Each year in January we have Blue Monday, and it has been cited as the most depressing day of the year. However, it is important not to allow the concept to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps it is time to re-train our brain - maybe January could be the time for new beginnings. The days start to become a little brighter and we are a step closer to Spring and Summer. There is something re-assuring about the subtle change in nature in anticipation of better weather that can lift our spirits and encourage us to look to the future. With the current restrictions in place time is something which is not in short supply, so perhaps make plans and try to think about what we can do instead of what we cannot do. Enjoying an early morning walk Having breakfast with your kids Exploring, and appreciating, your local area Getting out in nature every day Embrace online learning Tackling that big DIY project and much-avoided clear-out Develop new gardening skills Learn to cook or bake Start to play an instrument Catch up with friends on Zoom Activity/Health Now is a good time to think about your health. Being active and having a healthy heart has never been more important. A regular walk will make a big difference and there is plenty of workouts or classes online, no matter what your fitness level is. Self-care Managing our stress and anxiety levels is essential and many people use meditation or yoga. But everyone is different, and some find painting or gardening works. Explore some options and find what works for you.  Dublin City Council has developed a great website with lots of activities and classes to keep us occupied and content during lockdown: Holding it together apart. Appreciation The New Year gives us time to reflect and consider our surroundings, our family, friends, and appreciate all that is good in our lives. It also gives us the opportunity to consider changing things which perhaps were not so good for us.    If, however, Blue Monday has made an impact on you then perhaps CA Support can help? We have a 1:1 confidential listening service and lots of other supports to help get your mojo back. CA Support is here to support our students, members, and their families. Contact the CA Support team on mobile: (353) 86 024 3294 or email:  casupport@charteredaccountants.ie

Jan 13, 2021

A renewed commitment must be made by government to the long-awaited reform of Ireland’s pension system in 2021, according to Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Institute’s comments come as legislation was debated in the Dáil last night, halting the increase in the State pension age to 67.   This legislation ensures that the State pension age remains at 66 until the work of the Pensions Commission concludes, which is expected by the end of June 2021. This comes a week after the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) estimated that the additional cost of providing for new pensioners (public sector and social welfare recipients), will be €370m a year between 2021 and 2025.   Commenting, Cróna Clohisey, Public Policy Lead, Chartered Accountants Ireland said  “Understandably, pension reform slipped off the agenda in 2020. A global pandemic and the conclusion of the Brexit transition period have dominated the minds of policymakers and preoccupied businesses simply trying to stay afloat.  “The need for pension reform has not dissipated though, and as we move into 2021, and economic forecasts start to look slightly brighter, attention must return to it. Political minds today are focused on the state pension age, but the reality is that the state pension in its current form may not even be sustainable in the decades to come.   “A long-term, consistent approach is needed from government, one that will be adhered to and from which we will start to see a sustainable system of retirement planning emerge in Ireland.  The work of the Pensions Commission must result in a clear policy on the State pension age. Workers planning or approaching their retirement need reassurance and greater certainty on this issue so that they can plan adequately and responsibly.  “The figures are already failing to add up, in that the numbers of workers to support those retired is on a downward trajectory, and this needs to be addressed in a sustainable way in 2021.”  Chartered Accountants Ireland made this call to action today as it launched a new publication on retirement planning, A Practical Guide to Pensions and Life Insurance. The publication provides accountants, tax advisors and other financial advisors who provide financial planning advice with a practical resource to help individuals and businesses plan for retirement.   Commenting, the publication’s author, chartered accountant Simon Shirley said  “Pensions exist so we can afford to stop working one day and should be one of our most important financial assets at retirement. They are also without doubt the most tax-efficient and effective way of saving in a sustained low-interest rate environment.  “Although the basic concept of pension planning makes sense, terms like ‘investment risk’, ‘volatility profile’ and ‘cash and cash equivalents’ often induce the ‘glaze’ that all pension advisors recognise.   “We have to tackle a deep-rooted lack of understanding and demonstrate the importance of prioritising long-term provision over often important short and medium-term needs. Over 50% of the Irish workforce do not have a personal or employer offered pension plan, so the task is considerable. The more you know, however, the better positioned you will be to take advantage of pensions for your personal benefit and, in the case of advisors, for the benefit of your clients.”   ENDS     Publication details:  A Practical Guide to Pensions and Life Insurance  Publisher: Chartered Accountants Ireland  Publication date: 10 December 2010  ISBN: 978-1-912350-95-7  184 pages   Price: €25.00 / £22.50     The Author  Simon Shirley is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, a Revenue-approved pensioneer trustee and the founder of the financial advisory firm Simon Shirley Advisors. 

Dec 10, 2020

The effectiveness of Budget 2021 will be measured by the billions of euro the government is willing to borrow to invest in the Irish economy. The bigger this investment, the more assured Ireland’s economic future will be post-COVID-19, according to Chartered Accountants Ireland. Commenting, Brian Keegan, Director of Public Affairs with Chartered Accountants Ireland said“Since March, the government has invested huge sums by way of wage supports for business, social welfare supports and retraining and reskilling for those whose jobs have disappeared permanently. It is very positive to see that support continue in today’s Budget, both for those still in employment and those who have lost their jobs, at the expense of regressive tax measures. “Clearly a key consideration in the Budget is the price of money that the government will pay to borrow in the markets, but what we have done so far this year is working.” Extending supports in Budget ‘21Measures announced which extend wage supports, reduce the VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% for the hospitality sector, give regular compensation payments to businesses restricted by COVID-19 safety measures and extend the debt warehousing scheme to help the self-employed manage their tax debt give Irish businesses something tangible to rely on and build upon. This certainty is key in a time of turmoil brought on by COVID-19 restrictions and an unknown post-Brexit trading landscape.  Keegan continued“The funds committed for retraining and upskilling the Irish workforce as announced in today’s Budget means that Ireland will be work-ready as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is behind us. “Key to the success of these supports will be ensuring that recipients do not become entangled and impeded by red tape and excessive bureaucracy. If the bar to entry is too high in terms of time or expertise required, we run the risk of businesses being unable to avail of much needed supports. We saw evidence of this in the operation of the TWSS and we must avoid going down the same route; it's the last thing that businesses on the brink need.” Corporation Tax The Government’s plans to relaunch Ireland’s Corporation Tax Roadmap sends out a clear message to Foreign Direct Investment that Ireland is a committed and active participant in the OECD’s tax reform work.  Keegan commented“Corporation tax receipts have proven to be a stalwart revenue source to the Irish exchequer during one of the most sudden economic shocks we have seen. In the face of questions as to the sustainability of this revenue source, in Budget ’21 today, the government is saying that Ireland can continue to reliably depend on these receipts in 2021.  “Notwithstanding our commitment to the OECD programme of reform, Ireland is also committed to a national policy of being the best location in the world for multinationals to do fair business.” Missed opportunities to nurture entrepreneurship With Ireland’s rate of Capital Gains Tax among the highest in the EU, the decision once again this year to not reduce the rate from 33% to a more palatable 25% is a missed opportunity.  A temporary reduced CGT rate would have brought in much needed tax revenue from a pent-up appetite for transactions which must go unsatisfied for now.  The tax system can be used to encourage private risk-based investment in start-ups. Private investors have cash doing nothing on deposit and all they need is a government initiative to channel much needed investment into start-ups.  Plans for another review of the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme need to deliver real change to drive private investment to support start-ups. ENDS

Oct 13, 2020
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