Why let someone else help you manage your finances when you could just ‘do it yourself’?
In times like these, it is amazing to see the amount of support we are giving each other to support and help get through challenges. Sometimes we all need a second opinion, and as financial planners, that has proven to be key during this period.
Whether you have a financial planner or not, have you ever considered what difference they would be able to make to your life, your finances and your decision-making.
The best way to find out is by asking the people that have one. And that’s why we asked our clients and made a list of the top 5 things they said we helped them with.
Our clients often tell us that financial challenges can be a burden. It could be as simple as them asking, “how should I use my money, and how do I invest it? How do I prepare for retirement?”
The advice we have given has provided clients with a broader perspective to what they can achieve in the future. We give them a wider view to allow them to make lifestyle decisions rather than financial decisions. It’s about ensuring that your plan works for each stage of your life and adapts as your circumstances change.
‘It isn’t something you may think about when you are younger’, or particularly want to when you don’t have the financial knowledge, Derek shared. As advisers, we help clients put the grounding in place about how to think about future planning and what their options are. It doesn’t always have to be about cutting back, which is what our client Bill initially thought. He was cautious with his money, but after seeing the options laid out to him, he felt comfortable and informed enough to make those decisions and enjoy his life (and now semi-retirement!).
According to the Office of National Statistics, 41 is the average working age, whilst the average age for retirement is 64 in UK. Understandably, not all of us would want to work up to that age, or even feel that we could retire any earlier. In our experience, this is not always the case.
One of our client’s once said he felt that he was “sleep-walking into retirement” before he approached us. You have control of preparing for your retirement before it happens, so why not do so?
A good place is to start thinking about what you would like. Is it early retirement, a holiday every year or savings to provide your children or grandchildren a financial advantage? Once you have these goals in mind, think carefully about your assets and how they can help you achieve these goals.
Now for the P word that many of us get a headache from at times – pensions.
Retirement is a journey. When retirement meant buying an annuity and living off that, in the pre-pension freedom days, it was simply treated as a one-off event. The change in pension rules now means that flexible payments from pension pots are reaching a record high. Between 2016 and the end of 2017, the number of people who chose to withdraw lump sums increased by 50 percent. Remember that a pension is an asset and can be used to fit your lifestyle. You can take control of this.
The main things we advise clients to think about are:
i. When you want to retire
ii. A Plan for leaving work
iii. How you will spend your time
iv. What you will need to live the life you want
Whilst we often think of our own finances, it natural to also think of our loved ones, those that rely on us and those we simply would like to help.
Many of us work hard to earn the life we want, therefore it’s equally important to be able to leave that legacy. We think about succession planning in two stages:
It is popular for people to help their children or grandchildren buy a property, but this is not the only answer - and not always feasible.
Our client Andrena was able to help her family after we helped rearrange her assets. She felt that “being able to do that at this stage of your life is lovely. Not just helping yourself out and ticking off your own bucket list but being able to help other people out and expect nothing in return. It’s a wonderful position to be in.’
As we evolve with the different stages in our lives, we will find that our risk profiles also change. For example, when Derek approached us, he was single and working offshore. He felt that he could take on high risk. Over the 15 years he has been with us as a client, he got married and started family planning. Instinctively, he feels that his risk profile has reduced and will only continue to do so when he begins to have children.
There is no one-size-fits-all to any solution. We all live different lives, have different circumstances, and various stages in life. If you manage your financial assets in parallel with the events in your life, you can assess whether they are providing you with maximum value, at that time.
You may be a business owner, with a steady or growing business. You may have plans to grow your business, employee more staff or move to a bigger location. However, you may feel you don’t have the finance to do so.
One of our clients Cameron, had a family pharmacy in Greenock and required funding to put a new development together. ‘Adrian from Murphy Wealth helped us to manage that whole process of getting the funding and this allowed us to do the new development for the pharmacy.’
When you are running your own business, the last thing you need is to be bombarded with the financial knowledge before progressing forward. And whilst there is countless advice on how you can finance your business, you may find that you have the adequate and right assets, just not in the right place. It’s a case of reassessing, ensuring your assets are doing what they need to for you, and ensuring liquidity in your business operations.
Sometimes we don’t fully understand the value of the assets we hold and what they can achieve when they’re working well for us. By clearly understanding your goals and mapping out your assets, you can quickly draw a realistic picture of what’s achievable in retirement.
Our clients have often thought they were unable to retire early. However, after using cash flow forecasting to show clients what options they have if they were to change the way they manage their assets, many of them felt a lot more confident, and excited about knocking a couple of years off work (considering the associated health benefits of retiring early)!
Clients including Andrena and John now share stories about their travels, Wimbledon trips and Royal Ascot experiences with us. They are amazed at how they can do many of the things they never thought they would be able to do at the age of 55, all whilst retiring two years early.
If any of these top five have been on your mind, or you would like advice on them then feel free to get it touch. We help clients live the life they want, not the one they perceive.
We said five things...but we added on one more that's often unaccounted for - providing a behavioural insight to financial decisions that you make.
Behavioural finance is the study of psychological influences on the behaviour of investors or financial analysts. However, the concept extends past the traditional investor and can be applied to the way we all make financial decisions.
Financial decisions are influenced by biases we are totally unaware of but can have a profound impact on the foundations of our determinations. Being human is complicated. Our decisions are wrapped up in emotions. How we feel can often cloud our judgement from the facts.
That's why have a second expert opinion before you make those decisions is important. Being self-aware of your biases is even more so.
We take the time to understand the experiences and values of our clients because it shapes who they are, how they see things and the decisions they make. Having someone to acknowledge and keep you accountable for those financial decisions is often not only valuable but very insightful too!
If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to get in touch with us, even if it's just for a second opinion.
Please note this article does not constitute advice. Anyone considering any form of financial planning should seek independent financial advice.