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Managing your retirement savings in one place

One thing retirement is not, is an age. Not any more anyway. Gone are the days of being told to stop working one day and pick up your pension the next. Today you have new pension freedoms to decide when and how you retire.

By the time we have been working for a decade or two, it is not uncommon to have accumulated multiple pension schemes. There’s no wrong time to start thinking about pension consolidation, but you might find yourself thinking about it if you’re starting a new job or nearing retirement.

Consolidating your pensions means bringing them together into a new plan, so you can manage your retirement saving in one place. It can be a complex decision to work out whether you would be better or worse off combining your pensions, but by making the most of your pensions now, this could have a significant impact on your retirement.

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Reviewing your needs and goals – take time to think about what you really want from your investments?

You need to consider what you really want from your investments. Knowing yourself, your needs and financial and lifestyle goals, and your appetite for risk is a good start.

Consider your reasons for investing. It is important to know why you are investing. The first step is to consider your financial situation and your reasons for investing.

For example, you might be:

• looking for a way to achieve higher returns than on your cash savings

• putting money aside to help pay for a specific goal, such as your children’s or grandchildren’s education or their future wedding

• planning for your retirement

Determining your reasons for investing now will help you work out your investment objectives and influence how your investments are managed in future.

Decide on how long to invest. If you are investing with a specific financial and lifestyle goal in mind, you have probably got a date in mind too. If you have got a few goals, some may be further away in time than others, so you’ll need to have different strategies for your different investments.

Investments rise and fall in value, so it is sensible to use cash savings for your short-term goals and invest for your longer-term goals.

Short-term. Most investments need at least a five-year commitment, but there are other options if you do not want to invest for this long, such as cash savings.

Medium-term. Committing your money for at least five years opens up a selection of investments that might suit you. Your investments make up your ‘portfolio’ and if appropriate should contain a mix of funds investing in shares, bonds and other assets, or a mixture of these, which are carefully selected and monitored for performance.

Long-term. Let us say you start investing for your retirement when you’re fairly young. You might have 25 or 35 years before you need to start drawing money from your investments. With time on your side, you might consider riskier funds that can offer the chance of bigger returns in exchange for an increased risk of losing your money.

As you approach retirement, you might sell off some of these riskier investments and move to safer options with the aim of protecting your investments and their returns.

How much time you have will make a big impact on creating your investment portfolio. As a general rule, the longer you hold investments, the better the chance they will outperform cash – but there can never be a guarantee of this.

Establish an investment plan

Once you are happy and have set your financial and lifestyle goals, the next step is to get your investment portfolio in place. We will help you identify the right type of investment options suitable for you.

Build a diversified portfolio

Holding a balanced, diversified portfolio with a mix of investments will help protect it from the ups and downs of the markets. Different types of investments perform well under different economic conditions. By diversifying your portfolio, you can aim to make these differences in performance work for you.

Diversifying your portfolio in a few different ways through funds that invest across:

• different types of investments

• different countries and markets

• different types of industries and companies

A diversified portfolio is likely to include a wide mix of investment types, markets and industries. How much you invest in each is called your ‘asset allocation’.

Make the most of tax allowances

As well as deciding what to invest in, think about how you will hold your investments. Some types of tax-efficient accounts normally allow you to keep more of the returns you make. It is always worth thinking about whether you’re making the most of your tax allowances too.

You also need to bear in mind that these tax rules can change at any time, and the value of any particular tax treatment to you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Review your portfolio periodically

Periodically checking to see if your portfolio aligns with your goals is an important aspect of investing.

These are some aspects of your portfolio you may want to check up on annually:

Changes to your financial goals.

Has something happened in your life that calls for a fundamental change to your financial life plan? Maybe a change in circumstances has changed your time horizon or the amount of risk you are willing to handle. If so, it is important to take a hard look at your portfolio to determine whether it aligns with your revised financial goals.

Asset allocation. An important part of investment planning is setting an asset allocation that you feel comfortable with. Although your portfolio may have been in line with your desired asset allocation at the beginning of the year, depending on the performance of your portfolio, your asset allocation may have changed over the period in question.

If your actual allocations are outside of your targets, then perhaps it is time to readjust your portfolio to get it back in line with your original targets.

Diversification. Along with a portfolio with a proper asset class balance, you will want to ensure that you are properly diversified inside each asset class.

Performance. Look at whether there are certain aspects of your portfolio that need rebalancing. You may also want to consider selling to help offset capital gains you might take throughout the year.

ONCE YOU’RE HAPPY AND HAVE SET YOUR FINANCIAL AND LIFESTYLE GOALS, THE NEXT STEP IS TO GET YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO IN PLACE. WE’LL HELP YOU IDENTIFY THE RIGHT TYPE OF INVESTMENT OPTIONS SUITABLE FOR YOU.

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ISA – Don’t miss out on this year’s tax-efficient opportunity

If you have cash savings or are investing, there is no reason not to use an ISA tax efficient wrapper. The end of the 2020/21 tax year is Monday 5 April 2021, meaning that if you’re planning to use this year’s ISA allowance you need to act fast – there’s no rollover from one tax year to the next.

We’ve answered some typical questions we get asked about how best to use the ISA allowance to help make the most of the opportunities as this tax year draws to a close.

“An ISA is a tax-efficient way to invest because your money is shielded from Income Tax, tax on dividends and Capital Gains Tax. Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) have been available since 1999. The proceeds are shielded from Income Tax, tax on dividends and Capital Gains Tax.”

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A Guide to Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs)

What do your retirement plans look like? Saving for your retirement is one of the longest and biggest financial commitments you will make. Imagine you are retiring today. Have you thought about how you are going to financially support yourself (and potentially your family too) with your current pension savings? The new pension freedoms provide an incentive to look again at your retirement savings.

A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) could be right for you if you are looking for a wider choice of investment options and have sufficient knowledge and experience of investing to make your own investment decisions.

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Guide to Cashflow Modelling – Is it time to bring your money to life?

Will your current plans get you to where you want to be financially?

Whatever wealth means to you – now and in the future – we can help you achieve your goals for it in every area and stage of your life.

Cashflow modelling as part of the financial planning process is also vital if financial goals are to be achieved, such as repaying your mortgage, buying a holiday home, paying for school and university fees and being able to retire when you want to.

It is also important that you have sufficient funds for emergencies to provide for unexpected expenses, such as a job loss or long-term illness.

Clarity over your goals. Key to this is analysis based on your goals and desired future lifestyle.

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