Property investment glossary

Annual Allowance


Although you can save any amount of money into your pension, there is a limit to the amount of pension savings on which you won’t be taxed. The annual allowance, currently set at £40,000, is the maximum amount of money you can save up within a year with tax-relief.

Annual Allowance charge


If an individual exceeds the Annual Allowance in one year, they won’t be eligible for tax relief on contributions that exceed the limit, and may have to repay the tax relief or pay income tax on benefits that exceed the limit.

Annuity


A fixed sum of money that is paid out to you by a chosen insurance company as an annual income until you die. In general there are different types of annuity that you can buy:

  • Single: pays a high level of income, but will stop upon the pension-holder’s death.
  • Joint: continues paying a fixed percentage of an individual’s income to their spouse upon the pension-holder’s death for the duration of the annuity.
  • Guaranteed period: guaranteed for a specified period of time, regardless of the death of the pension-holder (in which case it would be transferred to a named beneficiary).
  • Annuity protection: guarantees that, if you die before the age of 75, the balance of a pre-arranged percentage of your annuity will be available in a lump-sum (taxable at 35%).
  • Escalation: increases each year to keep up with the rising cost of living, rather than remaining static over the course of retirement.
  • Overlap: if an individual has both a joint annuity and a guarantee period, there is the option of an overlap, meaning that, should their spouse die, the surviving partner would receive their spouse’s pension alongside their own.

Within these options, there are a number of variables that can affect your annuity and provide a level of personalisation. For example, you can get an impaired life or enhanced annuity that pays more if the owner has certain medical conditions that diminish life expectancy, a postcode annuity based on the average life expectancy of the area in which the owner lives, an investment-based annuity which is correlated with the investment market, or a Purchased Life Annuity (PLA) which is purchased with money not tied to your pension pot. You can even purchase a temporary annuity which provides payment for a fixed term, up to a maximum of 5 years, if you didn’t want to commit to a lifetime annuity.

Annuity rates


Annuity rates are what determine the level of income you will receive from your annuity. Annuity rates can fluctuate but, once you buy your annuity, the rate you receive is fixed.

Arrears


Being behind in paying money owed. In the property market, ‘in arrears’ usually refers to a tenant falling behind on rent payments.

Asset Class


An asset class is essentially a category of assets. Assets could be a variety of things such as equities, cash, shares, and securities. Property is an example of a tangible asset.

Automatic Enrolment


Employers now have the duty to enrol their workforce automatically into a workplace pension scheme—whilst they must deduct at least 1% of the earnings of their employees to contribute to their personal pension schemes, employers must also contribute a fixed rate themselves. Although this process is automatic for anyone over the age of 22 earning more than £10,000 per year, once enrolled employees can manually opt out of their workplace pension scheme should they choose.

Basic State Pension


The basic State Pension (maximum £113.10 per week) is a regular payment from the UK government, which you are entitled to if you have paid or been credited with National Insurance contributions, and are a man born after the 6th of April 1951 or a woman born after 6th of April 1953. The State Pension fluctuates due to both the average percentage growth of wages in the UK and the percentage growth in prices as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Beneficiary


The recipient of pension benefits, nominated by the original pension-holder in the event of death.

Benefit Crystallisation Event


An event that results in the payment of an authorised benefit from an individual’s pension scheme. The most popular BCEs in retirement are:

  • Taking pensions commencement lump sum (PCLS)
  • Crystallising funds to provide income via drawdown, scheme pension or annuity respectively
  • Lump sum payable on death

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