Category Archives: Financial Goals

Saving for retirement: what’s the magic number?

It’s easy to push saving for your retirement to the back of your mind. Future events have a habit of feeling very distant, until they arrive. It can be a difficult thing to keep track of too; with nobody helping you along the way or checking up on your savings, putting a retirement plan in place can be a lonely experience. Continue reading

November Market Commentary

October was, to put it mildly, an eventful month. It was a month which saw the majority of markets on which we report down steeply, as fears of higher interest rates in the US combined with worries about the US/China trade war. There was, however, one market that went up sharply: Brazil elected a new president – a man who, I suspect, will feature prominently in future commentaries.

In the UK, the Prime Minister survived the latest round of calls for her head, and the Chancellor delivered his Budget a month earlier than everyone had expected. Continue reading

What do ESG and impact investing mean for investors?

Sustainable investing has grown rapidly over the last couple of decades. Investors are increasingly committed to the social and environmental impact of where they put their hard- earned money. Getting good financial returns and having a positive impact on the world are not mutually exclusive. Impact investing and ESG investments allow investors to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, as they say

American financial association SIFMA estimates the market size of sustainable investments to be $8.72 trillion. That figure was calculated in 2016, so it’s likely to be substantially larger than this now. Continue reading

What do you need to consider regarding a defined benefits pension transfer?

Pensions freedoms introduced three years ago mean that people are able to do what they like with their retirement savings. If you are on a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme you may be offered the opportunity to transfer out of your pension scheme in return for a fixed sum.

DB schemes promise savers a certain level of income after retirement, such as a final salary. Transferring out means that you will usually be offered between 25 to 30 times your annual pension value as a lump sum. However, it could be as much as 40 times. For instance, someone on a £10,000-per-year pension could be offered between £250,000 and £400,000. Continue reading

Are children’s pensions as good as they seem?

Pensions for children? Surely that’s taking planning ahead to a whole new level?

Nonetheless, if you can afford it, putting money aside in to a pension for your children or grandchildren can be a sensible option.

Under the current rules, you can put £2,880 a year into a junior self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or stakeholder pension, on their behalf. Even though the child won’t be a taxpayer, 20% is added to the amount in tax relief, up to £3,600 per annum. If you think about it, that can result in quite a significant amount over the years, taking compound growth into consideration. Continue reading

The end of LISA? Time to get your lifetime ISA before it disappears

The new girl on the block, in terms of saving products, seems like she may not actually be around for much longer. LISA, or the lifetime ISA, is being threatened with abolition by a Treasury committee, having only been on the market for 16 months.

The LISA allows those aged between 18 and 50 to save up to £4,000 a year towards a pension or a first home tax free, with the promise of a 25% government bonus capped at £1,000 a year. Continue reading

Is buying a state pension top-up worthwhile?

As part of your overall financial planning, one item that is worth considering is your state pension and whether you are on track to get the full amount. If not, it is possible to buy top-ups, which could boost your payout by £244 a year for life.

The 2017/18 voluntary payment, under the Class 3 National Insurance top-up scheme, costs £741 and will get you nearer to, or over, the threshold for the maximum state pension payout – currently £164.35 a week. Such an opportunity can be particularly relevant for those who have contracted out of part of the state pension at some point previously during their working life. Continue reading

Record numbers make the most of pension freedoms

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Plan for Retirement?

The people have spoken and they love freedom! Recent figures show withdrawals in the 2017-18 year were worth £6.7bn, the highest figure since the pension freedoms reforms were introduced in 2015.

Before the change in legislation, the majority of pensioners would purchase an annuity with their pension pot, which would guarantee them an income for life.The pension freedoms now mean that those over the age of 55 have access to their savings and more choice and flexibility over how they fund their retirement. Continue reading

Why it pays to retire early

Sound financial planning is not only good for your bank account – it could actually improve your life expectancy. If you’re reading this then you probably don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of looking after your money, but here’s another reason to add to the list.

The idea of retiring early can be most appealing. For some, it will already be a reality, while wise saving and investment may mean it’s perfectly achievable for those at the consideration stage. Research now suggests that an early retirement can actually also lengthen your life. Economists from the University of Amsterdam published a 2017 study in the Journal of Health and Economics which confirmed that male Dutch civil servants over the age of 54 who retired early were 42% less likely to die over the subsequent five years, compared to those who continued working.

Researchers put this life-extending phenomenon down to two main factors. First, when you retire you have more time to invest in your health. Whether that means you find more time to sleep, more time to exercise or simply more time to visit a doctor when an issue arises, you’ll see the benefit.

Secondly, work can be a great contributor to stress, creating hypertension which is in turn a huge risk factor for potentially fatal conditions. In the study, retirees were shown to be significantly less likely to fall victim to cardiovascular diseases or strokes.

Of course, there can be benefits to staying in work too. Participating in a work environment is a good way of keeping your mind and body active. On top of that, being part of a team helps develop and maintain a sense of purpose and belonging that is essential to cognitive health and development.

That’s not to say that all these benefits can’t be achieved outside of work; the key is to find a hobby, interest or cause to involve yourself in. As is so often the case, there’s no single solution. It’s important to find the best path for you, whether that’s staying in work, retiring early or going part-time. Whatever you choose, spend your time wisely as it could have a major impact on how long your retirement turns out to be.

Cutting through the noise – how does a financial adviser help?

‘Stock market closing at an all time high’; ‘The bubble’s burst’; ‘The stock market is crashing’; ‘Shares have gone through the roof – how could they go any higher?’; ‘House prices plummet by 30%’; ‘UK economy in weakest growth’; ‘The end is near for the bear market’; ‘Stocks dangerously close to unique kind of bull market’; ‘Not seen such market volatility since the 1987 crash’; ‘Warnings of market correction ahead’.

Don’t worry, these are just examples taken at any point in time. But you know what it’s like – you listen to the radio and hear one thing, then open a newspaper and read the opposite. You go on social media and hear all manner of contradictory views and opinions. You chat with friends in the pub who’ve got as many different pieces of advice as there are types of beer or artisan gins on offer!

Noise, noise, noise!

Everyone’s an expert. Everyone’s telling you what to do. But how do you know who to trust?

The good news is that if you’re working with a financial adviser, you don’t need to listen to that all clamour around you. The right adviser will help you understand what you can control and give you a sense of perspective.

For example, a recent study showed that investors value the following from their relationships with their advisers:

35% sense of security/peace of mind

23% knowledge of personal financial situations

20% progress towards their goals

14% investment returns

As financial advisers, we’re only too aware that markets will go up and markets go down but we can help you take a long term view. By gaining an understanding of your overall goals and objectives, we can give you reassurance over short term fluctuations. We’ll discuss your risk profile with you and adjust it as market conditions and your own particular circumstances change. The regular reviews we’ll have with you will keep your plan on track. As a result, you’ll find that because your decisions are now part of a strategic financial plan instead of isolated choices, you won’t feel so bombarded by every single news item.

By working with a financial adviser, you’ll know that we can cut through the conflicting messages and help you see past the headlines to the hard facts you need. It’s our job to be able to give you a sense of perspective when the markets may seem in turmoil. So when others may be tempted to made sudden withdrawals or changes, we’ll give you the ressaurance to stay invested. Alternatively, when it’s right to move, we’ll give you the confidence to change. It’s this kind of discipline that can make all the difference in terms of investment performance.

So rather than being swayed by sensationalist headlines or being worried by the ups and downs of the markets, use your financial adviser to help you ‘keep your head when all about you are losing theirs’.