In Focus: Tax  

How to talk tax with female clients

FTA: When it comes to taxation and understanding personal allowances and reading tax codes, is there a way to reassure certain clients that these are common problems?

MC: From my experience, everyone seems to struggle with that. It's not just women.

But it does tend to be that one person in a relationship will be more engaged with finances, and therefore tends to have a better understanding of taxation and financial planning. This is something we need to address so that everyone has more knowledge. 

FTA: What sort of tax reliefs are often forgotten about?

MC: The marriage allowance - absolutely. The marriage allowance lets you transfer £1,250 of your personal allowance to your spouse or civil partner. This can reduce their tax by up to £250 in the tax year. But people forget to claim this - even my own mother!

Unless you know about these tax reliefs, it is easy for you to miss them so we need to promote these messages.

FTA: Generally, those in financial difficulty tend not to have a financial adviser. What can you do to help those who sit outside the advised space?

MC: Everyone assumes they can't afford financial advice, but that is not the case. Many advisers would be happy to provide one-off advice and help people, even if there isn't a long-term financial relationship.

I also think this needs to be brought into schools. People need to be reminded from an early age of the importance of getting to grips with money.

And encourage people to seek advice - we ask for help with other things in life, so why are we so afraid to ask for help with our finances? This needs to change.

FTA: Have we lost some of that 'personal touch' when it comes to women's attitudes to money? Back in the day it would have been my grandmother in charge of how my grandfather's money was spent and saved, and in charge of the insurance policies.

MC: In some ways, I think so. My grandmothers, for example, were very much in control of the household budget.

Maybe now while women are trying to balance careers and caring for children, I think that it might come down to a timing issue - looking after yourself and looking after your finances can fall to the bottom of the list. 

FTA: Has video conferencing helped you to talk to the 'whole' family now, post-Covid? What sort of positives have come out of the pandemic, in your view?

MC: One of the things coming out of Covid is that [many] people haven't spent so much, so they have a bit more put away than they would have done in a 'normal' situation. We have saved on the big spending by not travelling or eating out.