What is lifestyle planning and how does it affect my finances?

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Post Date:

18 July 2022

When you think of financial planning, you probably imagine ways to increase your wealth, such as making a budget, reviewing what’s coming in and going out, and creating a plan for how to make the most of your money.

You may think of investing in stocks or bonds, or of starting a retirement fund. Perhaps you think of saving for a major expense, like a home or education for your children.

And that all counts as financial planning. But lately, the concept of lifestyle planning is giving financial planning a run for its money.

What is lifestyle planning?

Lifestyle planning is the idea of using your money to get the most enjoyment out of your life.

It means maybe foregoing the maximum financial return in exchange for something you value more. You choose to budget your money in a way that makes you truly happy. In other words…

You plan to use your money in the ways that bring you the most joy.

If the idea seems scary to you, you’re not alone. Most of us were raised with the idea that you should always save for a rainy day, put away as much money as you can, and invest instead of spend.

But lifestyle planning doesn’t mean that you frivolously blow through your life savings.

It means taking the time to consider how you want to live the one life you get. And then, working off of that vision by creating a financial plan that makes those dreams come true.

Get started with your lifestyle plan

Sit down and do some soul searching. Write down exactly what you want your life to look like.

Where do you want to live? Who do you want to live with, if anyone? What kind of car do you want to drive? Where do you want to go to school? What clothes do you want to wear? How do you want to eat? Do you want to travel? If so, how often?

Get as specific and as detailed as possible. Sketch out your perfect life in your mind.

Think about the things that are most important to you.

Once you’re satisfied with your vision, take stock of where you stand today.

How much money do you earn now? What’s your future earning potential? Are you spending money on things that aren’t actually important to you?

When you start matching up your reality with the way that you want to live your life, the gaps will become obvious. You will then be able to make adjustments. Maybe it’s not as important to drive a luxury car or any car at all. Maybe a change in career is necessary.

It’s okay if expensive items actually are more important to you than you initially thought. You can now plan for that. Or maybe it has become clear that you actually need more freedom of mobility in your career if travel is a priority.
Whatever it is that you come up with, you can start making a roadmap for how to get there.

And that’s how lifestyle planning affects your financial planning. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t give yourself the means to do it.

Once you know what you want, you can make a specific plan for how to make it a reality. When you’re ready, enlisting the help of a professional accountant will allow you to make the best financial decisions.

Interested to find out more?

Call us on 01617 985789

Or book a meeting at https://calendly.com/d/ckfd-tzk-zbb

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25 March 2024

How Encouraging Employee Self-Care Can Boost Your Business

Look, I’m a bloke who’s been in and around construction for the last 30+ years. We blokes don’t talk about this ‘feelings’ stuff. This is why the biggest killer of men under 50 is suicide – sobering thought that. I’m not saying we need to become all snowflaky and wet behind the ears, but as the saying goes, it’s good to talk. You’ve got a duty of care to the lads (I’m guessing it’s nearly all lads) on your sites and your employees in the office. Banter can cover up for many a troubled soul.

What is Self-Care?

Let’s first go to the dictionary and ask the experts. Self-care encompasses everything related to maintaining physical health, including hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care when needed. It’s a decision-making process empowering individuals to look after their health efficiently and conveniently, often in collaboration with health professionals.

Got that?

At a simple level, this is about helping your staff come to work and be happy, safe and healthy. But also to recognise they may bring their woes from home to work.

Sure, you see your business as your baby, but as the saying goes ‘it takes a village’. And to keep your business booming, you need to make sure your employees are healthy and happy, so they can stay on their A game.

Types of Self-Care

Let’s break this down into the different types of self-care.

Emotional Self-Care: Involves practices like positive self-talk, taking regular breaks, and maintaining social connections. As business owners, you’re sure to have experienced your fair share of burnout. It’s all about not letting your employees head down the same road. A simple ‘you alright, mate?’ may be enough to spot someone struggling.

