What’s on my desk right now

what's on my desk, right now?

I’m starting this as a new category…not as much detail as a case study, just an insight into what I do every day. Today I’ve been doing mostly research for cases I’m working on…

Adam and Anita (*) are old enough to be retired, even though they’re not retired. They’ve got a business that’s struggling, they need some money to get through this recession and a few other things. They’ve come to me because they’ve worked out that raising some money on their family home is the best solution.

They don’t want to pay any interest, so that means a “lifetime mortgage” will fit the bill. Obviously, there’s a lot I’ve not included here because it’s boring, but it does rule out the less drastic solutions (like, a normal mortgage/business loan etc).

The trouble is that surveyors are tending to lop at least ten percent off the value of any property they see, which will give us a problem if that happens to Adam and Anita.

I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to get them a good rate, even though they want quite a lot of cash. It would be easy to get them an expensive deal, but they’ll pay for the rest of their lives, so a bit of extra time now is worth it.

I’ve found a bit of a work-around. One provider currently has a “free valuation” so, we get to try before we buy. If the surveyor goes crazy with the valuation, we can walk away. Hopefully, the credit imprint won’t cause too much of a problem.

That’s 239 words and it’s taken me half my day!

Bob and Belinda (*) are fed up with the investments they took out in 2006.

Now, there is at least one reason why most people would be slightly unhappy at this stage (FT-SE etc is down a bit, in case you just landed from Mars), but Bob and Belinda have another reason for unhappiness: Monitoring the investments is proving as much fun as … well, as much fun as trying to correspond with an insurance company.

They’ve been doing it themselves, you see.

They have worked out that what they have isn’t coping very well and I offered them a plan to improve things. It was simple, a combination of four lovely funds (no, I won’t name them here) but then spent hours trying to find one investment product that will fit them all in it.

To be fair, my wish list was to combine some rather famous flagship funds AND demand that the investment product I use can provide a regular income for them at a later stage AND demand that they can pay into the investment regularly AND that the product can manage the tax-free status of the …. oh, you get the picture.

Anyway, I’ve got a solution. I hope they like it, I’m seeing them tomorrow.

Please do comment on this, but do resist any temptation to criticise people’s objectives.

(*) Not their names!

CHECK THAT THIS MORTGAGE WILL MEET YOUR NEEDS IF YOU WANT TO MOVE OR SELL YOUR HOME OR YOU WANT YOUR FAMILY TO INHERIT IT. IF YOU ARE IN ANY DOUBT, SEEK INDEPENDENT ADVICE.

This is a lifetime mortgage. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration

Flora Maudsley-Barton

Here's a little more information about our team:

Q: Qualifications Include

A: My degree in modern languages included a module on economics and personal finance, and that's how I got into financial planning.

Since then, I've become dual qualified as both a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Financial Planner, including the specialist qualifications in Tax & Trusts (G10) and Pensions (AF3/G60).

The full list is:

AF3 - Pensions (CII) (I did that to totally update my pension knowledge, as I had done G60 in 1994.)
K10 - Retirement Options (CII)
K20 - Pensions Investment Options (CII)
G20 - Personal Investment Planning (CII)
Chartered Financial Planner (CII)
ER1 - Equity Release (CII)
HR1 - Home Reversion Plans (CII)
G10 - Taxation and Trusts (CII)
CFP - Certified Financial Planner Licence (IFP)
H15 - Supervision and Sales (CII) 

In November 2016 I added the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practicioners) Certificate for Financial Services.

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

A: They are all lovely and there are a few similarities in their aims that I've noticed. 

Many of my clients want to do more than just meet their own needs. They also see themselves as custodians of their money for the next generation or for other beneficiaries. 

In other cases, their aim is to manage their wealth efficiently during their lifetime, with the aim of spending it all… but minimising tax on the way there.

Q: What type of work do you enjoy most?

A: I do get a real sense of satisfaction from the work with those clients who engage me to manage the needs of two generations of the same time. That can be 'just' a long-term and balanced investment strategy or it can be trust planning and estate planning to avoid paying too much Inheritance Tax.

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

A: In the Lakes

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

A: In my head, it's Uma Thurman, but I expect they would approach 'Nursey' from Blackadder II.

Q: Curry or Hot Pot?

A: Agh, too difficult. 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: Infuriate my colleagues by opening conversations then cutting off their reply when my call is answered.