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Invest your way out of inflation

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

invest your way out of inflationWhy now is the time to make sure you protect your wealth.

The word ‘inflation’ had barely featured in the market’s vocabulary in the last three decades until it suddenly started to come back with a vengeance in 2021. As higher inflation looks set to persist in 2022, finding ways to generate a return on investments greater than inflation will be a key investment theme – otherwise your wealth falls in real terms.

Spending spree

There are two basic reasons why inflation has been increasing: supply and demand.

Starting with the latter, consumers have been on a spending spree after having spent a large proportion of time during 2020 and 2021 at home bingeing on Netflix.

The main reason for the current rise is due to the global price of energy. This has meant higher energy and transport bills for businesses, many of whom pass on the extra costs to their customers. Supply problems and higher shipping costs are also continuing to have an impact on businesses.

Healthy economy

Central banks kept saying that inflation was ‘transitory’, but this now seems to have been replaced by the word ‘persistent’. The result is that inflation will remain high on the economic agenda in 2022.

Inflation is a measure of how much prices have gone up over time. It’s the rate at which cash becomes less valuable – £1 this year will get you further than £1 next year. It tends to be a good sign in a healthy economy, but too much of it can be hard to reel in and control.

Boe forecast

The Bank of England (BoE)[1] expects inflation to reach over 7% by spring 2022 and then start to come down after that. That’s because most of the causes of the current high rate of inflation won’t last. It’s unlikely that the prices of energy and imported goods will continue to rise as rapidly as they have done recently. And this means that inflation will eventually decline.

The BoE forecasts the rate to be much closer to their 2% target in two years’ time. But even though the rate of inflation will slow down, the prices of some things may stay at a high level compared with the past.

Purchasing power

Beating inflation means earning higher returns from an investment than the inflation rate in the economy. If your return on investment is less than the inflation rate, this could basically nullify the returns you have earned. Due to various reasons, the purchasing power of money decreases significantly every year.

Investing with inflation in mind is essential for protecting your current and future wealth and involves choosing assets that naturally keep pace with rising prices. These mostly include either real, tangible assets, or investments that pay a variable rate and appreciate or increase over time.

Looking for a better chance of beating inflation over the long term?

If you’ve already got an emergency fund, or have excess cash in the bank, it may be time to consider investing some of it to protect your wealth from inflation. Investing some of your money may give you a better chance of beating inflation over the long term. To discuss your options, please contact us.

For more information on considering risk, download our brochure.

Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change. The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Source data: [1] https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/will-inflation-in-the-uk-keep-rising

Improving your financial health

560 315 Jess Easby

Staying on track to achieving specific financial goals

All of your financial decisions and activities have an effect on your financial health. To help improve your financial health during this period of rising inflation rates and household costs, we look at three areas that could help keep you on track to achieving your specific financial goals.

Beat the national insurance rise

The National Insurance rise from April this year has gone ahead for workers and employers despite pressure to reverse the decision to increase this by 1.25%, which is aimed at raising £39 billion for the Treasury. From April 2023, it is set to revert back to its current rate, and a 1.25% health and social care levy will be applied to raise funds for further improvements to care services.

One way to beat the National Insurance increase is by taking advantage of salary sacrifice, which means you and your employer pay less National Insurance contributions. Some employers may decide to maximise the amount of pension contributions by adding the savings they make in lower employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) to the total pension contribution amount they pay. This is also a way to make your pension savings more tax-efficient. If you choose to take up a salary sacrifice scheme option, you and your employer will agree to reduce your salary, and your employer will then pay the difference into your pension, along with their contributions to the scheme. As you are effectively earning a lower salary, both you and your employer pay lower NICs, which could mean your take-home pay will be higher. Better still, your employer might pay part or all of their NICs saving into your pension too (although they don’t have to do this).

Review your savings

Accounts and rates

Money held in savings accounts hasn’t grown much in recent years due to historically low interest rates. But with inflation running higher, your savings are now at risk of losing value in ‘real’ terms as you will be able to buy less with your money.

In some respects, inflation can be seen as a positive. It’s a sign of strong economic recovery post-COVID, increasing salaries and higher consumer spending. But it’s bad news for your cash savings. Relying solely or overly on cash might prevent you from achieving your long-term financial goals, which may only be possible if you accept some level of investment risk.

In an environment where the cost of living is rising faster than the interest rates received on cash, there is a danger that your savings will slowly become worth less and less, leaving you in a worse position later on. If you have money in savings, it is important to keep an eye on interest rates and where your money is saved. Rates are low and you will lose money in real terms if inflation is higher than the interest rate offered on your savings account or Cash ISA.

Shift longer term savings into equities

During times of high inflation, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. For example, if your investment goals are short term, you may not need to worry much about how inflation is impacting your money. But if you’re investing for the long term, inflation can have a larger impact on your portfolio if it’s sustained – although high inflation that only lasts for a short period may end up just being a blip on your investment journey.

If you have large amounts of money sitting in cash accounts one way to beat inflation is to invest some of your money in a long-term asset that will appreciate with time, thus increasing your buying power over time. There are many ways to invest your money, but most strategies revolve around one of two categories: growth investments and income investments.