Physical Self-Care: Such as, prioritising sleep, regular exercise, and choosing nutritious foods. Don’t look at me like I’m a fine one to talk. My body has been defined by some of the best food that Manchester can offer! Just ignore my office’s favourite bowl of special chocolate… that’s all about helping our clients’ emotional health when they visit.

Spiritual Self-Care: Work with me on this one. This may sound a little woo-hoo to you. But what works for others may not be your thing. Such as attending religious services, taking religious holidays off, spending time in nature, meditation, and keeping a gratitude journal.

Self-care involves making healthy lifestyle choices, responsibly using medicines – including the caffeine-laden and energy-type drinks, recognising symptoms, self-monitoring, and self-management of health conditions. But sometimes it’s not so easy to spot these dips in mental health by yourself. Believe me, my business coach is the first to tell me if I’m trying to overcommit. So, you need to open up the conversation with your employees as well.

Why Self-Care is Important

Stress and burnout are rampant. Average ratings of personal well-being in the UK have declined across all measures in the year ending March 2023. I’m sure we have personal stories to tell of how our mental health or people around us suffered during and after the COVID-19 years.

Similarly, older research commissioned by Mind found that 57% of the people surveyed drank alcohol after work to cope with stress. In addition to this, 28% said they smoked cigarettes, 16% took prescribed sleeping aids, and 15% took antidepressants. And yes, as a regular vaper, I know I am part of those statistics, but don’t judge me!

Self-care mitigates these issues, enhancing mental and physical health, reducing illness risks, and boosting energy.

We need to look after ourselves first! Without that, our work is sure to suffer.

How Improving Your Employee’s Self-Care Can Boost Your Business

Investing in your employees’ self-care isn’t just beneficial for them; it’s a strategic move that can significantly boost your business in various ways:

Enhanced Productivity

Employees practising self-care are more likely to be mentally and physically rejuvenated, leading to higher productivity. After all, your on-site employees are often doing a hard physical job for you. They need all the energy and strength they can get. Regular self-care reduces fatigue, enhances concentration, and fosters a more energetic and efficient workforce.

Better Retention and Recruitment

A culture that prioritises self-care attracts top talent and retains them. Employees are likelier to stay with a company that values their well-being, reducing turnover costs and enhancing its reputation as a desirable workplace.

Reduced Burnout

Burnout is a major cause of reduced productivity and increased absenteeism. Encouraging self-care reduces the risk of burnout, ensuring that your team remains motivated and engaged.

Positive Work Culture

A workplace that promotes self-care is often characterised by positivity and higher morale. This environment fosters collaboration, creativity, and community, enhancing the work atmosphere.

Increased Employee Engagement

When employees feel cared for, their loyalty and engagement increase. This heightened engagement leads to better customer service, enhanced team collaboration, and a stronger commitment to the company’s goals.

Decreased Turnover Rates

Replacing employees is expensive. Fostering an environment of self-care can significantly reduce turnover, saving the company substantial recruitment and training costs.

Innovation and Creativity

Well-rested and mentally healthy employees are more likely to think creatively and propose innovative solutions, driving the business forward.

Better Decision Making

Employees who engage in self-care have clearer minds and are better equipped to make sound, strategic decisions, which is crucial for the growth and success of any business.

Enhanced Company Image

A company that promotes self-care and employee well-being enhances its brand image, making it more attractive to potential clients and partners who value corporate responsibility.

Resilience in Challenging Times

Employees who regularly practice self-care are more resilient during stressful periods, such as economic downturns or organisational changes, ensuring business continuity and stability.

Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Employees feel valued and important when a company takes active steps to encourage self-care. This sense of belonging can foster a strong, united workforce aligned with the company’s mission and values.

By integrating self-care into your business culture, you not only enhance the well-being of your employees but also set up your business for long-term success. In today’s fast-paced and stressful business environment, a strategy that includes employee self-care is not just beneficial; it’s essential.

