Claims are what count

As part of our financial planning conversations with you, we always bring the attention around to subjects that are not easy to think about – a serious illness or death visiting a family member or indeed yourself. We all naturally don’t want to spend too long thinking about this, but unfortunately for us to do our job properly it’s a subject that we simply must contemplate.

The reason for this is because we’ve seen the cost of not thinking about it. We can all picture the devastation, grief and loss that accompanies a death or serious illness. However we’ve also seen at first hand the catastrophic financial consequences that can follow. We’ve seen families losing their total income and the enormous financial impacts of a serious illness where home adaptations and specialist care services are needed. We’ve seen family members becoming carers because there are no alternatives.

So we spend time considering the best financial products to protect...

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8 Great Financial Goals to improve your Lifestyle

We’re now well into 2019 and we often find that the finances of our clients settle down a bit at this time of year. The madness of Christmas is behind us,and a lot of annual financial commitments have often come and gone at the start of the year. Spring is a good time to take a step back and consider how you can maximise the impact of your financial resources in achieving your desired lifestyle.

We’ve done some thinking on this and have set out 8 ways in which careful management of your finances can positively impact your lifestyle goals.

 

1. Don’t live on the financial edge

We have come across a number of situations with new clients over the last few years in which they have relatively significant investment portfolios, but without any real liquidity. Their money is tied up in properties and other long-term investments.

One of the impacts of this is the discomfort it causes, as the conversation includes statements such as, “We’re fine once there...

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Is Income Protection really necessary?

Income Protection is sometimes described as the glue in a financial portfolio. The most devastating impact on your financial situation is likely to be caused by a loss of your income, and the inability to replace it.

Unfortunately, people lose their jobs from time to time. However inevitably what tends to happen is that these people pick up new roles elsewhere or take a new path in their careers. As a result, their income may drop for a period of time, but will usually pick up again before too long. These people are in the fortunate position of being able to work.

Being unable to work because of illness or injury is a whole other matter. Little or no costs are moved from your life, in fact new costs may emerge such as medical expenses, care fees etc. On the income side, there are social protection benefits available, but in reality these deliver no more than basic subsistence payments. So there is often a lot less money coming in, with sometimes more going out…

Income...

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What does your future life look like?

We hope that you have experienced the quiet evolution of our role in recent years. Going back in time, the role of the financial adviser was to help clients to identify gaps that they had in their portfolio of financial products, to find the best products to fill those gaps and to then put these products in place for clients. While this is still an important strand of what we do, our role has evolved in recent years into a much broader and more valuable service.

Now our role is one of being your financial guide, of helping you to identify the life that you want to live, and then helping you actually achieve this life. Today our most powerful conversations don’t start with a long discussion about your money – your assets and debts, your income and expenditure. Instead the conversation centres around you, yourself. Your hopes and dreams, what you want to achieve in your life and what living life on your terms looks like.  When you are clear about your desired future...

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Your 70's onwards – looking after yourself & others

In this final instalment of our age-related articles, it is now the turn of the more senior members of our communities – all of you in your 70’s and older. This group have some very specific financial challenges, so here are some thoughts on wisely managing your financial affairs.

 

Stay healthy

A decline in health costs money, no matter what support you get from insurance policies and the state. Your house may need to be modified, you may need to pay carers, you may need to install expensive equipment etc. There are a whole range of areas in which ill health costs money.

While of course this is not fully under your control, do everything you can to stay healthy. Eat well and continue to exercise as much as you can, even a short walk every day makes a difference. Look after your mental health too – maintain social contact with family and friends and keep your hobbies and interests going as much as you can. Staying healthy will be a boon for your finances.

...

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5 reasons it's time to review your pension

It’s that time of year again for the self-employed and professionals when tax bills are due for payment. Attention naturally turns to pensions and the great opportunities they present to reduce these bills. Indeed it is also the time when many PAYE workers take stock of their own pension situation and look at the benefits of paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

While saving tax is one very important reason to review your pension, it’s really only one of a number of reasons. So here goes on five reasons why we think it’s a good time now to do so.

 

The State Pension picture is far from rosy

Where do we start on this one! There is a lot of uncertainty over the long term viability of the state pension due to the fact that the ratio of people working compared to retired people is reducing from 5 to 1 today, to 2 working to 1 retired by 2050. As the numbers of those working reduces in relation to the numbers of pensioners receiving benefits, there will...

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Your 60's - cruising to the end of your working life

This month it’s time for the latest in our series of age related articles – welcome to the world of the sixty-somethings! As you (potentially) approach the end of your working life, you are at a really important stage in your financial life. We hope to give you some food for thought to ensure you make the wisest financial decisions to see you through the next phase of your life.

 

Plan carefully for the end of your working life

It is really important that you are getting the best financial advice at this stage – there are so many significant decisions that need to be taken. You want to work with somebody who can confidently confirm to you the lifestyle that you can afford into the future, who can help you plan your financial life for the rest of your life.

Your adviser needs to have their finger on the pulse too in relation to all of the pension related opportunities that are available for you – maximising tax-free cash opportunities, carefully planning...

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Your 50's - time to build and retain your wealth

This is the latest in our series of articles that consider the financial challenges for clients at a specific stage in life. This time we’re looking at people who are in their 50’s. This is a really important stage in your financial life as it is often the time in life of maximum income and the greatest opportunity to really build your wealth.

 

Here are some thoughts on how you might approach your finances differently in the second half-century of your life.

 

Accept advice and help

We very definitely put this one at the top of the list, as there are some crucial strategies to implement correctly at this stage in your life. If you should make major mistakes in relation to your retirement finding during your 50’s, you probably won’t have enough time on your side to fully recover from them. There are also significant tax saving opportunities available to you in retirement funding, investment schemes and exiting your business. Each of these needs to...

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Talk like an investments ninja!

With markets having powered ahead in recent years, in general people are happier talking about the performance of their investment portfolio. After all, it’s easier to talk about gains than losses! But we’ve noticed some conversations shifting towards consolidation of gains as the prospect of a turn in markets probably moves closer all the time. We’re not in the business of trying to time markets, but instead we help investors to take a long-term perspective with your investments, and to build a portfolio that matches your own attitude to risk.

But back to those conversations… We know there is a huge amount of terminology and jargon surrounding investments, so we thought we’ll help you sound like an expert the next time those conversations start up again.

 

Here are some terms that you might hear (or use!) and what they mean.

 

Active/passive investment: These are different approaches to portfolio management. Active management is where...

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Brexit, Italy etc. How do you keep your investments on track?

Lots of factors are currently creating a great deal of uncertainty for investors; Britain is breaking up with Europe, the political and economic picture in Italy is looking quite unstable and we're all wondering just how strong the new friendship turns out be between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Then when you consider interest rates at rock bottom, uncertainty caused by global terror and other such negative factors, the picture is quite daunting for investors today.

So what do you do?

Well the answer is probably, not very much! Let us explain…

 

Stick to the plan

First and foremost, remember your investment objectives, and crucially your investment timeframes. In most cases, these are medium to long-term – at least they should be if you are invested in any sort of risky assets. These time frames are critical to your investment success. The markets regularly experience short-term volatility, but to try and time this volatility usually turns out to be...

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