Financial Planning

  • Planning for the best time of your life

    Posted on
    Whether you’re nearing the start of your retirement or you’ve still got a few years of work ahead of you, it’s likely that you’ve already started planning this next significant phase in your life. But no matter how much you read, how many numbers you crunch and how many pounds you put away, you might still find yourself constantly adopting a pessim...
  • 3 key considerations to ensure a surviving spouse is looked after

    Posted on
    It’s only natural if you have a husband, wife or civil partner that you will want to do everything you can to ensure they’re looked after financially in the event of your death. But it’s not as simple as ensuring that they are named as a beneficiary in your will, as if you don’t take a number of potential complications into account, you could inadv...
  • ‘Alternative investments’: from children’s books to memorabilia

    Posted on
    If you’ve got some spare cash left over from more traditional, structured investments, then you could follow in the footsteps of the growing number of people investing in collectibles. As well as providing something physical to enjoy and look after in a way that other investments can’t, many collectible items can increase in value as time goes on....
  • The financial pros and cons of self-employment

    Posted on
    Studies show that being self-employed has an impact on family life due to the increase in pressure and stress it brings. According to the Centre for the Modern Family’s report ‘Self-employment and the Family’, a fifth of those related to self-employed workers admitted to their household experiencing higher levels of stress, thanks to their career c...
  • Bill to the Bank of Mum and Dad could reach £6.5bn

    Posted on
    A recent report has suggested that the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ will be lending their children over £6.5 billion this year in order to help them onto the property ladder. The projected figure is around £1.5 billion higher than the £5 billion loaned by parents to their offspring in 2016, demonstrating an increase of 30% and meaning that more than one i...
  • PRE-ELECTION SUMMARY 2017

    Posted on
    Polls, policies, Brexit and your finances: what to expect in the run up to 8th June November brought us the election of President Trump. Earlier this month, Emmanuel Macron became President of France. Apparently not wanting to be left out, Theresa May took to the Downing Street lectern reserved for important announcements and called for a UK Genera...
  • Is the probate fee rise the ‘new inheritance tax’?

    Posted on
    When someone dies and leaves a will, an executor is usually appointed in the will to deal with the deceased person’s estate – their money, property and possessions. Before they’re able to do this however, the executor has to apply for a ‘grant of probate’. This means they are legally allowed to distribute assets from the estate as outlined in the w...
  • What financial wellbeing means for your health

    Posted on
    The latest Financial Wellness Index has revealed that people with very little savings and those who are struggling to pay their bills are also those who are suffering from poor health. Conversely, those enjoying good health are more likely to experience a higher level of financial wellness. The findings raise the question of whether working to impr...
  • 4 great ways to make your money go further

    Posted on
    January is a month that often feels twice as long in financial terms after the extravagances of Christmas and New Year, but just because we’ve reached March and your bank balance is finally looking a bit healthier doesn’t mean giving up all those thrifty habits you’ve adopted at the start of the year. It’s far better to capitalise on your good fina...
  • Why it could make sense to switch banks

    Posted on
    An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that small businesses could save around £80 annually by switching to a bank account better suited to their financial needs, whilst customers could save themselves an average of £92 a year by doing the same. However, the figures for switching accounts are still remarkably smal...
  • What will the new government-backed savings bond mean for savers?

    Posted on
    Amongst a generally gloomy Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond offered a potential ray of hope for those looking to achieve better returns on their nest egg, thanks to the announcement of a new government-backed savings bond. Set to become available from spring 2017 through National Savings & Investments (NS&I) for those prepared to...
  • 4 things to do before the end of the tax year

    Posted on
    The beginning of a new calendar year should serve as a timely reminder that we’re only months away from the end of the current tax year. It might feel at the moment as though there’s plenty of time until the beginning of April, but ensuring you make use of the remaining months before they disappear is always a good idea. Here are our top four tips...
  • 3 new year’s resolutions for your finances (that you can actually keep) in 2017

