Navigating Financial Waters: April/May 2023 Budget & Market Update

Introduction: Welcome to Lifetime Wealth’s April/May 2023
Budget & Market Update! In this edition, we delve into the exciting changes
in pension rules outlined in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent budget. However,
it’s essential to consider the potential reversals promised by the opposition
government if they win the next general election. So, let’s explore the
opportunities at hand while keeping an eye on the future.

Pension Rules: Seizing the Moment Chancellor Hunt’s budget
brought some game-changing modifications to pension rules, sending ripples of
excitement among investors. First and foremost, the lifetime allowance has been
abolished, removing the upper limit on pension values. However, it’s worth
noting that the Labour Party intends to reverse this policy if they come into
power. To determine how this may affect you, we recommend consulting your
financial advisor.

The annual allowance has also witnessed a significant boost,
increasing from £40,000 to £60,000 per year. Additionally, higher earners will
now experience tapering at £260,000 instead of £240,000. Furthermore, the Money
Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) has risen to £10,000 per year, impacting
individuals who have taken taxable income from a pension, returned to work, and
plan to contribute to a pension again.

Navigating the Tax Landscape: With the changing financial
landscape, it’s crucial to stay informed about personal tax adjustments. In the
2023/24 tax year, the 45% threshold has been lowered from £150,000 to £125,140.
Moreover, the tax-free dividend allowance has decreased from £2,000 to £1,000,
while the CGT annual exempt amount has fallen from £12,300 to £6,000. It’s
important to stay updated on these changes to ensure effective financial

Market Insights: Hopeful Signs and Caution The global market
scenario remains a mix of hope and caution. In the United States, although
inflation is still increasing, the rate of increase has slowed down. The belief
that interest rate hikes have positively impacted the economy and stimulated
recovery is gaining traction.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has witnessed tiny but
encouraging signs. After a few months of declining prices, house prices rose in
December. Analysts suggest that inflation may have reached its peak, thanks to
the positive effects of rising interest rates. However, they remain cautious,
emphasizing that more progress is needed for a full restoration of consumer

In the UK equity market, the FTSE100 outperformed global
markets in 2022, delivering a modest gain despite the challenging environment.
Moreover, alternative energy sources have been discovered, reducing reliance on
Russian oil supplies. Even gas supplies are being successfully replaced by
“friendly” countries, promising potential drops in wholesale energy
costs and, hopefully, retail prices as well.

Equity and Bond Outlook: Navigating Uncertainty Given rising
interest rates, inflation concerns, and geopolitical risks, investors have been
compelled to reassess their future expectations. However, there’s a silver
lining amidst these challenges.

For UK investors, UK equities are projected to yield between
4.6% and 6.6% per annum over the next decade. Similarly, global equities
(excluding the UK, unhedged) are expected to generate returns ranging from 6.1%
to 8.1%. Amidst this macroeconomic backdrop, maintaining a focus on long-term
goals and adhering to the principles of reasonable asset allocation across a
globally diversified portfolio remains a prudent approach.

In the bond market, central banks worldwide, including the
Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the US Federal Reserve, are
anticipated to continue raising interest rates to combat inflation. While these
rate hikes have caused short-term challenges for investors, they have also
increased return expectations for the asset class. The eventual peak and
persistence of interest rate rises will be contingent on inflation trends.

Recent Events: Weathering Storms and Uncertainties Recent
market drops in US, UK, and European equities following the collapse of SVBank
and the run on Credit Suisse have sparked significant concerns. However, it’s
crucial to differentiate between investor sentiment and the actual strength of
balance sheets. The Bank of England has reassured investors that the UK banking
system remains safe, sound, and well-capitalized.

Additionally, there are ongoing concerns surrounding the US
debt ceiling—the maximum amount of money the US government can borrow. A
failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead to negative consequences, such as
a decline in the value of US assets, increased interest rates, and a potential
slowdown in the global economy. However, history suggests that a solution will
likely be found to avoid a default.

Conclusion: As we navigate the dynamic financial landscape
of April and May 2023, it is essential to remain agile and well-informed.
Chancellor Hunt’s budget brought exciting changes to pension rules, presenting
opportunities for those who can benefit from them. However, potential reversals
by the opposition government loom on the horizon. The global market shows signs
of hope but demands caution, and staying focused on long-term goals while
maintaining diversification remains prudent. Let us weather the storms and
uncertainties together, ensuring our financial strategies are adaptable and