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So far Choice Financial Solutions has created 143 blog entries.

General Election 2017: How will it affect your personal finances?

The answer to that question depends on two things; the outcome of the election and how you react to the inevitable instability it will cause. At this early stage, the most likely outcome seems to [...]

Spring Budget 2017

There were no significant tax or pensions changes in the Spring Budget that will have any immediate impact. This means our advisers can plan for the tax year ahead with confidence and clarity. Future Budgets will [...]

Self Employed Mortgages – Your Step By Step 2017 Guide

If you’re self employed, getting a mortgage agreed shouldn’t be a problem, it just involves some more work on your part, that’s all. These days we all know the idea that the self-employed could just [...]

10 reasons to pay into your pension before April

Pensions remain the most tax efficient way to save for your retirement, and with the added benefit of pension freedoms we have a look at why you could benefit from topping up your pension plan [...]

Run Richard, Run!

At Choice Financial Solutions we are keen to help the local community and have provided sponsorship to various local teams. This time, Richard, who heads up our Wealth Administration Team,  would like to take on a challenge to [...]

The Ultimate Guide To Buying Your First Home

Do You Feel Ready to Step Up Onto the Property Ladder? Buying your first home is daunting, scary, exciting and an amazing experience all at the same time! At some point in most people’s lives, [...]

Market Commentary and Outlook

Choice Director and Head of our Investment Committee, John Quaif, provides us with a useful market commentary every quarter and looks at potential factors that may affect our clients and their portfolios in the coming [...]

Another new recruit at Choice Financial Solutions – Leanne Dewey, Mortgage Administration

Leanne is our latest recruit and is joining our mortgage team to provide extra support behind the scenes at Head Office. Leanne comes to us with experience from a local provider and is looking to [...]

Are you confused about Pension Freedom and not sure of your options at Retirement? It seems you are not alone.

The ABI has recently published a new guide with the aim of providing a plain language and easy to understand breakdown on your choices in the wake of the pension freedoms. As Independent Financial Advisers [...]

Meet Justine…..our new addition to the Wealth Team

If you had a superpower what would it be? – Time travel! Who is you hero and why? – Tom Hanks – the man is a god! Favourite ice cream flavour? – Mint choc chip! [...]

Frustrated by low returns on company money?

As an extension to the Choice Investment Portfolio Service (Choice IPS), where we already offer a range of Model Portfolios for our personal investors, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new range [...]

Thinking about Buy to Let?

New tax laws on rental income being phased in over the next 4 years mean that for landlords, getting advice both on taxation and mortgages is more important than ever. For tax reasons it will [...]

Market Commentary and Outlook

Choice Director and Head of our Investment Committee, John Quaif, provides us with a useful market commentary every quarter and looks at potential factors that may affect our clients and their portfolios in the coming [...]

Well Done Terry!

Terry, one of our independent financial advisers, has successfully completed the IFS Certificate in Long Term Care qualification. With 70% of people turning 65 expecting to use some of long term care during their lives, [...]

The Ultimate First-Time Buyer’s Guide – Post Brexit Edition

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum vote for the UK to leave the European Union, a huge number of unknowns have been identified. However, the one certainty is that the entire process is likely [...]

Google Virtual Tour For Our Southampton Office

We recently had Visible Digital visit the offices and add our offices onto Google StreetView so now you can take a look around our Southampton office on the Avenue in Southampton

Exam Success!

A very "well done" to Paul who works alongside Chris and Dean in the mortgage team at Head Office. Paul has achieved Merit Passes in both the Introduction to Financial Services Environment & Products and [...]

Retirement Freedoms – what are the income options for your pension?

Deciding what to do with your pension savings is an important step that we all have to take, however a recent survey by The Citizens Advice Bureau shows that seven out of ten people who [...]

Are you fit to retire?

Will I be able to afford the retirement lifestyle I want is a question that many people ask but struggle to figure out.  Perhaps retirement planning seems too complicated, or the recent changes in legislation [...]

How much will you receive under the new State Pension?

The State Pension changed on 6 April 2016. If you reach State Pension age on or after that date, you’ll now receive the new State Pension under the new rules. The aim of the new [...]

FREE Guides

Our FREE guides have been updated for the 2016/17 tax year. With updates to ISA allowances, dividend tax rules and the many pension changes we have seen over the last few years, our free guides [...]

Auto enrolment – have you missed your staging date?

More than six million workers have now begun saving into a workplace pension as a result of automatic enrolment and over 100,000 employers have automatically enrolled staff into a workplace pension, however the news last [...]