How to Encourage Employee Self-Care

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Burnt the midnight oil, pushed like a donkey up a hill, and forgotten to fill our own tank in the process. Well, that’s where self-care comes in. Fostering a culture of self-care in the workplace is crucial for both employee well-being and organisational success.

  1. Educate Employees on Self-Care

Teach all employees about self-care practices and their significance. By organising workshops and distributing informative materials, the staff gains essential knowledge. This approach means a well-informed workforce is better equipped to manage their health, enhancing overall productivity and morale.

  1. Make Flexible Working an Option

Introduce flexible working schedules to help balance professional and personal life. Allowing employees to adjust their work hours fosters an environment where stress is minimised and optimises work-life balance, resulting in a more engaged and efficient team.

  1. Provide Mental Health Resources

Offer mental health resources, such as counselling services and app subscriptions. This commitment to mental health support signifies that the organisation values its employees’ well-being. Staff members feel supported and valued, increasing job satisfaction and engagement.

  1. Offer Stress and Time Management Learning Opportunities

Providing training for effective stress and time management equips employees with critical skills. This initiative ensures that staff can better manage workplace pressures, contributing positively to the organisation’s efficiency and reducing burnout.

  1. Establish Work Hours

Clearly defining work hours helps employees distinguish between work and personal time. This means that employees can fully disengage from work after hours, leading to increased focus and productivity during working hours.

  1. Prioritise Mentoring

Implement mentoring programs for personalised guidance in self-care. This approach supports individual development and strengthens the team dynamic, leading to a more cohesive and supportive work environment.

  1. Lead by Example

When leaders practice self-care, they set a positive example within the organisation. This leadership style fosters a culture where self-care is valued and practised, ensuring employees feel encouraged to prioritise their well-being.

Don’t Forget About Your Self-Care

Don’t forget about yourself in all this! You can’t pour from an empty cut, can you? So, taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s essential. This means ditching the all-nighters, fuelling yourself with proper grub, and finding ways to unwind. Burnout is a nasty bugger, and it’ll sink your ship faster than a leaky bucket.

Here’s the bottom line: A happy boss makes for a happy crew, and a happy crew makes for a successful business. It’s all connected. Look after your lot, and they’ll look after the business. It’s a win-win, see?

Interested to find out more?

Call us on 01617 985789

Or book a meeting at https://calendly.com/d/ckfd-tzk-zbb


11 March 2024

Do I Fall Under CIS as a Subcontractor?

Navigating the complexities of tax obligations within the construction industry can be a daunting task (if you do it alone), especially for subcontractors uncertain about their standing in the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). 

This scheme, established by the UK government, aims to regulate the way contractors make payments to subbies for construction work, ensuring tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are correctly handled. 

Understanding whether you fall under CIS as a subcontractor is crucial for compliance, avoiding penalties, and optimising your financial operations, so don’t get confused!

What is the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is designed to prevent tax evasion in the construction sector. The UK construction industry would be a scary place if we never had it. 

Let me spell it out for you, Under CIS, contractors deduct money from a subcontractor’s payments and pass it to my good friends at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). These deductions are meant as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s tax and NICs. The primary goal is to ensure that subbies pay the correct amount of tax and NICs. Thankfully, that goal is achieved (most of the time).

Who Needs to Register for CIS?


If you are a mainstream contractor or deemed contractor, registration for CIS is mandatory. This applies if you pay subcontractors for construction work.

Subcontractors (subbies)

As a subcontractor, if you perform construction work for a contractor, you fall under the ambit of CIS. While registration is not mandated by law, unregistered subcontractors face higher tax deductions from their payments (30% instead of 20% or 0% for those registered). No one wants to be paying more tax, do they? So, it’s important to register.

Dual Roles

Businesses that operate both as contractors and subcontractors must register for CIS in both capacities and follow the respective rules and regulations.

Subcontractor’s Obligations Under CIS

Even if the compliance requirements for subcontractors are not as stringent as those for contractors, certain obligations must be met:

  • Registering with HMRC as self-employed.
  • Allowing contractors to make CIS deductions from payments.
  • Filing annual tax returns and paying any due taxes on time.

