I work with a broad range of clients from a variety of backgrounds and with differing requirements of their financial adviser. For some it’s a helping hand or nudge in the right direction while others will happily acknowledge that they couldn’t manage their financial affairs without me.
If you are working (employed or self-employed) you probably have some goals that relate to accumulating enough money so that you can stop work. If you have already retired (from paid employment or from running your own business) you have hopefully accumulated some wealth which now provides you with a regular income.
Whatever stage of life you are currently in, there are several factors that will impact your financial planning along the way. These might include:
The economic environment – for instance, are interest rates low, high, increasing or decreasing? If you have borrowed money to buy a house or develop your business and the cost of borrowing increases rapidly this may curtail your ability to fund other expenditure.
The fiscal environment – for instance, are tax rates low, high, increasing or decreasing? Are you able to structure your affairs in the most tax efficient manner? Governments will always incentivise certain types of activity and legislate against others. Are you getting all the reliefs and allowances you are entitled to?
Your personal circumstances – have you heard that ‘the only constant is change’? Making plans is a sensible thing to do but when life changes you might need to change your plans too.
Financial planning is a process that gets you from where you are to where you want to be with due consideration for anything that might get in the way.
My aim is not just to be a technical expert but also a trusted counsellor. You should feel comfortable to share your aspirations for the future and consider different ways to achieve your goals. We don’t always have to agree! I never forget that it’s your money and your life! I aim to make a positive difference by reviewing your progress and suggesting any appropriate actions you might like to consider.
Here are some common scenarios where I am frequently called upon to help my existing clients at various stages of life…
The early years
You’re earning money and probably spending lots of it but you recognise the need to put something aside for the future and to insure yourself against death or illness.
If you’re employed it is important to understand what benefits you have in addition to your salary. Are they automatic or do you need to apply? What else do you need?
If you’re self-employed you need to make all this provision for yourself. What must you put in place right now? What can wait? How will you strike the right balance?
If you’re employing others you might also need to consider what you’re doing for them.
The middle years
You are already making some progress towards your goals (repaying the mortgage or funding school/university fees) but the end isn’t quite in sight yet. Have you saved enough to retire? How much is enough?
If you’ve worked for several employers, you may have collected multiple pension plans along the way; should you consolidate them into one or leave things as they are?
If you’re drawing money out of a business, are you doing it in the most tax efficient way?
The later years
You’ve probably accumulated several different pots of money from ISAs to pensions. Now you want to enjoy the fruits of your labour but you don’t want to run out of money. You want to get a better return than bank deposits but you don’t want to take undue risk. You want to leave something to children or grandchildren but you don’t want to pay large amounts of tax that will reduce the value of your legacy.
In all these situations (and more) I can answer your questions and, more importantly, provide advice and guidance to help you enjoy life without worrying about your money.