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Monthly Archives :

February 2020

Setting Financial Goals

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

How to create financial goals you can actually achieve.

Taking control of our financial life requires planning, and that starts with setting financial goals. Setting short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals is an important step towards becoming financially secure and independent.

We all have different financial goals and aspirations in life. Yet often, these goals can seem out of reach. In today’s complex financial environment, achieving our financial goals may not be that straightforward. This is where financial planning is essential to help secure your financial future.

A financial plan seeks to identify your financial goals, prioritise them, and then outline the exact steps that you need to take to achieve your goals. Figuring out your objectives and matching them with timelines are the keys to setting financial goals. Your financial goals are specific and unique to a number of factors related to you, like your age, your interests, current financial situation and your aspirations. Based on these, you need to develop your goals and establish a plan to achieve them.

If your New Year’s resolutions include giving your financial plans an overhaul, here are our financial planning tips to help you create a robust financial plan for 2020 and beyond.

Be specific about your objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true when setting financial goals.

It is often said that saving and investing is nothing more than deferred consumption. Therefore, you need to be crystal clear about why you are doing what you’re doing. This could be planning for your children’s education, your retirement, that dream holiday, or a property purchase.

Once the objective is clear, it’s important to put a monetary value to that goal and the time frame you want to achieve it by. The important point is to list all of your goal objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to them.

Keep them realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person, but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, being overly unrealistic can definitely impact on your chances of achieving them.

It’s important to keep your goals realistic as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout your journey until you get to your destination.

Short, medium and long-term

Now you need to plan for where you want to get to, which will likely involve looking at how much you need to save and invest to achieve your goals. The approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same, which is why you need to divide your goals into short, medium and long-term time horizons.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal which is due within a five-year period should be considered short-term. Medium-term goals are typically based on a five-year to ten-year time horizon, and over ten years, these goals are classed as long-term.

This division of goals into short, medium and long-term will help in choosing the right savings and investments approach to help you achieve them, and it will also make them crystal clear. This will involve looking at what large purchases you expect to make such as purchasing property or renovating your home, as well as considering the later stages of your life and when you’ll eventually retire.

Always account for inflation

It’s often said that inflation is taxation without legislation. Therefore, you need to account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial goal that is far away in the future. It’s important to know the inflation rate when you’re thinking about saving and investing, since it will make a big difference to whether or not you make a profit in real terms (after inflation).

In both 2008 and 2011, inflation climbed to over 5% – not good news for savers – so always account for inflation. You could use the ‘Rule of 72’ to determine, at a given inflation rate, how long it will take for your money to buy half of what it can by today. The rule of 72 is a method used in finance to quickly estimate the doubling or halving time through compound interest or inflation respectively. Simply divide 72 by the number of years to get the approximate interest rate you’d need to earn for your money to double during that time.

Risk protection plays a vital role

Its best to discuss your goals with those you’re closest to and make plans together so that you are well aligned. An evaluation of your assets, liabilities, incomings and outgoings will provide you with a starting point. You’ll be able to see clearly how you’re doing and may find areas you can improve on.

Risk protection plays a vital role in any financial plan as it helps protect you and your family from unexpected events. Make sure you have put in place a Will to protect your family, and think about how your family would manage without your income should you fall ill or die prematurely.

Check you’re using all of your tax allowances

With tax rules subject to constant change, it’s essential that you regularly review your own and your family’s tax affairs and plan accordingly. Tax planning affects all facets of your financial affairs. You may be worried about the impact that rises in property values are having on gifts or Inheritance Tax, how best to dispose of shares in a business, or the most efficient way to pass on your estate.

Utilising your tax allowances and reliefs is an effective way of reducing your tax liability and making considerable savings over a lifetime. When it comes to taxes, there’s one certainty – you’ll pay more tax than you need to unless you plan. The UK tax system is complex, and its legislation often changes. So it’s more important than ever to be tax-efficient, particularly if you are in the top tax bracket – making sure you don’t pay any more tax than necessary.

Creating your comprehensive financial plan

Creating and implementing a comprehensive financial plan will help you develop a clear picture of your current financial situation by reviewing your income, assets and liabilities. Other elements to consider will typically include putting in place a Will to protect your family, thinking about how your family will manage without your income should you fall ill or die prematurely, or creating a more efficient tax strategy.

Identifying your retirement freedom options

Retirement is a time that many look forward to, where your hard-earned money should support you as you transition to the next stage of life. The number of options available at retirement has increased with changes to legislation, which has brought about pension freedoms over the years. The decisions you make regarding how you take your benefits may include tax-free cash, buying an annuity, drawing an income from your savings rather than pension fund, or a combination.

Beginning your retirement planning early gives you the best chance of making sure you have adequate funds to support your lifestyle. You may have several pension pots with different employers, as well as your own savings to withdraw from.

Monitoring and reviewing your financial plan

There is little point in setting goals and never returning to them. You should expect to make iterations as life changes. Set a formal yearly review at the very least to check you are on track to meeting your goals.

