Getting my finances in order

When it comes to making financial decisions, you don’t have to go it alone The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak has affected people in various ways. However, this has undoubtedly been a time for contemplation surrounding our personal finances. Many have taken the new-found time at home to conduct a review of their finances, to assess necessary and unnecessary expenditure. While uncertainty with the job market continues, a tighter grip on finances is key.

Tracking your finances gives you a baseline to help track your progress and helps you to see spending mistakes before they become disastrous personal finance problems. Even if you have a solid financial plan in place, it still needs to be updated regularly to ensure it reflects any life changes. But what should your priorities focus on now? Is it time to turn your attention to your pension, ISA or your mortgage, or something else? Should you be thinking about investing more for your children’s education or putting an estate plan in place? And then there are those previous company pension schemes to review – is it three, four…or was it five? Sound Familiar?

If you’re unsure what diagnosis to give your current money situation, maybe it’s time to consider a financial health check. But where do you start? Read on for hints and tips to assist.

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Have you got control of your retirement plans?

An increasing number of people in later life are saving little or nothing for their golden years, instead expecting to fall back on the State Pension. Some people are ‘under-estimating their life expectancy’ which means that the money they do save for retirement will have to
stretch further.

As millions of people move within a decade of their State Pension many have still not thought about how long their retirement might last. It’s worrying that so many over-50s are potentially sleepwalking into their old age and are expecting to be better off than they will be.

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Client Magazine Sept/Oct 2020

Welcome to our latest issue. As the world continues to work out how to live with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many will agree that the new normal needs new thinking.

The pandemic has unleashed changes that seemed unthinkable only six months ago. Along with the health, safety and well-being of family, friends and loved ones, the new normal has also highlighted the need for financial guidance and support during this turbulent period.

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Lasting Power of Attorney – peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called the ‘attorneys’.

An LPA is a completely separate legal document to your Will, although many people put them in place at the same time as getting their Will written, as part of wanting to plan for the future.

During your lifetime
Once you have an LPA in place, you can have peace of mind that there is someone you trust to look after your affairs if you became unable to do so yourself during your lifetime. This may occur, for example, because of an illness, old age or an accident. Having an LPA in place can allow your attorney to have authority to deal with your finances and property, as well as make decisions about your health and welfare. Your LPA can include binding instructions together with general preferences for your attorney to consider. Your LPA should reflect your particular wishes so you know that the things that matter most would be taken care of.

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Too much cash in your business? What options do you have?

Are you comfortable with your business’s current cash deposits? Did you know that a company or LLP has a number of options to choose from? A top priority has to be tax-efficiency, ideally combined with the additional benefits of security, easy access and flexibility. Selecting one that offers everything can be difficult.

The instant access and relatively safe (but modest) returns offered by deposit accounts may be a reasonable default position, but has it become less attractive with falling interest rates and inflation? If you are a business owner you could:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Use high-interest accounts/bonds
  3. Take a loan from the company
  4. Distribute the funds as dividends
  5. Make company pension contributions

But have you considered looking at other investment solutions for your liquid assets?

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