Foresters Friendly Society – Putting a value on mutuality

Foresters Friendly Society today announces that in 2013 it paid out a total of £853,000 in discretionary benefits made available to its 65,000 individual members which was in addition to the bonus payments made to financial policyholders.  Foresters has a strong track record of benevolence and has made consistent levels of payouts to its members for the past 8 years amounting to over £10million in total.  After six months from a financial policy’s inception, members of the Society gain automatic access to the Foresters’ member benefits package, known as Foresters Extras, at no additional cost.

As a mutual society celebrating its 180th anniversary this year, member benefits form an essential part of Foresters’ ethos with the Extras package forming a key component of Foresters’ member-focussed approach.  Member benefits include: discretionary optical and dental grants, educational financial grants to assist with the costs of higher education or recognised qualifications, hardship grants when members fall on hard times such as the recent flooding.  Other member benefits that are available immediately upon becoming a member include a 24/7 GP Consultation Service, a care advisory service through Foresters Care, a discounted will writing service and access to social events organised by Foresters branches.  Members of the public can join the Society to take advantage of the benefits without having to buy a financial policy.

Commenting, Foresters Friendly Society Marketing Director, Neil Armitage said: “Mutuals like Foresters are, and always have been, about helping people help themselves, playing a vital role in providing a range of easily accessible and affordable financial products.  The addition of our member benefits package really helps to differentiate our proposition and we work hard to ensure that the Extras available to our members add real value and are relevant to our members.”

One Foresters member who received educational grants whilst studying is Cheree O’Melia now aged 26.  Cheree says: “I have had a Stocks & Shares ISA with Foresters for 5 years. I chose Foresters because their financial products were easy to understand and they provided great benefits which you don’t normally get when you buy financial products. Also it was evident that Foresters had a great ethos and really did look after their members. The Educational Grant I received from Foresters during my three years of study at Exeter University was really appreciated. Although I was studying full time, I had two part-time jobs in order to pay for my living and travel costs to University every day. The big expense that I could never anticipate was the cost of all the University text books which would cost upwards of £600 per year. The Foresters’ Educational grants were extremely helpful when it came to having to buy my course books at the beginning of each study year providing me with the funding I needed to purchase the books.

“Although I had heard of the Educational Grant when I opened my ISA, I was really surprised how easy it was to apply for and I’m grateful for all the help Foresters gave me. Without this grant I would have probably had to get a third job which would have adversely affected my studies.”

The grants and benefits offered by Foresters Friendly Society are discretionary and are not regulated.

Please note:  As of 1 January 2017 the GP Consultation Service is no longer available.

Foresters encourage next generation of savers

Following on from their support of “Learn Money Week” (10-17 March 2014) and looking ahead to the upcoming addition of financial education to the national curriculum in the new school year, Foresters Friendly Society has added to its series of educational tools and guides with a simple Pocket Money Savers guide, which highlights four easy steps parents can use to help teach their children about the value of money.

Additionally, Foresters Friendly Society promotes the fun, free online savings game called Savings Squad.  Targeted at seven to eleven year olds, Savings Squad is part of an initiative developed by the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), which Foresters is a member of, with the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) to start encouraging the next generation of savers. The online game aims to encourage a healthy attitude towards money and savings by bringing money to life through fun educational games, helping children to improve their numeracy skills and understand the benefits of saving money.

Finally, in the spirit of the “Learn Money Week” campaign, Foresters Friendly Society has put together a list of basic financial terms, to help young people through the maze of financial jargon:

Tax-free savings don’t end with ISAs when you’re with a friendly society

We may frown upon the celebrities, business tycoons and giant corporations exposed as tax dodgers, but the fact is that no one wants to pay more tax than they have to.

That’s one reason ISAs are popular – but did you know that there are other savings schemes that beat the taxman, too?

There is much talk about ISAs this time of year, and with good reason – the end of the tax year is fast approaching, so it’s your last chance to top up savings and investment plans and make the most of this year’s annual ISA allowance.

But let’s not forget there’s a brand new tax year beckoning, too, which means another chance to make the most of tax-free savings.

And those tax-free options aren’t restricted to ISAs – there are other savings plans, unique to friendly societies, that you can use alongside ISAs that allow you to save for your goals without paying income or capital gains tax.

These are called Tax Exempt Savings Plans, and here are six good reasons to start one with Foresters Friendly Society:

1. It offers tax-free saving beyond ISAs

Tax Exempt Savings Plans (TESPs) are long-term regular savings plans that provide a tax-free lump sum at the end of a chosen term. All you have to do is make continual monthly contributions for the full length of that term, and you will receive the cash lump sum free of capital gains tax and income tax when the plan matures. It really is as simple as that.

Please don’t forget that tax rules may change in the future and depend on individual circumstances.

2. Payments don’t cost the earth

Saving for your future doesn’t have to cost much – the monthly payments for our TESP are just £25 a month. You can choose how long you want to save this for over any period between 10 and 25 years. You can even select the exact date that you receive your tax-free sum – for example, if you’re saving for a specific birthday or anniversary.

3. High street banks can’t offer these plans

Only friendly societies, like us, can give you the additional tax advantages of a Tax Exempt Savings Plan, which provides you with a cash sum payout, free of capital gains tax and income tax, and which can be held alongside an ISA.

4. Guaranteed tax free cash sum

With TESPs you will receive a guaranteed tax free cash sum at maturity providing all the contributions are paid throughout the term of the plan. Your monthly contributions go into our Order Insurance With Profits Fund, which means there is also the possibility of bonuses to be added to your plan. The amount of bonus added depends on how the With Profits Fund investment performs, which means that the addition of bonuses is not guaranteed.

It’s important to point out that if you stop making contributions in the first year, the plan will lapse with no value and we won’t be able to refund your money.

5. You can save for your children, too

Child Tax Exempt Savings Plans work in the same way as adult TESPs. The child must be at least 16 years of age and have held the plan for at least 10 years to receive the proceeds.

6. There are even extra benefits

As a Foresters member you, or your child if you are saving for them, will have access to Foresters Extras – a range of benefits available at no additional cost which includes discretionary grants to help you to cover the cost of things like higher education and healthcare. Find out more about our Extras here.

Our membership benefits are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and are regularly reviewed by us to ensure they are relevant to our members.

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.

Do your children understand the value of money?

Pocket Money Savers’ Guide: Help your children understand the value of money

Children who are encouraged to save are far more likely to continue saving as adults, according to research by the Royal Economic Society, so a little time invested now could mean your children will reap the rewards in adulthood.

It can be challenging to teach your children the value of money, especially if you struggle with your own personal finances, but adult money habits are set by age seven, according to a Cambridge University study, so time invested now will reap rewards later.

Help your child learn about the value of money with four easy steps: earning, saving, spending and starting good family financial habits.

Pocket Money Savers

Children like to feel they’ve earned their own money, so pocket money (on the same day every week) in exchange for chores is a great way to develop healthy money habits. Your kids should also be encouraged to save their money in a money box or piggy bank each week, and be reminded that the more they save, the more they’ll have and the greater the reward.

Saving can be fun, and you can involve your child in your daily life to encourage them to spend wisely. Draft a shopping list with your child and go out and buy those items together, ask them to compare prices, then explain how a credit card works at the till. Save for a family holiday with a coin jar and make fun packed lunches for work and school.

Download and print a PDF of our Pocket Money Savers Guide

Squirrelling away those savings?

Foresters Friendly Society offers a range of savings options which may suit your needs, depending on how much you want to save and how long you want to save for.

To find out more about them click here

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.