and building this into your finances later on, can help you fund the life you want after work.

We explain how the State Pension works, what it means for you – and how to find out more.

Considering combining your pensions? Nine things you need to know

Most of us change jobs a few times – sometimes a lot more – which probably means collecting a few pensions along the way, too.

Bringing them together into one can make it simpler to keep track. But it’s not right for everyone and you need to be sure you’re not giving up any valuable guarantees in your existing pensions.

We suggest nine things to think about.

Six reasons you can’t afford to ignore the potential of a pension

From simplicity and savings, to investing and inheritance and the potential for growth, we explain what you need to know about pensions in a simple, straightforward way.

Need we say anything else?

Discover more in What’s so good about a pension?

Why you’re never too young to start saving for the future

When you’re young and entering the world of work, the feeling of seeing your first month’s pay in your bank account is one you won’t forget.

Saving for the future? That’s for another day, surely? Why give up money you could be enjoying now for something so far away?

Actually, starting when you’re young makes great sense. Just think of it as paying your future self…

Why you’re never too young to start saving for the future

What inflation could mean for you and your savings

In his regular column featuring his young son Arlo, Jamie Jenkins helps us get to grips with savings and inflation and what it all means for your money, the next generation – and the Bank of Mum and Dad.

Read more about savings and inflation

Why ‘sensible is the new cool’ for millennials

“Something is happening with our nation’s younger people. It appears that ‘sensible’ is the new cool”, says Guy Shone, journalist and CEO of Explain the Market, about Standard Life’s report on millennial saving.

We take a look at why saving is taking off with millennials thanks to workplace pensions, bucking the idea that the younger generation prefers to spend.

Starting saving in your 20s and 30s.

How to choose the right investment options in retirement

Retirement may be a long way off for you or just around the corner. Either way it’s a good idea to think about your pension, how long you might need it to last, how much risk should you take and if you want to manage your own investments. The investment choices you make in retirement can make a big difference, so we guide you through some important questions you need to consider.

Read more about taking money from your pension and managing your investments.

A parting extra gift for you…

So that’s our run through of your top articles of 2018 – and here’s a little bit more.

Will you be one of the thousands of people who opt to fill in their online self-assessment tax return on Christmas Eve, Day or Boxing Day? More than 16,000 people did last year, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

While we don’t suggest avoiding the festivities (unless you want to!), doing yours ahead of the deadline means you make the most of any allowances, expenses and avoid any late fines.

If you want HMRC to collect any tax due through PAYE, the deadline is 30 December 2018. This is only an option if you have some income already taxed through PAYE and your tax bill is less than £3,000. The final date for 2017-18 online tax returns is 31 January 2019.


This article shouldn’t be regarded as financial advice. A pension is an investment and can go down as well as up in value. Tax and legislation may change, and the information here is based on our understanding in December 2018. Your own circumstances will have an impact on tax. The value of an investment can go down as well as up. You could get back less than you paid in.