    Posted on
    Whilst New Year’s resolutions are always made with the best of intentions, the truth is that they often prove difficult to keep beyond the first few weeks in January. The main reason for this is that the goals we set ourselves are admirable but simply too lofty to achieve. It’s far better to choose a few small but achievable goals that offer increm...
  • Good news from the other side of the channel:

    Posted on
    I am pleased to say that Alexander Beard (France) is out of the starting blocks and busily doing business. Obviously a significant part of 2016’s activities focussed upon establishing the legal and regulatory approvals for the launch of our French office in Lyon; since then the employee benefit side of the French office has secured our first two co...
  • LOOKING BACK AT 2016: LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017

    Posted on
    These notes were written on Monday 12th December, and all the information is accurate at that date: where quoted, stock market figures are as at 30th November. 2016 is a year that has seen some remarkable developments, but surely on 12th December we are now safe to look back over the year: nothing else can happen in the last two weeks of the year....
  • It’s proving popular to cash in smaller amounts from pensions

    Posted on
    Recent figures suggest that whilst the number of retirees choosing to cash in their pension pots has increased, the amount being withdrawn by them has gone down. When pension freedoms were first introduced, the average sum taken out was around £20,000. This has since reduced considerably to an average of £10,000 according to statistics from the tax...
  • Millions have less than £100 in savings

    Posted on
    A recent survey has revealed the startling statistic that over 16 million people in the UK have less than £100 of savings. In five areas of the country – Northern Ireland, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, North East England and Wales – over 50% of the adult population has savings amounting to less than that amount. The South East had the lo...
  • The ‘cost of dying’ is now racing ahead of the rate of inflation

    Posted on
    Recent research has revealed that the cost of dying is now the fastest rising fixed cost in the UK, ahead of costs of living including rent, utilities and food. Funeral costs are also now rising faster than inflation, wages and pensions. The average cost of a funeral within the UK is now £3,897, which is 44% of the current total cost of dying per p...
  • The next generation’s need for planning may be even greater than our own

    Posted on
    Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) surrounding wealth in the UK has been making headlines in recent months. The study has found that people born during the 1980s are now half as wealthy as those born in the 1970s were at the same stage in their lives. This makes children born during the Thatcher era the first generation since the S...
  • Triggering pensions freedoms without a plan could be costing you money

    Posted on
    According to recent research, the introduction of pension freedoms has led to many thousands of people taking out large sums from their retirement funds, then leaving it earning them next to nothing in low-interest accounts. The figures from Citizens Advice who carried out the study suggest that around three in ten people are currently doing this,...
  • Three lessons about retirement from those who have already retired

    Posted on
    Retirement is undoubtedly the section of your life which received the largest amount of planning for most people, with much of your working life spent ensuring you can live where and how you want once you’ve retired. However, as with all plans, there are always going to be aspects of your retirement which don’t end up quite how you’d expected, and...
  • Despite consistent positive savings messages, many are still struggling to save for the future

    Posted on
    A recent report has found that a significant number of people aged 35 to 44 are still struggling to save anything for the longer term, and are only just affording to pay for their present circumstances. Whilst 37% said that they struggle with their finances from time to time, 34% of people between these ages find it difficult to keep up with bills...
  • The value of mortgage advice

    Posted on
    Mortgage advice might not be for everyone, but for those clients who seek it out it can be an invaluable service in helping them to strike a better deal than they could have achieved on their own. The role of a mortgage adviser is to work with a buyer in order to find them the best option for their circumstances. The main way in which a mortgage ad...
  • Negative interest rates and how they might affect your finances

    Posted on
    With the Bank of England cutting UK interest rates this month for the first time since 2009 to just 0.25%, it looks more likely than ever that Britain could experience negative interest rates. The idea of negative interest rates has moved from theory to reality following the 2008 financial crisis, with several central banks in Europe introducing ra...
  • How will your spending habits change in retirement?

