10 New Year’s Resolutions for your Financial Planning

The economies on both sides of the Atlantic might be showing clear signs of an upturn as we start the New Year, but that doesn’t mean we can suddenly afford to ignore our personal financial planning. So in the best traditions of New Year here are ten financial planning resolutions that will hopefully help make 2014 a prosperous and secure year for you

  1. I will save some money on a regular basis. It might be your daughter getting married, it might be one or more of your children going to university – or it might be a more sombre reason. But at some stage in all our lives we are going to need savings to fall back on: so make a resolution to save on a regular basis in the New Year. Better to save first and spend what you have left than spend first and then save – because as we all know, there probably won’t be anything left!
  2. I will admit I’m going to get old. We don’t just mean feeling old after one Xmas party too many – we mean you should make 2014 the year when you have a thorough review of your pension planning. Taking some action now could well save you a lot of heartache later on. The message from the Government (and any subsequent Government) will be simple: if you want a prosperous retirement it’ll be up to you to provide it.
  3. I will check what I’m paying on my mortgage. Interest rates have been very low for some time now, but 2014 may well be the year when they start to creep up. If that happens mortgage rates will go up as well. So review your mortgage to make sure that it’s competitive and that you’re paying as little as possible.
  4. I will review my life cover and protection policies. It’s always worth keeping these policies under review, both to make sure that you have adequate cover and to make sure that you are still paying a competitive rate for the cover you have in place. The cost of protection can and does fluctuate and as with your mortgage, it will cost you nothing to ask us to review the arrangements you have in place.
  5. I won’t pay the taxman more than I need to. Couldn’t we all agree with this one? If you’re saving on a regular basis make sure you use your ISA allowances and look at the tax efficient ways in which a pension can be used. Far too many of us are inadvertently paying tax that we simply don’t need to.
  6. I will use all my tax allowances. Even sophisticated investors often forget to make use of allowances such as the annual Capital Gains Tax allowance (don’t forget that a married couple can both use the individual CGT allowance). And despite the threshold going up, Inheritance Tax is another area where a small amount of planning can pay significant dividends. If you’d like further details on either of these two areas of tax planning don’t hesitate to contact us.
  7. I won’t forget about my investments. How often do we see new clients with a portfolio of investments that hasn’t been looked at for years? If you do have investments, make sure you keep them under regular review.
  8. I won’t obsess about my investments. The other side of the coin – the investor who is constantly tinkering with his investments, so that whatever gains he might have made are wiped out by dealing costs. Remember that investments are for the long term: they need to be regularly reviewed – as we do with all our clients’ portfolios – but as the old wealth warning reminds us, they can and do fluctuate in value.
  9. I won’t get sentimental. We’re not talking about your personal relationships here, but about investments you might have held for a long time. One of the best things a regular review from your professional adviser does is highlight areas of your portfolio which are underperforming. And irrespective of how much money a particular holding might have made you ten years ago, if it is underperforming now it may well need to be changed.
  10. I will keep in touch with my professional advisers on a regular basis. Everyone’s personal circumstances change, and their financial planning needs change accordingly. That’s why we’re so keen on regular reviews and regular meetings and, as all our clients know, we’re always available should you have any questions.

Here's a little more information about our team.

Q: Qualifications Include

A: After my French degree, I moved into financial planning.  Here is my list:

B/A French

R03 - Personal Taxation (CII)
R04 - Pensions and Retirement Planning (CII)
R05 - Financial Protection (CII)
R02 - Investment Principles (CII)
R01 - Financial Services, Regulation and Ethics (CII)
R06 - Financial Planning Practice (CII)
Dip PFS - Personal Finance Society Diploma (PFS)
CeLM - Certificate in Lifetime Mortgages (IFS)
CeMAP - Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (IFS)
CeRCC - Certificate in Regulated Customer Care (IFS)
CeRER - Certificate in Regulated Equity Release (IFS)
CF2 - Investment and Risk (CII)

Q: Do your clients have anything in common with each other?

A: I work a lot with people who are building wealth as their career progresses, particularly GPs and other people with NHS connections.

I'm very familiar with the NHS pension scheme and benefits, so it is easy for me to give advice that fits in well with your benefits. That helps when I advise you about moving home or saving for the future around your NHS pension.

Our office is in Altrincham, and I live in Liverpool. Also, I work in Oxfordshire approximately one day per week. Any of those locations are convenient for me.

Q: What type of work do you enjoy most?

A: At retirement work gives me the most satisfaction because the clients realise that it is an important time to take professional advice and show genuine gratitude for the work that we do.

Q: Where would you be right now if you weren't at work?

A: Outside somewhere, enjoying the fresh air

Q: In the film of your life, who would play you?

A: Ben Affleck

Q: Curry or Hot Pot?

A: Curry

Q: Sherbert or Chocolate?

A: Chocolate

Q: Lawn or Flowers?

A: Lawn

Q: What are you most likely to do whilst being 'on hold'?

A: Check emails