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Wednesday, 30th October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

How does 'longevity’ affect pensions?

Ireland has experienced a rapid increase in longevity in recent years. In 1926, Irish male life expectancy was 57.4 and 65 year olds could expect to live another 12.8 years. Female life expectancy was 57.9 and those reaching 65 could live a further 13.4 years.

While male life expectancy grew steadily in subsequent years, it was only in 1991 that 65 year old males began to live longer than in 1926.

By then, male life expectancy was 72.3 and a 65 year old could expect to live for 13.4 years. Female life expectancy was 77.9 and a 65 year old could expect to live another 17.1 years.

As more people are living longer, older people are becoming a bigger proportion of the population and this is having a knock-on effect on pensions.

If we look at a

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Wednesday, 30th October 2013

LABOUR TD for Waterford, Ciara Conway, has welcomed the provision in the Finance Bill published today for the immediate introduction of the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme as announced in Budget 2014.

"I am hopeful the new relief will incentivise homeowners to spend money on their own home by offering them a tax break of 13.5% of the cost of the project.

"If the queries to my office over the past week are anything to go by, then I think there are a lot of people who will avail of this initiative to carry out home improvements. This can range from the installation of new windows and doors to a new kitchen. Essentially any improvement works carried out by a registered contractor subject to the 13.5% VAT rate are covered.

"This is not just good news for households, but also for builders and contractors

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Wednesday, 30th October 2013

Cllr John Cummins, Mayor of Waterford, has welcomed the announcement by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, that Eishtec – an outsourced contact centre company set up in the city in 2010 – are to create an additional 250 jobs with 150 of these in Waterford and the remainder in Wexford. The new positions will take Eishtec’s headcount in Waterford to 600, making it one of the city’s largest employers.

Formed by three local entrepreneurs who had previously worked together in the sector, Eishtec has grown rapidly from having nine employees as recently as May 2011.

Welcoming their latest expansion, Cllr Cummins said: "Eishtec is a great example of an indigenous Irish company identifying a market opportunity, responding nimbly to that with the support of Enterprise Ireland and creating a very substantial business that provides employment to hundreds of

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Wednesday, 23rd October 2013

John Smiles, Qualified Financial Advisor

How will the Personal Insolvency Act impact on Pensions?

The Personal Insolvency Act, 2012 introduced three alternatives to bankruptcy for insolvent persons.

Those arrangements are:

- Debt Relief Notice [DRN], a 3-year arrangement for unsecured debts below €20,000.

- Debt Settlement Notice [DSA], a 5-year arrangement for all unsecured debt.

- Personal Insolvency Arrangement [PIA], a 6-year arrangement for unsecured debt and secured debt up to ?3 million.

Persons entering such arrangements are entitled to deduct 'reasonable living expenses' from their income in determining how much they can afford to repay their creditors.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland has published guidelines on its website and it seems that while 'savings and life assurance' payments are allowed, it is unlikely that discretionary pension contributions will be allowed for the duration of the arrangement. There appears to be no explicit prohibition on employer pension contributions

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Wednesday, 23rd October 2013

Budget 2014 Mostly Positive for Business - Increase in Pension Levy Counter

Productive - Waterford Chamber

Waterford Chambers has welcomed the majority of pro-business measures announced as part of Budget 2014.

Commenting on the budget, Nora Widger, President of Waterford Chamber, said "This budget has been one of the most positive for business in recent years and we are glad that the Government has accepted that recovery will be achieved through job creation and support for business."

"Measures that the Chamber Network has consistently campaigned for such as the Home Renovation Tax Incentive Scheme and the maintenance of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector will have a direct impact on job creation. Businesses will also benefit from the increase in the cash receipts threshold for VAT to €2m, Capital Gains Tax Relief for certain entrepreneurs and the removal of restrictions on the

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Wednesday, 16th October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is the US debt ceiling?

American and global financial markets are again staring at the abyss of default due to the failure of US politicians to agree a new budget which has closed down some government services. The failure to increase the amount of money the US government can borrow – the debt ceiling, threatens to cause the US to default on its debt.

The debt ceiling was introduced in 1917 during the First World War. At the start of the war the US was neutral and it was only when a number of US ships were torpedoed by German submarines that they became involved on the side of the British, French and Russians. Wars cost money and generally are not budgeted for. The President, Woodrow Wilson had to continuously go to Congress to get permission to raise

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Wednesday, 16th October 2013

O2 has selected ten small business customers from around the country and devoted the window of their local O2 stores to promote those businesses. Hillary Murphy's image will be on display in The O2 Store in Waterford until the end of October.

Customers will be entered into the competition to have Brian O'Driscoll appear in their very own ad when they sign up to O2's new €50 Small Business Bundle. The competition is supported by national and regional radio promotion, which starts today.

Commenting on the launch of the competition, O2's Head of Brand and Sponsorship Rita Kirwan, said: "This is a great opportunity for O2 to really get behind small businesses in a meaningful way: using our shop fronts and our partnership with Brian to promote the products and services of our small business customers."

O2's new Small Business Bundle offers fixed

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Wednesday, 9th October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is the US debt ceiling?

American and global financial markets are again staring at the abyss of default due to the failure of US politicians to agree a new budget which has closed down some government services. The failure to increase the amount of money the US government can borrow – the debt ceiling, threatens to cause the US to default on its debt.

The debt ceiling was introduced in 1917 during the First World War. At the start of the war the US was neutral and it was only when a number of US ships were torpedoed by German submarines that they became involved on the side of the British, French and Russians. Wars cost money and generally are not budgeted for. The President, Woodrow Wilson had to continuously go to Congress to get permission to raise

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Wednesday, 9th October 2013

I was at two retirement planning sessions recently: they couldn't have been more different. Over the tea and biscuits in the morning session, the attendees talked about the price of home heating oil and the cost of living. The afternoon group chatted about what holidays they planned on taking. Two different mindsets, both realistic, one audience was lucky enough to have taken steps to plan for retirement; the other relied on the State.

Half of Irish people between the ages of 30-45 have not started to save for their pension – despite many of them being concerned about their finances, according to a new survey undertaken by Bank of Ireland Life. The survey, which was undertaken by Red C on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life, has found that 95% of people said if they could retire in the morning they

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is a Risk Profiling Tool?

Risk Profiling [RP] tools have been used for many years in Australia and Canada, countries which are recognised as being sophisticated as regards financial planning. Close to 50% of independent financial advisers in the UK also use them and their use by Financial Brokers is growing rapidly in Ireland.

Risk preference is the subjective tolerance of risk by an investor. Traditionally, Financial Brokers may have assessed this by having a discussion with a potential investor and measured it on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is 'very low risk' and 10 is 'very high risk'.

RP tools are very helpful in assessing the risk tolerance of an investor and the broker representative bodies in Ireland now recommend their members to use them where investment risk is a significant element of a financial

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    When the latest statistic that waiting times for patients had risen to their highest level yet, there can't have been too many people that were surprised.There are now over 700.000 people on waiting lists with over 50.000 of them children. That so many people are waiting for treatment in one of the most developed economies in the world is truly frightening. Of course you can take into account the underfunding of the health sector during the economic downturn but it still wouldn't fully explain why so ma …

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