    Posted on
    It will come as a surprise to nobody that retirement is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you’ll ever experience. But as your priorities shift and the free time available to you increases, what you might not be as aware of is the way in which your spending habits are likely to alter too. A recent study analysed the spending patterns of household...
  • The next squeeze on your finances: term time holiday fines!

    Posted on
    Recent research suggests that up to 90,000 parents received fines for taking their child out of school during term time for a holiday. In total, the fines are estimated to amount to a staggering £5.6 million, which is a 267% increase on the estimated £1.5 million worth of fines issued in the 2012-13 academic year. The rise seems to have stemmed fro...
  • Downsizing, retirement and proper planning

    Posted on
    A recent study has found that 2.3 million UK homeowners aged 55 and over – almost 40% of people in that age bracket – are planning to downsize their home in order to raise money during their retirement. However, if downsizing wasn’t always the plan for these people, then it potentially shows poor financial planning for their later years. The averag...
  • Do you know your partner’s bank balance?

    Posted on
    A recent study by Experian of over a thousand US couples has revealed that the majority of spouses had no real knowledge of their other half’s finances until after they were married. Almost a third admitted to being surprised by what they learned from their partner’s bank statements once they saw them. 36% of respondents said they knew nothing abou...
  • The widening gap between the lifespans of rich and poor people

    Posted on
    For the first time since the 1870s, the gap between the expected lifespan of the rich and the poor is getting wider in England and Wales. A study by City University London confirms that, whilst people are living longer overall, the lifespan of rich people is expanding faster. Using statistics from the Human Mortality Database, the researchers looke...
  • Financial face-off: men vs. women!

    Posted on
    A study by the worldwide research, consulting and professional development organisation, LIMRA, that compared the financial approaches of men and women, has found that there are key differences between the two sexes in both their methods of financial planning and in their decision-making processes. When it comes to sharing financial decisions, over...
  • Three small lifestyle changes that can mean big savings

    Posted on
    ‘The Little Guide To Financial Admin’, a new publication about managing your personal expenditure, was published in May this year. The guide offers a variety of little changes you can make to your day-to-day life in order to make small savings here and there, the idea being that these will accumulate to a considerable pot of money over time. Read o...
  • 5 tips for reducing debtors

    Posted on
    Keeping your debtors to a minimum is important to ensuring your business is a continuing success. However, reducing your debtors can often be a task which seems much easier said than done. Have a look below to see our top 5 tips for keeping your debtors down as much as possible. Reduce your trading terms – if you haven’t revised your trading terms...
  • The ‘money-gap’ generation

    Posted on
    A recent survey has revealed that employees from all across the age spectrum have considerable gaps in their financial knowledge. Out of over 500 respondents, more than seven in ten of people from the generation X and millennials age groups did not have an understanding of pension investments. Additionally, 49% of those surveyed said that their pre...
  • 2016’s Top Summer Holiday Destinations

    Posted on
    As the warm weather keeps threatening to finally arrive for good, it feels like the perfect time to start thinking about where to go to get away in the summer months. Keep reading to discover our top three destinations for your 2016 holiday. Bordeaux, France – Situated in the area of France which currently produces the greatest volume of fine wines...
  • Brexit the Movie...

    Posted on
    Sliding Doors Yesterday we saw a rising pound and markets shored up by polls indicating that Remain was likely to prevail.  Then, like the plot in “Sliding Doors”, an alternate reality took over.  The vote to Leave sent markets sliding, the pound tumbling and the movement was all the more extreme because of the about-turn from last minute polls to...
  • Don’t Worry, Be App-y: three great money-saving apps for your smartphone

    Posted on
    Apps have transformed the way you can do almost everything in life, from tracking your fitness regime to ordering a takeaway. For those interested in saving money, there are hundreds of finance-related apps out there, but it’s hard to know which of these will actually help you manage your hard-earned cash and which will just take up space on your s...
  • The unexpected financial influence of “The Bank of Mum and Dad”

    Posted on
    Recently released data suggests that “The Bank of Mum and Dad” will lend out £5 billion this year to children looking to get on the UK property ladder. Parents will therefore be assisting in financing one in four of all UK mortgage transactions in 2016. The average loan amount will be £17,500, around 7% of the average purchase price, and parents ar...
  • Wealth? Fame? Working hard? New research reveals what really makes us happy.