Failure to comply can lead to penalties and affect your financial standing, which no one wants so make sure to follow each step.

Step-by-Step Guide to Registering for CIS as a Subcontractor

If I’m unable to physically do it for you, the next best thing would be to make it as simple as possible for you. I’ve created a step-by-step guide to registering for CIS as a subbie.

  1. Prepare Necessary Information: Have your legal business name, National Insurance Number, Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), and, if applicable, your VAT registration number ready.
  2. Online Registration: Use your Government Gateway ID to register for CIS online. If you’re not already signed up for Self-assessment, you can do both simultaneously.
  3. Verification by Contractors: Provide your UTR and other relevant details to contractors who will then verify your CIS status with HMRC.

If you’re struggling with any of these steps, then reach out to us at Cloud Accountancy Ltd.

Consequences of Non-Registration

Not registering for CIS or failing to comply with its requirements can lead to increased tax deductions (30% instead of 20% or 0%) and potential penalties. 

Moreover, it complicates the process of claiming any overpaid taxes, so do me a favour and (please) register!

Self-Assessment: Do I Fall Under CIS as a Subcontractor?

If you are involved in construction work as a subbie, it’s likely you fall under CIS. Consider the following to confirm:

  • Nature of Work: Construction work, including site preparation, alterations, dismantling, building work, and repairs.
  • Payment Structure: You receive payment from a contractor that is not an immediate employer.

Registering for CIS can lead to lower tax deductions and smoother financial operations. If you’re unsure about your status or how to proceed, consulting with a tax professional or HMRC can provide clarity and ensure you comply with the necessary regulations. 

Interested to find out more?

Call us on 01617 985789

Or book a meeting at https://calendly.com/d/ckfd-tzk-zbb


7 March 2024

Spring Budget 2024 Annoucements

Yesterday, the chancellor announced his spring budget.

There is a lot to digest and unpick. With a general election looming, it was clear that the chancellor had decided to put more money back into the pockets of working people. However, not much of this money directly comes to small business owners.

The Good News

National Insurance Contributions are going down

National Insurance Contributions are again being cut. The government is cutting the main rate of employee National Insurance by 2p from 10% to 8% from 6 April 2024. Combined with the 2p cut announced at Autumn Statement 2023, this will save the average worker on £35,400 over £900 a year.

The government is also cutting a further 2p from the main rate of self-employed National Insurance on top of the 1p cut announced at Autumn Statement 2023. This means that from 6 April 2024 the main rate of Class 4 NICs for the self-employed will now be reduced from 9% to 6%. Combined with the abolition of the requirement to pay Class 2, this will save an average self-employed person on £28,000, around £650 a year.

The threshold for registering for VAT is going up

The point where businesses need to register for VAT is going up from £85,000 to £90,000. This will supposedly help small businesses grow. There are differing opinions about this. What we see is that, in reality, businesses often slow their growth as they near the VAT threshold. Radically lowering the VAT threshold towards £40,000 or even lower would make it a level playing field for most small businesses. But then, what does the Chancellor really know about small businesses?

Inflation has rapidly fallen and the economy is picking up

Inflation has more than halved from its recent peak, i.e. from 11.1% to 4.0%. The OBR forecasts inflation to fall to its 2% target in Q2 2024, a year earlier than in their November 2023 forecast. In 2023, the UK was pretty much in recession as GDP grew by 0.1%. Growth is now forecast to pick up from the first half of 2024 and the IMF is forecasting that the UK will have the third fastest cumulative growth in the G7 over the 2024-2028 period.

The post pandemic recovery loan scheme is being extended and renamed the Growth Guarantee Fund

The UK government has recently announced an extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme, which will provide £200 million in funding to assist small businesses to invest and expand. To qualify for the loan, businesses must have a turnover of £45 million or less, must be viable, and should not be experiencing any financial difficulties.