How will the Mortgage Credit Directive affect you?

Obtaining a mortgage seems to get more complicated every year. In addition to the UK’s regulatory review of the mortgage market in 2014, we now have the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) imposed by the EU which [...]

Ask the Expert

As part of our quarterly newsletter, Chris Croake, Director at Choice Financial Solutions will answer a typical question we receive on a daily basis from clients who need mortgage advice. Q. How will the EU referendum likely [...]

Meet Charlotte

Choice Financial Solutions are delighted to introduce Charlotte Ware, our most recent addition to the Mortgage and Protection Team. Charlotte joins us with over 9 year experience and an award for Young Achiever from the British [...]

Earn up to £1,000 savings interest ‘tax free’

The new tax year started on the 6th April and this  heralds a significant change in how interest is paid on savings accounts. It will also introduce a new ‘tax free’ savings allowance for savers. [...]

Buy-to-let tax changes: what you need to know

Buy-to-let has seen a revival in recent years with historic low interest rates and increasing house prices that offer landlords attractive rental incomes and capital gains. However, after the recent Budget changes investors are now [...]

Predators are after your pension!

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has recently unveiled a refreshed and hard hitting campaign to warn consumers about the dangers of pensions scams. The campaign uses true stories of those who have lost their life savings and [...]

Top Marks from Mystery Shopper

Choice Financial Solutions has scored a top rated 35/35 in a recent mystery shopper exercise by FT Adviser, an industry publication that makes weekly phone calls to independent and tied advisers across the UK. The aim of [...]

What is more expensive than your house? Raising your child…

• Are you the main breadwinner? • How would you manage to maintain your standard of living in the event of an accident or illness? • How would you feel to be unable to provide [...]

Can I get a mortgage if I’m self employed?

Lenders will certainly offer mortgages to self employed borrowers and at exactly the same rates as they would employed customers. You will need to show a track record of your income and that means providing as much [...]

Pension Cap: Savers Urged to Act Now

Savers with larger pension funds are being urged to avoid being caught by a hefty tax charge when new curbs on the lifetime allowance (LTA) comes in to force. The lifetime allowance is a limit [...]

Welcome to Choice

With the advent of a New Year comes some new staff for Choice Financial Solutions.  We are delighted to welcome Tereza and Paul to our Administration Team at Head Office. Tereza re-joins the company and [...]

Home today, gone tomorrow?

Home is where the heart is - that’s what recent research* tells us. For example, homeowners are more satisfied with their homes than renters. What’s more, 28% of homeowners report an emotional attachment to their [...]

Stamp Duty Changes – will you be affected?

Are you a landlord or buying a second home? If yes, then you may be affected by the recently announced changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) that will begin on 1st April 2016. [...]

Help to Buy ISA

The help to buy Isa has launched today Banks reveal Help to Buy ISA rates. Rates unveiled so far have been as high as 4% as well as many deals with a rate of about [...]

How to sell your house faster

Each year 900,000 property sellers are unable to achieve the speedy house sale they need (or even manage to sell at all for that matter). On average, 1.8 million house sales are successful but data [...]

Do you have more than £75,000 in deposit accounts?

The clock is ticking for anyone who has more than £75,000 in deposits. That’s the message from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) as it reminds people about the new limit coming in January. Those [...]

It won’t happen to me…

If you couldn’t work due to a serious illness, how would you manage? No one likes to think that something bad will happen to them. But if you couldn’t work due to a serious illness [...]

Help to Buy ISA

Count down begins: Only one month to go. Launched by the Chancellor at the March 2015 Budget, the Help to Buy: ISA is part of the government’s long term plan to help support First Time [...]


With Choice now in its 10th year of business we are looking to recruit two new members to join the Choice team. We are looking to recruit both a Full time Financial Services Administrator and [...]

Should I sell my home before buying a new one?

Selling your property before you buy does have risks involved but it can also have huge advantages and put you in a greater buying position with negotiating powers. Advantages of selling your house before you [...]

What you need to know? – First Time Buyers

We know the property market can be a frightening place, especially if it’s your first time venturing in to it. The challenge of buying your first home can be a daunting process that it may [...]

Pension freedoms – 57,000 savers cash in entire pension pot

Large number of retirees have taken advantage of "Pension Freedoms" and have withdrawn their pension pots in one go, according to recent research. Data collected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows that a total of [...]

Did you know it’s Pension Awareness Day?

Pension Awareness Day (PAD) is an award-winning campaign that takes place annually on 15th September. The aim of the day is to promote the importance of saving for the future and to alert the nation [...]

