Financial Planning – Tips for the future

As I said last month I have seen a definite increase over the past couple of years of people taking stock of their personal and financial arrangements. People’s circumstances have changed; sometimes through choice, sometimes not. There has undoubtedly been a great deal of soul searching, people have reflected on their futures, some have made changes and many have identified priorities and asked for my help in making them happen.

It’s interesting to me that in the past this ‘taking stock’ has often occurred around the beginning of a new year, or after a milestone birthday, but 2020 and 2021 was quite different. It felt to me that people had much greater clarity about their objectives and rather than procrastinate on them, they have taken decisive action. At the heart of what I do, sits peoples life events. You can’t help people financially, without first understanding the person. It might be identifying why they are losing sleep, what’s making them worry. Sometimes, simply quantifying this ‘worry’ with people (using cashflow modelling), provides enormous help as they realise that the reality is not as bad as they thought. I’ve often said, we are told we live from one crises to another, but often key elements of our futures are still within our own control. Sometimes however the reverse is true and people have much greater risk in their arrangements than they realised, a case where the reality needs corrective action. More a case of blissful ignorance to risk, perhaps.

Often I am spending time with people looking forward. Helping people plan for the futures, helping them achieve their objectives and these might be over the coming year or two or as often the case around retirement planning, much longer term. One area of advice that has changed for me over the past decade or more as pension freedoms became a reality, is helping people while they are in those retirement years. Quite often the objectives people have in retirement change, particularly in the early years and I have always said, the ceasing of work is a significant life event and taking a year or two to work out where priorities are, is no bad thing. Flexibility of assets is key in these cases.

So, taking all this into account as we progress into 2022 , if you haven’t been ‘taking stock’ over the past year or two maybe now is the time to:

REVIEW – your debt levels, existing expenditure, existing arrangements, tax efficiency of your arrangements and making sure you are using the tax reliefs available to each and every one of us.
PROTECT – recognise the importance of an emergency fund, what would happen to your income, capital and tax position in the event of illness, or events outside your control, or to your dependents in the event of your death.
PLAN – Putting a plan of action together to give you the best chance to achieve your objectives, reducing costs, maximising growth, being tax efficient.
IMPLEMENT and REVIEW – Naturally a plan has to be actioned, but then of course reviewed to accommodate changes over time both personal and financial.

This is a typical process I go through with all financial planning clients and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.

Finally, a note to Bristol Nine readers. I have been writing a monthly editorial for 10 years now, and have decided to take a break from doing so. I hope in amongst some 100 articles there have been one or two helpful suggestions to readers. Grosvenor Consultancy Ltd. continues to go from strength to strength and if in the future you feel you may want assistance with your personal or business financial planning, then either Ben Olson or I would be delighted to hear from you.

I wish you all well,

Author: Phil James, Grosvenor Consultancy Ltd

Please be aware that the above does not constitute financial advice. We recommend that you consider your existing investments, pensions and financial arrangements and then take advice.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using all of these strategies and they depend on individual circumstances so don’t take action without seeking competent advice. Tax rules, rates and allowances are all subject to change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice and some forms of offshore investments. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount you invested.

Comments are closed.