Historically, equities have offered an effective way to outperform inflation. Cyclical stocks – like financials, energy and resources companies – are especially well-suited to benefit from rising prices. These sectors typically perform better when the economy is doing well, or recovering from a crisis. Depositing funds into your investment portfolio on a regular basis (such as monthly from salary) can help you invest at different prices, averaging out the overall price at which you get into the market. Known as pound-cost averaging, this can help you smooth out any fluctuations caused by market volatility over the long term. While volatility will always exist, it can be managed and reduced by taking this approach.

Would you like advice on how to improve your financial health? Speak to us to find out how we can help.

Guide to the final countdown

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Time to review your financial plans with a financial check-up? 

If you are aiming to retire within the next five years, it’s time to get into the mindset of considering the practicalities of fulfilling your desired lifestyle and making plans. While you should think about retirement planning as early as possible, the five years leading up to retirement are critical. 

Retirement may be looming with terrifying urgency, and the reality is that you have just 60 pay packets left until you retire. This is a time when you’ll need to obtain up-to-date pension forecasts and obtain professional financial advice to make sure your retirement plans are on track. So, if you believe you are five years or less away from retirement, now is the time to seriously review your financial plans with a financial check-up.

What are the key things to concentrate on?

 The first step is to ask yourself if you are actually ready to retire. There are many factors to consider. Your financial affairs are the big factor to begin with. Your ability to afford retirement depends on your lifestyle, your family situation and home ownership. If you have dependent children, or have 15 years left on your mortgage, the time might not be quite right. You have to ensure retirement is the right move for you. Work can be stressful, but it can be rewarding and give you a sense of achievement. People may miss the routine of working life and the day-to-day interaction with people. 

Taking a different path

What you need might not be retirement, it could be change. A chance to get out from behind your desk to do something meaningful. Perhaps retirement is your ticket to achieving this – taking a different path where money is no longer the prime motivation. 

If you are afraid about having time on your hands after retirement, explore options for filling it well before you take the leap. 

Major change in lifestyle  

Retirement means a major change in lifestyle. You need a clear mind as to what you want your life to look like and how to spend your time. Then you can work on arranging your finances to suit. 

Decide on your priorities for retired life. Do you want to travel, or split your time between home and somewhere hot and exotic? Is there a particular hobby you want to immerse yourself in? What kind of leisure and social activities matter to you? 

Later years in your retirement

Try not to get caught up in what happens right after you end work – also consider the later years in your retirement. Will long-term travel continue to be feasible as you get older? Will you need such a large house, or will it become a burden? And what about in the latter stages of life? Would you need to fund care?  

You must also have a clear picture of what kind of life you would like to lead in retirement and what it will cost. Then you can start to dig a little deeper into what you might be able to afford. This means getting to grips with your sources of income once your earnings stop. 

Request up-to-date forecasts

Your first port of call is your pension – or pensions. Contact previous pension trustees to request up-to-date forecasts. If you’ve lost details of a pension scheme and need help, the Pension Tracing Service (0800 731 0193) may be able to assist you.  

You should also find out what your likely State Pension entitlement would be – you can do this by completing a BR19 form or by visiting www.direct.gov.uk. 

Consolidate existing pensions

If you have personal pensions, you need to find out where they are invested and how they have performed. Also check if there are any valuable guarantees built into the contracts. It may make sense to consolidate existing pensions, making it easier for y ou to keep track of everything and reduce the amount of correspondence you receive.  

With investments in general, it is important to review your strategy before you take the leap into retirement. You don’t need to suddenly become an ultra-conservative investor – you still want your portfolio to grow over the next few decades. Should the investment markets make a correction, you may want to limit your downside. Don’t forget, there may be another 30 years ahead. 

Don’t put off confronting the truth

If your investments don’t look on course to give you the income you’d hoped for in retirement, don’t put off confronting the truth. You may need to revise your projected living costs. Alternatively, there’s still time to change your investments, and you could also cut back on spending while you are still earning to generate more savings.  

Your income can be used in other ways besides topping up your savings as you prepare for retirement. Clearing debts, including your mortgage, should be a priority before you retire. Whatever you owe on credit cards and loans, focus on paying off the debt that charges the most interest first. Debt will be the biggest burden once you do not have a regular working income. 

Consider re-adjusting your finances

Having no mortgage to pay is a major step towards re-adjusting your finances for a post-salary life. You might also decide you want to sell up, whether to downsize, to give you a lump sum of cash to live off, or to fund your dreams of moving abroad. Either way, use your working income while you can to improve your home, maximising potential revenue when you come to sell it.  

Finally, retirement is a huge change, both personally and financially – so big it might be too much to take in all at once. It makes good sense to practice at being retired before it becomes a reality, especially if you will have to make certain adjustments and sacrifices to compensate for a reduced income. You might even consider a phased retirement, cutting back on your hours gradually. This will not only soften the financial effect, but it will also get you used to having more spare time to fill. 

Are you planning to enjoy your retirement?

One of the most important stages in life which everybody has to save for is retirement. You work hard to enjoy your current lifestyle, but are you doing enough to ensure that you can continue to enjoy it in your retirement?

If you would like to review your situation or arrange a meeting to discuss your retirement planning options, please contact us for further information – we look forward to hearing from you.