Banking on an Inheritance?

Anticipated inheritances often don't materialise.  But one in three Britons (35%) are still relying on an inheritance in order to achieve a stable financial future.  The reality is that many could be in for a  big [...]

Inheritance Tax: family home nil rate band – but not quite yet!

The Government will introduce a new IHT nil rate band of up to £175,000 where the family home is passed to children or grandchildren. This is in addition to the current nil rate band of [...]

After hints of an interest rate rise at the end of the year is now the time to fix your mortgage?

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has hinted that interest rates could rise from the record low of 0.5% since March 2009 – which could be a sign that mortgage rates are now at rock [...]

Top Ten Tips to make the most of Pension Freedoms

The new pension savings market offers much more flexibility and choice post 6 April this year, which is a positive, but can be overwhelming. For people planning for retirement in the new world of pension [...]

Are you ready for Retirement?

April saw some major changes in Pension legislation and how people can access their pension savings which could allow them to plan for the retirement of their dreams. However although changes have made it possible [...]

Help to Buy ISA – explained

All your questions answered about the new Help to Buy ISA Help to Buy ISA – what is it? The Budget saw the announcement of a new Help to Buy ISA to help first-time buyers [...]

Crafty Questions to ask your Estate Agent

Buying a house can be an exciting time, you’ve saved and you’re starting to look at where you can settle. Your inner Phil Spencer is thinking location, location, location and you have thoughts of colour [...]

Ask the Expert

As part of our quarterly newsletter, Chris Croake, Director at Choice Financial Solutions will answer some of the typical questions we receive on a daily basis from clients who need mortgage advice. This month we [...]

Client Reviews

Client reviews are a large part of the service we offer at Choice Financial Solutions.  Every client has their own unique circumstances and needs so we have tailored our services to suit our clients.  This ensures they [...]

Thank You Dean and Chris!

Another Thank You for our mortgage guys, always nice to get feedback from clients and know that our services makes the difference!

Smart Money

Read our latest issue of Smart Money, our quarterly newsletter in which we provide an informed insight that extends across both the financial planning and the tax calendar as we enter a very important time [...]

Pensioner Bonds extended

The availability of the 65-plus pensioner bonds has been extended until 15 May.  This follows an unprecedented demand with £7.5 billion worth already been sold to over 610,000 savers. The bonds have an investment limit [...]

Approaching retirement….. you NEED to take advice

A recent survey by Old Mutual shows that 77% of people approaching retirement have never sought professional financial advice in relation to their pension. However, at the same time, only 17%* say they understand pension [...]

Exam Success!

After months of study, it is a BIG congratulations to Tom Quaif who has passed his mortgage exams.  This exam success now sees him moving up the career path to train as a Mortgage Adviser in [...]

Welcome to Choice!

Selena is the newest recruit to Choice Financial Solutions.  Selena is Receptionist at our Head Office in Southampton.  When she is not busy greeting clients or answering calls Selena helps the Admin Team to keep the office running smoothly.  [...]

We’ll be in by Easter – moving home in 2015

Anyone who has gone through the house purchase and moving process in the past will be able to tell you that it is exasperating, lengthy, and expensive. Whilst you may have your eye on the [...]

Are you prepared for an interest rate rise?

Recent indications are showing that interest rates will rise at the end of 2015 as the UK economy continues to show signs of improvement. This shift in interest rates would be welcomed by savers who [...]

Goodbye slab structure and hello graduation – how do the Stamp Duty changes affect you?

After much speculation the Autumn Statement did reveal that George Osborne will abolish the slab structure of the Stamp Duty Land Tax and will replace it with a graduated system of tax rates which will [...]

I do….or I would rather buy a house

A recent survey by HSBC has shown that over a quarter of young Brits would prefer to buy a house if they were given £20,000, rather than put the money towards a wedding, and it [...]

Looking to build your Buy To Let portfolio?

Well thanks to a new “top up mortgage”, landlords are now able to take money from their investment properties to use as a deposit for another purchase, without any minimum income, stress test requirements or [...]

What Questions Should I ask a Financial Adviser?

Before you speak to your financial adviser for the first time, or for a new investment, or setting up a business, it’s a good idea to be prepared. We suggest that you turn up prepared [...]

Sounds too good to be true? It probably is!

Fraudsters are getting clever, they can be articulate and appear financially knowledgeable, perfecting a sales pitch to grab your attention and set up credible websites, so you wouldn’t even suspect they are not the real [...]

A Big Thank You

It's always nice to get feedback from our clients to know that we provide a valuable service is an email recently received by Dean Hurst, one of our Mortgage and Protection Advisers based in [...]