    Posted on
    It’s been 75 years in the making and the topic for countless philosophers to muse over, but a US study seems to have finally uncovered the secret to happiness and health. Speaking during a TED Talk, Harvard professor Robert Waldinger revealed that, though wealth and fame continue to be commonly cited desires amongst millennials (those born sometim...
  • Retirement ‘class of 2016’ owe less than last year’s

    Posted on
    The amount of money owed by those planning to retire over the course of the next 12 months has fallen for the fourth year in row, according to the latest research by Prudential. This year’s retirees who still have debts owe an average of £18,800, a fall of £3,000 or 14% from last year and a drop of nearly £20,000 since 2012 when the average amount...
  • Basic Bank Accounts Become ‘Fee-Free’

    Posted on
    Millions of bank customers across Britain stand to benefit by hundreds of pounds as nine major banks launch fee-free basic bank accounts. The accounts will be available to anyone who doesn’t already have a bank account, is ineligible for a standard current account or who can’t use their existing account due to financial difficulty. For the first ti...
  • The new decluttering craze. Could it apply to your office… or your finances?

    Posted on
    Two books are first and third in the current US Best Sellers list – both by Japanese-American tidying guru, Marie Kondo. Her tidying wisdom has swept the US as a way to feel better about yourself and your home and it’s now heading to the UK. She recently shared her top tips for ‘decluttering’ and it made us wonder whether her new form of ‘healthy l...
  • 7 Reasons why you should review your Pension’s in 2016

    Posted on
    1 - Major changes to pension Tax Relief likely We already know high earners will be hit from 6 April 2016. The amount they can invest in a pension and receive tax relief on will fall to as little as £10,000. You are likely to be affected if your income is more than £150,000, although those with lower incomes could also be caught. But further chang...
  • 10 ways to save money in 2016

    Posted on
    Is sorting out your finances top of your new year’s resolution list? Here’s a few ways the government can help to get you started in 2016. Please note that tax advice is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and that this article is not for your personal advice. If you wish to talk to your adviser please do call us. If you’re saving fo...
  • Stamp Duty Hike

    Posted on
    Mike Shakespeare, Financial Planning Associate - Chester branch For those of us who feel a property portfolio is a valuable part of our financial planning the coming year will include some added costs. People buying additional property, including buy-to-let or second homes, will face a 3 percentage point surcharge on stamp duty rates from April 20...
  • Money trumps health as top retirement concern

    Posted on
    Concerns over money dominate the thinking of pre-retirees, according to new research from Retirement Advantage. Conducted by YouGov, the study finds almost half (49%) of over 50s are worried about not having enough money in retirement to do the things they want to do, compared to just over a third (37%) who are concerned about health problems. Fin...
  • State Pension changes in 2016 – can I top up my pension?

    Posted on
    A new initiative allows people who reach the state pension age before April 2016, to top up their pension. This includes those that are already drawing the state pension. The Government is allowing retirees to buy extra state pension by paying so-called Class 3A voluntary National Insurance contributions between October 2015 and April 2017. This wi...
  • When should you keep faith with an underperforming active fund?