Full expensing for leased assets is coming…

Capital allowances are a great way for businesses to reduce their tax bill. By deducting the value of certain items such as equipment, machinery, and certain business vehicles from their profits, businesses can benefit from tax relief. It’s a smart way to save money and reinvest it back into the business. Full expensing is an allowance which allows companies to use these capital allowances in the year that the investment was made. The chancellor indicated yesterday that at some point in the near future full expensing for leased assets is coming. When? Apparently ‘when affordable to do so’.

Changes to the Child Benefit Charge

At the moment, there is a situation where a household with 2 parents, each earning £49,000 a year, still gets the full Child Benefit, but those with one parent earning over £50,000 will see some or all of the benefit withdrawn. From 6th April 2024 the point at which child benefit will start to be withdrawn will now be at a higher level of earnings i.e. £60,000 not £50,000. Instead of starting to lose child benefit once at least one parent earns over £50,000 a year, it will be £60,000. It will be taken away entirely from £80,000 a year, rather than £60,000. But more importantly, the government is consulting on moving the system from being based on an individual’s salary to a system based on household income. This new system will come in by April 2026. So watch this space!

Capital Gains Tax on residential properties is being reduced

The government is keen to increase the amount of available housing. It is reducing the higher rate of property capital gains tax from 28% to 24% in April. This will benefit any property owner who is selling a property which is not their home.

Fuel duty remains the same

The ‘temporary’ 5p cut in fuel duty is being extended for another 12 months.

Alcohol duty remains the same

The alcohol duty freeze is being extended from 1st August to 1st February.


There is a new ISA in town! This ISA gives savers another £5k tax-free allowance, on top of the current £20k that can be subscribed into an ISA. The only restriction is this new UK ISA
needs to be invested in british businesses.

A boost for the creative industries

The government is also announcing over £1 billion of new tax reliefs for the UK’s creative industries. This includes introducing a 40% relief from business rates for eligible film studios in England for the next 10 years; introducing a new UK Independent Film Tax Credit; and increasing the rate of tax credit by 5% and removing the 80% cap for visual effects costs in the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit. A permanent extension will be made to tax relief for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries.

The losers

Changes to the property tax system

The government is abolishing the Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime from 6th April 2025 and the multiple dwelling stamp duty relief from 1st June 2024. Contracts that were exchanged on or before the 6th March 2024 – i.e. before the budget was announced – will continue to get the multiple dwelling stamp duty relief regardless of the completion date. Any purchase that completes before the 1st June 2024 will also get this relief.

Changes to the non-dom tax regime

The tax breaks for non-domicilied residents, people who live in the UK, but not domiciled here for tax purposes have been abolished. Currently, foreign nationals who live here, but are taxed in another country, do not have to pay tax on their foreign income for up to 15 years. From April 2025 this is changing.

For new arrivals, who have a period of 10 years consecutive non-residence, there will be full tax relief for a 4-year period of subsequent UK tax residence on foreign income and gains arising during this 4-year period, during which time this money can be brought to the UK without an additional tax charge.

Existing tax residents, who have been tax resident for fewer than 4 tax years and are eligible for the scheme, will also benefit from the relief until the end of their 4th year of tax residence.

There are transitional arrangements being put in place for existing non-doms.

Smokers and vapers

In Oct 2026 vapers will be taxed more and the tax on cigarettes and tobacco products will go up.

The government is beefing up it’s HMRC team to get more tax in

Sadly, the government is not – on the surface of it – making an investment in front-line HMRC staff. It is investing an extra £140m to improve HMRC’s ability to manage tax debts. Think of
this as an investment in identifying where more tax is due and then having the headcount to get this money paid. If you don’t already have tax investigation insurance, now is the time to take it out!

In addition, it was announced that there is a consultation on how best to implement the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework and amendments to the Common Reporting Standard.

Interested to find out more?

Call us on 01617 985789

Or book a meeting at https://calendly.com/d/ckfd-tzk-zbb