Can you afford to not have a Will?

From 1st October 2014 spouses and civil partners have new inheritance rights under the intestacy rules, along with adopted children, unmarried fathers and other family members. There are also changes to the powers trustees have [...]

Meet the admin team….

At Choice Financial Solutions a lot of work is completed behind the scenes by our invaluable admin team, come and meet them in our new Meet The Team page.

Free Pension Review – is there really such a thing?

Have you been contacted recently by call, online advert or text message to transfer your pension fund?  Did the adviser confirm he is authorised to give advice in this area? Is the transfer looking at [...]

‘Freedom for people’s pensions. A pension tax abolished.’ George Osborne

The government is to abolish the 55% death tax charge meaning savers will be able to leave more of their money to their children.The change will take effect from April 2015 alongside the reforms outlined [...]

Why use a Mortgage Broker?

If you live in Southampton or any other thriving city, you might wonder why you would need to use a mortgage advisor in Southampton when there are so many banks and building societies you could [...]

Introducing……Ian Chambers

Ian is our newest recruit to the Wealth Team.  Ian comes to Choice with over 25 years experience in both retail banking and professional practice.  Ian has a keen interest in Auto-enrolment and is working [...]

Moved to a bigger home? Did you increase your life cover along with the mortgage?

A recent poll has revealed that 64% of people who have moved up the property ladder in the last five years did not review their life cover when they took on a bigger mortgage.The poll [...]

Should you fix your mortgage for 10 years?

Leeds Building Society have announced they are reducing their 10 year fixed rates but does this mean that fixing your mortgage for 10 years is a good idea?The Pros• Security of payment – you’ll know exactly [...]

Mortgage rates are on the way down…

Today we see yet another lender reducing rates, this along with improvements in arrangement fees could mean that the next three months are set to be an ideal time to review your mortgage, or give [...]

Where there is a will, there is a way…

Writing a will is one of those things we all mean to do, the little niggle at the back of your mind, but yet the timing never seems right, it won’t happen to me right?So, why should you write a Will? Did you know that if you die without a Will• your young children could go into care if both parents die• that your spouse may not be entitled to the whole estate• if you are not married your partner may not be entitled to anything from your estate including their home• that a solicitor would probably be appointed and would charge a small fortune to deal with the estate for your beneficiaries• that the Government will choose who should benefit from your estate which may not be the people you want to inherit• the Government could take a large amount of money in Inheritance Tax which could have been mitigated.You should consider writing a Will now to avoid all of these issues and more (for example, care-home fees if you lose your capacity) which would leave your family with problems to deal with at a time when they are grieving.To write a Will can cost as little as £120 […]


Starting from April 2014, companies with less than 250 employees will need a workplace pension scheme that meets qualifying standards set out by the government.The Pensions Regulator will fine any organisation that doesn’t comply up [...]

How a mortgage broker can help to find the best solution

Buying a property can be hard work. It's complicated and, at times, can be very stressful. A mortgage broker can take you through the process, providing support where it is required. Choice Financial Solutions are [...]

Help to Buy rates announced…

Banks have begun to unveil mortgages today which they will offer under the expanded Help to Buy scheme.The government's initiative is designed to enable buyers who can afford only small deposits to buy a home.RBS, [...]

Help to Buy – can it help you?

The Government has launched Help to Buy Two which means the return of the 95% mortgage. The Government will insure the lender for any losses but to the borrower it will be a straightforward mortgage [...]

Pensions review – How regularly should I review my pension?

There has been considerable publicity about the number of people who do not have a pension and should have one but very little about those who do have but never reviewed it. Many believe that once their pension is set up, it can be forgotten about until retirement. However, in these difficult economic times, it is highly sensible to keep an eye on how it is performing. If it is not doing well now is the time to make the necessary changes before it is too late.Ironically those in the 45-54 age bracket seem to be ignoring their pensions the most, even though this is the most crucial time in their savings life. Failure to act could mean working beyond retirement age or an old age of poverty. A pension policy can be difficult to understand especially if you have more than one savings policy so enlisting some professional financial advice is a good way to ensure you will be cared for later on in life. […]

How to waste £10,000 on life cover

Buying a policy from a bank, or even from the insurer, could cost far more than using an adviser.  Don't get caught out by expensive policies from lenders and insurers.Buying a life insurance policy from [...]

Help to Buy? What’s it all about?