    Posted on
    Investors who entrust their savings to active fund managers do so in the hope they will achieve market-beating performance. When the fund starts to dip, it is possible that some investors may forget that short-term bouts of underperformance must be endured along the road to potentially superior long-term results. Ultimately, whether to stick with a...
  • Wedding costs challenge the marital bliss of guests, as well as bride and groom

    Posted on
    Experian’s latest survey suggests that the rising cost of weddings is rocking the boat for many couples, and not just for the bride and groom. In fact, almost a quarter of Britons (22%) have argued with their partner about the cost of witnessing others tie the knot. The findings also reveal that one in six people (17%) who are in a relationship ar...
  • Planning around the retirement threshold

    Posted on
    By now, if you are somewhere in the retirement experience – either approaching it, passing through it or leaving it behind – you will already have experienced firsthand your own childhood and maybe that of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Now you are heading to experience later life, which for most of us will stretch forward fo...
  • Sun, sea, sand… and savings: Money tips for the summer months

    Posted on
    Whilst the summer brings bright evenings and warm weather, it can also be a very expensive time of year. Handy tips to help you save money whilst the sun is shining (hopefully) are always welcome, as even the smallest savings can build up to give you a little extra cash at the end of each month. If you’re planning a holiday overseas, a specialist t...
  • Connected rather than protected?

    Posted on
    Brits consider an internet connection and mobile phones to be greater financial priorities than protecting mortgages and incomes, according to new research in the latest Scottish Widows Protection Report. Only 39% considered providing financial security for their family in the event of death as essential – which has dropped from more than half in f...
  • Planning for a better financial future in retirement

    Posted on
    Recent HSBC research identified four broad actions which may help today’s retirement savers to create an informal plan and work towards a better financial future for themselves. 1. Be realistic about your retirement aspirations The research indicates that more than half of retirees (53%) have been unable to realise at least one of their hopes and a...
  • 60 is the new 40!

    Posted on
    Good news for all of us who have accepted that we are getting older: Saga reports that new European research shows that 60 is the new 40! The research reveals that people are now reaching middle age at the tender age of 60, instead of the previously expected figure of 40 years old. Saga’s Head of Communications, Lisa Harris, commented: “Middle age...
  • Busy Brits regret rushing decisions

    Posted on
    Time-poor people around the UK risk rushing important long-term decisions, with 9 out of 10 (90%) regretting rushing their career choice and 87% feeling regret over hurrying financial decisions, new research from Scottish Widows has revealed. The study into managing time and life administration priorities found that people in the UK are becoming bu...
  • Consumer Frustration with Financial Application Processes

    Posted on
    New research from Experian has revealed key factors driving people to pull out of an application for a financial product or service. A lengthy application process is the number one frustration felt by over half (51 per cent) of UK adults applying for financial products and services, according to new research by Experian, the global information serv...
  • Investment Funds – Active Versus Passive Management

    Posted on
    If you want to put your money into an Investment Fund, there are two main strategies you will come across: • Actively managed investment funds, which are run by professional fund managers or investment research teams who make all the investment decisions, such as which companies to invest in or when to buy and sell different assets, on your behalf....
  • Quick tips on financial planning for thirty-something professionals

    Posted on
    After age 30 it is probable that financial planning will be upped one or two gears and become a far more intense matter. It is worth reflecting how things have changed over the past few generations; more and more people are going to universities, families are having children later, are buying property (and by definition therefore taking on mortgage...
  • 10 New Year’s Resolutions for your Financial Planning

    Posted on
    With recent reports from the Autumn Statement suggesting most of the UK economic indicators are moving in the right direction, it 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 2015 a prosperous and secure...
  • The importance of understanding investment risk in financial planning

    Posted on
    Many people have successfully made substantial fortunes from investing over the years, in various ways and styles, using many different methods. They would have had one thing in common: a fixation on the management of their downside risk. Risk is inherent within the investment structure. “It comes with the territory” – to achieve a return there wil...
  • Pension planning for Brits in the US – QROPS vs UK pensions.

