Personal Finance is a complicated subject and there are many things you need to consider in order both to protect it and to make the most of it. Advice is perishable, even if it appears to have been the best possible advice at the time it is given; its value will be eroded over time as a result of changes to personal circumstances, legislation, tax law and investment markets. Our Private Client Care Proposition allows us to continually ensure that your financial affairs are in order based on the personal financial and legislative conditions at the time.
Introduction to Financial Planning
Financial planning has witnessed significant change, so it is not surprising that most people are unclear about what financial planners actually do. The aim of this guide is to explain the process in general terms and what financial planning can achieve for you. Some of the important recent changes to pensions and ISAs have made the need for financial planning even more crucial.
Financial protection – for you and your family
Life and health insurance protection underpins most good financial planning. These types of insurance can ensure that if the worst should happen, the right amount of money will reach the right hands at the right time.
Life insurance that includes critical illness and/or income protection insurance, which may be cheaper. It is important to look at your options – what do you need most now? How much cover do you need? Can you defer some cover until a future date? We can recommend the right policy, which will be set up in the most effective and economical way, our role is to do three things:
- Know enough about you to make the right recommendations. We carry out a fact find – taking account of facts, your preferences and views. We don’t expect you to be an expert on life insurance, but we need to know your attitude to risk. Whether for example, you accept premiums may rise – or want a guaranteed solution.
- Help you to identify priorities. If you were insured against absolutely everything, like most people you may find premiums unaffordable. Working out how things might change in future and prioritising matters could be a sensible thing to do.
- Recommend solutions to meet your needs. The right policy is important, but a will or writing policies in trust could be too.
Pensions and tax planning for high earners
Retirement planning is complicated, and has been made even more so by constant changes to the rules. We make it our business to stay up-to-date with the latest developments, and to help clients take full advantage of the available tax breaks. In particular, we can give guidance on:
- Assessing your financial priorities and choosing suitable investments
- Maximising pension contributions, using carry forward where appropriate
- Advising whether salary sacrifice could increase the amount invested in your pension at no extra cost to you or your employer
- The appropriateness of a SIPP, and the right investment strategy
- Transferring existing pension arrangements into your new pension arrangement
- Managing the move from saving to withdrawing from your pension
- Minimising the IHT liability after your death.
Investing for income when you retire
There comes a time when you stop working for your money and put your money to work for you. For most people, that is retirement. The decisions you make then could have repercussions for the rest of your life, and recently there have been some major changes to the choices you can make with your pensions. Your retirement could turn out to last considerably longer than you think.
Preparing for your retirement is complicated, with many different things to take into account. We can help you with your planning and, in particular, we can provide advice on:
- Cash flow planning
- Choosing between annuity and income drawdown, and finding the best annuity rate if relevant.
- The best provider, investment strategy and income levels for drawdown. Managing your investments, including the pension lump sum, in a tax-efficient way that meets your needs.
- Inheritance planning.
Pensions freedom – drawing from your pension
The changes revealed in the 2014 Budget were described by some retirement planning experts as a pensions revolution. The radical proposals came as a surprise and were designed to change the retirement landscape by breaking the link between pensions and annuities. While the reforms have now made their way into many pages of legislation, it is possible further, even more fundamental changes will emerge in March 2016 as a result of a pension consultation issued alongside last summer’s 2015 Budget. This uncertainty means that as far as possible, you should build flexibility into any plans you make.
As expert financial advisers, we are well versed in the many complexities of retirement planning. We can help you by:
- Explaining the new retirement options open to you and how they can be used.
- Reviewing your current investment strategies in the light of any revised plans for how you take your retirement income.
- Arranging an analysis of your pension transfer options.
- Assessing your auto-enrolment pension options if you are an employer.
- Integrating your auto-enrolment benefits with other retirement planning if you are an employee.
- Keeping you up to date with further pension developments.
Investing for Children
Planning for your child’s future is one of the most important things you will ever do and we are here to advise you about the best way to achieve your aims and to help ensure that your investments produce the outcomes you want for your children. We can help in a range of ways. We are very willing and prepared to work with your other professional advisers. The scope of our work can include:
- Comprehensive financial planning for your family’s finances and estate planning.
- Investment planning for yourself, your family and any trusts, from asset allocation to investment selection.
- IHT mitigation.
- Advice on the choice of appropriate trusts.
- School fees and other educational costs planning.
For many people, estate planning is pushed to the bottom of the ‘do later’ list, like tax returns. Estate planning is also a subject that requires you to contemplate your own demise and none of us expect to pass away tomorrow, so deferral easily sets in. However, before then there is always the possibility that death will come suddenly, through an accident or previously unnoticed medical condition.
We can help with your estate planning and inheritance tax planning in several ways.
- Working with your other professional advisers to optimise the estate and tax planning aspects of your will.
- Advising on the various tax implications involved in lifetime gifts.
- Reviewing your pension provision and suggesting ways to improve its role in your estate planning.
- Arranging investments and life assurance to help reduce or fund the eventual IHT bill.
While the thought of going abroad to work or retire may be exciting, the months before departure may be stressful. Finding somewhere to live in your chosen country, arranging the necessary visas and booking a suitable removal firm are just some of the issues you are likely to have to deal with.
Nevertheless, during this mad rush, it is vital that you pay adequate attention to financial planning. In particular, the tax consequences of leaving the UK are quite complex, so it is essential that you seek professional advice.
Moving abroad is a particularly complicated area where specialist help is essential.
You will need the right advice about your potential liability to tax and the most appropriate ways to minimise the tax impact. If necessary, we can liaise with any accountant or tax specialist that you might use in the country that you move to.
We can also help you with investment and tax planning advice if you are about to become non-resident for tax purposes, or are thinking of returning to the UK.
Client Care Proposition
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investing in shares should be regarded as a long-term investment and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances. The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.