The Governments Help to Buy Scheme has featured heavily in the news recently and with David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, announcing that he was bringing forward the scheme from January 2014 to next week, it’s time to see who and how Help to Buy can help those looking to step onto the housing ladder.What is Help to Buy?Help to Buy is designed to help borrowers with deposits of just 5 per cent get on to the property ladder. […]

Four questions you must (but possibly wouldn’t think to) ask your mortgage…

Getting a mortgage can be stressful at the best of times, and it is easy to overlook the small details that end up costing a lot later on.  At Choice Financial Solutions we talk you through every detail of your mortgage so you are confident you have the very best deal for your individual circumstances. Here are four common questions people forget to ask and many brokers simply gloss over: […]

Don’t Bring Down the Value of Your Home – 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Being a homeowner can be fun. In fact, there are numerous twists and additions to improve the value of your home. If you are an enthusiastic kind of person, there are lots of DIY stores that can cater all your needs to make home improvement fun. However, before going into the project planning mechanism, slow down!  It is necessary to be choosy with your improvement designs because even some little changes can lessen the value of your home. But every home as well as region differs a lot and these comprise general trends. Some home decorations are not applicable to your present situation. […]

Pensions and divorce – what are my rights?

Separating from your partner can be a messy affair and separating finances is never easy at the best of times. However, one of the most important assets which can become particularly contentious is that of pensions.The law surrounding pensions and how they should be treated when a couple splits has been revised and updated in recent years but yet remains an area of real concern for many people. We take a look at the options and how the money is likely to be split. […]

Do you know how much is in your pension?

A worrying number of savers risk walking blindly into retirement by failing to monitor and review their pension pots, research has found.A study by Fidelity Worldwide Investment found that nearly 1 in 4 people (28%) [...]

Afraid of high mortgage rates? Is it worth fixing your mortgage for the next 10 years?

Following on from a deal that the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society launched last year, which it had to withdraw after only two weeks due the huge demand for it, a number of leading lenders are again looking at long-term mortgage products. These so-called ‘fix and forget’ mortgages will be set around the four per cent mark so would not be up for renewal until around 2023. With the interest in the deal that was released last year industry experts are warning that applicants will again need to speedy in order to get signed up to these new deals. […]

How to buy the right critical illness cover

Overlooking one small detail on your critical insurance policy could seriously impact your claim later on.  Buying critical illness cover can be a minefield. We offer seven tips to make the process easier. • Don't [...]

Student Landlord? Read our Top Five Tips

Renting to students can be a profitable venture but it pays to be prepared. 1. Do your research first Many prospective student landlords see the pound signs clocking up, but often fail to see the [...]

HMRC ultimatum to second property owners

People who have sold second properties have one month to notify HMRC about any profit before facing a fine. Taxpayers have until 9 August to tell the tax authorities about any unpaid tax on such [...]

Auto-enrolment: what you need to know

A million workers have now been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme under a government policy to get more people saving for their retirement. Auto-enrolment was introduced in October last year to ensure workers [...]

Ten top tips for buying a house at auction

You can pick up a bargain when you buy property at auction, but it pays to know exactly what you are doing.  Follow these top tips for buying success: 1. Do a dummy run-  Visit a [...]

Smart Money

Read our Summer Smart Money newsletter here

First Time Buyers – get the best advice and save yourself ££’s

A recent study has revealed that a quarter of first-time buyers in the last year opted for the first mortgage they came across, without comparing any details of rates, fee, terms. The majority (62%) went [...]

Why should you keep hold of your payslip…

Many people excitedly await their payslip every month, but how many of us actually hold on to it? The payslip is more than just your financial bail-out at the end of the month. It contains [...]

An Overview of Mortgage Rates – 2012 to 2013

2012 was a year that promised much in terms of mortgage rates. With an increasingly stable economic situation emerging, you would be forgiven for thinking that the housing market would follow suit. In reality, 2012 was a year of somewhat mixed fortunes for both potential and current home owners. Although the average house price actually dropped, mortgage lenders were often forced to restrict their borrowing criteria as the repercussions of the financial crisis continued to bite. The challenge of securing a mortgage remained a seemingly impossible one for many first-time buyers, but there were deals to be found. Indeed, those who took the time and care to seek independent mortgage advice benefited from a slight increase in the range of financial products on offer from some lenders. A number of these mortgage deals capitalised on appealing to those with small deposits seeking a low rate – which is now increasingly true of not just first-time buyers, but second-time purchasers too. […]

The bottom of the mortgage market?

The bottom of the mortgage market has been called, after Bank of England figures yesterday showed a major uplift in demand for house purchase loans, with the Bank forecasting a “significant” further rise. The Bank [...]

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