We will help you to monitor your plan, making adjustments as your goals, time frames or circumstances change. Discussing your goals with us will be highly beneficial as we can provide an objective third-party view, as well as the expertise to help advise you with financial planning issues.

Finally, make sure your financial goals are SMART

This is a great way to set a variety of goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Related.

Advice every step of the way

Setting financial goals marks the beginning of the financial planning process to help you achieve the objectives at various life stages. Goal-setting gives meaning and direction to the various financial decisions you will take during your lifetime. The start of a new year is the perfect time to review your financial strength, assess your budget and make plans for the future. To arrange a meeting, or for further information, please contact us.

Wealth transfer and the next generation

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

How to secure your family’s financial future.

We spend a lifetime generating wealth and assets but not many of us ensure that it will be passed to the next generation – our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and so on. Intergenerational wealth transfer is the passage of wealth from one family generation to the next.

It’s becoming increasingly important for more people to consider succession planning and intergenerational wealth transfer as part of their financial planning strategy. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, we’re on the brink of a vast shift in assets, unlike any that we have seen before.

Wealth transfers

By 2027, it is expected that wealth transfers will nearly double from the current level of £69 billion, to £115 billion[1], coined as ‘the Great Wealth Transfer’ of the 21st century.

Intergenerational wealth transfer can be a huge issue for all family members concerned. If done well and executed properly, it can make a real difference to the financial position of the recipients. If misjudged or poorly handled, it can cause enormous issues, conflicts and resentments that are never forgotten nor forgiven.

Financial implications

One aspect that hasn’t been widely considered is the impact on other family members, and in particular children, as their parents think about selling their business or retiring from their career, perhaps selling their family home, and starting life in retirement.

It is important that children are prepared to deal with this process, not least so they are aware of the financial implications and how they may be affected. For instance, children may be expecting to receive a certain amount of money from their parents – particularly those who are selling a business – and end up disappointed. Conversely, they may not be expecting to receive anything, and are therefore not equipped to deal with a windfall.

Contributory factors

According to the King’s Court Trust, £5.5 trillion will move hands in the United Kingdom between now and 2055, with this move set to peak in 2035[2]. Why? Well, there are a number of contributory factors that account for this. The two main reasons are increased net worth and rising mortality rates.

For those approaching, or in, retirement, it’s important to have frank and open conversations with children about expectations and also whether children have the knowledge and understanding to manage financial matters.

Approaching retirement

This is not an easy exercise, as you may not want to discuss your financial affairs with your children. You may find your children’s eyes are opened when they see what their parents have been able to achieve financially. They may even want to know how they can do that themselves and change their own habits.

Everyone works hard to provide for their family, and perhaps even leave them a legacy. However, parents approaching retirement shouldn’t feel that their family is solely reliant on them, or that they need to be responsible for their children’s financial situation.

Expressing wishes

A good approach is to help your children establish their own strong financial footing and be ready for intergenerational wealth transfer. For instance, introducing them to your professional advisers can provide comfort that there is someone they can go to for advice.

Having open conversations with your children and expressing wishes and goals will also ensure that your family are all on the same page, which can help reduce potential conflict later when managing intergenerational wealth transfer. These are some questions you should answer as part of your intergenerational wealth transfer plans:

  • When did wealth enter my life and how do I think this timing influences my values and family relationships?
  • What impact does affluence have on my life and the lives of my next generation?
  • What was the key to my success in creating wealth and how might telling this story to my future generation be helpful?
  • What is my biggest concern in raising my children or grandchildren with affluence?
  • What conversations (if any) did I have with my own parents about money and wealth growing up?
  • How did my parents prepare me to receive wealth?
  • What lessons did I learn from my parents about money and finance that I would like to pass on to my heirs?
  • What family values would I like to pass down to the next generation and how do I plan on communicating this family legacy?
  • What concerns do I have about my adult children when it comes to inheriting and managing the family wealth?
  • How can I help prepare my beneficiaries to receive wealth and carry on our family legacy?

Between generations

Despite the vast amount of wealth likely to be passed down between generations, those in line for inheritance could end up being over-reliant on their expected windfall. The key will be to ensure younger generations are able to get involved and understand how to handle the wealth they will be inheriting, as well as being able to make good decisions about the wealth that they generate themselves.

You need to consider who will receive what and whether you want to pass your wealth during your lifetime or on death. These decisions then need to be balanced by the tax implications of any proposed planning. This is especially important at what can be a highly stressful time. By making advanced preparations, the burden of filing complicated Inheritance Tax returns can be reduced. It’s worth noting that UK Inheritance Tax receipts exceed £3bn from 17,900 estates[3].

Source data:
[1] Kings Court trust, ‘Passing on the Pounds – The rise of the UK’s inheritance economy’.
[2] Resolution Foundation, Intergenerational Commission. ‘The Million dollar be-question’.
[3] Prudential 2019.