    Posted on
    By Philip Teague, Divisional Director - Expat and Emigration Division, Alexander Beard For a long time now, the appropriate use of QROPS for British expats who are resident in the US, has been in debate. Some see it as a credible solution whilst others say that the risks far outweigh the benefits. QROPS are a legitimate pension solution to a great...
  • A Guide for Grandparents: helping your Grandchildren with their finances

    Posted on
    In later life, it is common for many of us to want to do something for the younger members of our family. If you are eager to provide your grandchildren with a sound financial start in life then the options may seem confusing; how can you save on their behalf most effectively? How can you pass on some of your wealth without incurring large tax li...
  • British Expats in USA and the 2015 Pension Changes

    Posted on
    In April 2015, new legislation will come into force that will affect a large percentage of people who have a UK Pension. These new rules will provide greater flexibility and freedom than was previously afforded to pension holders and will apply to many British expatriates and Americans who have built up pension rights in the UK. With more and more...
  • Peer-to-peer Lending and Crowdfunding: nothing ventured, nothing gained… but how risky are they?

    Posted on
    Peer-to-peer Lending and Crowdfunding are, respectively, the new high(er) interest investment return and start-up funding phenomena that have attracted sufficient interest from city watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, for them to become a regulated investment as of April 1st this year. How attractive an investment are they though – and just...
  • Infographic: Financial Planning Infographic

    Posted on
    What we do isn’t about providing advice on financial products. We take a different approach, a financial planning approach. The infographic below explains a little more.
  • 10 Financial tweeters to follow

    Posted on
    We’re always here to talk through your financial plans but whilst we manage your money, on a day-to-day basis you might want to keep on top of the markets, or hear about the latest goings on and changes in the investment industry. For that, there are some great experts out there who you can follow on twitter and learn a little more about the financ...
  • Guide: 8 Key Steps of Financial Planning

    Posted on
    Financial Planning is a way of organising your finances in order to achieve the goals you may have in your life: important things like saving for a move abroad, or retiring at the ideal point for you. Understanding exactly how this happens does not need to be complex and, in fact, it can be summarised in 8 Key Steps, which we have detailed in the b...
  • 9 Financial blogs to further your knowledge of finance

    Posted on
    If you are seeking to gain some further insight into world finance and the UK economy, or just want to delve deeper into factors that could affect your personal financial position, then it is likely that there is a financial blog out there for you. To help you to discover some of the best, we have compiled a list of the top ten most informative, a...
  • Our Guide to NISAs

    Posted on
    On 1st July 2014, the government implemented the changes it had previously announced to Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), creating a new option for savers known as NISAs (New Individual Savings Accounts). The accounts benefit from the same advantages as ISAs as well as opening up several new options for savers and increasing the amount that can...
  • Scottish Independence: What would it mean for business and your investments?

    Posted on
    Even if you live in a cave on top of a mountain a very long way from anywhere, it won’t have escaped your attention that the referendum on Scottish independence is drawing inexorably closer. Voting will take place on September 18th – little more than five months from now – and at the moment the indications are that the ‘no’ camp will prevail. That...
  • 5 Tips to help your money go further abroad

    Posted on
    As the weather turns and we move toward the Summer months, it’s natural for all of us to look forward to forthcoming holidays and some time away somewhere nice! Foreign finance is a notoriously troublesome area, with poor exchange rates on overseas credit card transactions being just one of several fairly recent high profile examples of consumer...
  • ISAs: Now much NISA

    Posted on
    Virtually all the headlines surrounding George Osborne’s recent Budget were about the changes to the pensions rules. Rightly described as the biggest changes to pensions legislation for a hundred years, they will have far-reaching implications for the financial planning of many of our clients. With all the attention devoted to pensions, it was easy...
  • Budget 2014 Overview

    Posted on
    Whether you are a client based in the UK or abroad, we are sure you will be interested in learning how the UK Government’s 2014 Budget might affect you and your finances. George Osborne delivered the Budget to Parliament on 19th March and we have put together the following analysis and summary, which details all of Mr Osborne’s major announcements,...
  • Does the right hand talk to the left hand in government?

    Posted on
    This particular question has no doubt been asked, cynically or otherwise, many many times over the years but I can think of no better example affecting our industry than a problem which is currently affecting thousands of people taking income from their pension funds. Within the last 12 months we have seen the government reduce the maximum drawdown...