Here are a few examples of where we can help:
Young, single and working clients
This would typical cover income protection and some pension planning and also the start of long term savings. We also recommend that wills are written.
Clients with young families
Typical planning would be protection of the income earners income against long term illness and life insurance where appropriate to make sure that the dependents are properly looked after in the event of a sudden death. We also make sure that guardians are appointed within a will, in case something happens to both partners. Other considerations would include saving for retirement, long terms savings or a child's education.
A Client in their 40s or early 50s who may have had several changes of employer and amassed several different money purchase pension pots. They may be unsure of how much every pension is worth and are worried about if they have enough to retire on. For this type of client, we would gather all of the relevant information together and perhaps consider consolidation of all the different pots. There is a substantial amount of work in doing this and some personal pensions may not be suitable for consolidation due to guaranteed annuity rates. We would advise accordingly and make sure that good funds are used going forward. Some of the new pension contracts tend to be much cheaper than the old contracts. The new contracts that we use can also give the client online access to see how their funds are doing at any time. We do not advise on transfers out of final salary pensions schemes.
Clients going through a divorce or separation.
Starting out again after being a couple is a stressful time for all concerned, especially where children are involved. It is important to review all that is in place to ensure that all needs are covered.
Wealthy clients with assets over the inheritance tax threshold. With this type of client, we would undertake some trust planning to ensure that as much of the estate is left to their chosen beneficiaries and not to HMRC after they pass and make sure the investments are working properly.
Clients who are approaching retirement and are worried about how to convert their pension funds into suitable retirement income. Recent changes in the 2014 budget have been very positive for pension planning and this is an area where anybody with a pension fund in place should seek professional advice.
Clients who have just retired and would like to maximise their income and make sure that it lasts them for a potential 30 plus years.
A client who may be retired and worried about running out of funds, in what may be a very long retirement. Mortality rates are well into the 80's now. A typical new client may normally have not sought advice before and kept all of their retirement funds in the bank on short term or fixed rate deposits. Clearly with very low interest rates paid on bank deposits, the real value of the money will diminish with inflation. For the risk averse, it is possible to get better rates through fixed interest vehicles without having to tie the money in at all, whilst those that wish to obtain slightly better returns and are prepared to take a little more risk, then medium to long term balanced portfolios made up of equities, fixed interest and commercial property funds can be set up.
A retired client who has all of their money tied up in their property with insufficient income to manage on a week to week basis. With this client, we might suggest releasing some of the capital from their property to either produce a regular additional income or perhaps a lump sum, to enjoy life more fully. They always retain the right to live in the property.
Retired clients worried about care fees in the future. For this type of client, it is important first to get the house tenancy right, if still married and then to look at how affordable long term care might be. This process involves gather all the income information and asset information together and working out the best way to pay for long term care. This may be by payment of a lump sum. Dependents normally wait until the money has nearly run out before asking for advice about care fees. It is important to ask right at the beginning before going into care. This type of planning often ties in with equity release.
Business owners with other partners or Directors. For this type of client we would make sure that the appropriate shareholders/partnership agreements are in place so that the funds are in place to pay out in the event of a director/partner dying or becoming seriously ill. With this method, there are no worries about a deceased spouse's new partner having an influence on the business.
Tax planning for Business owners/Entrepreneurs. The way that a business is structured is very important, especially for micro businesses. We advise on the best way to take out profits from a business and to plan for the long term future and eventual exit from the business.
Business owners that may not have set up any pension planning for themselves or their employees. With compulsory auto enrolment fast approaching, this is an urgent issue to be addressed. We would also make sure that protection of income against long term illness is in place for business owners and key personnel. We are also able to organise Private Medical insurance for key personnel within a business.
Business Owners. Some successful businesses may have far too much cash sitting in the company bank account, typically earning 0.1% or less. It is important to take advantage of planning opportunities such as higher pension payments, which in turn will reduce Corporation Tax or perhaps even to invest the money in longer term savings (with easy access), to further enhance the company's profitability and insure against the bad times that may come.
There are many other situations where a good Financial Planner can bring great value to long term wealth.