Start with the end in mind

Start with the end in mind

I think it was Stephen Covey that coined the phrase “start with the end in mind”,  I’m sure others thought of it before, but he certainly used it successfully. When it comes to financial planning,  it is where most good financial planners begin.. but being British, it’s arguably one of our last taboos… how we think of death.

For many, the last year (2016) was full of high profile celebrity deaths. Hardly any of us actually knew these people, but we probably saw some of their work with varying degrees of impact.

At the end of the year Carrie Fisher died rather unexpectedly, followed 24 hours later by her grieving mother Debbie Reynolds. It was, and is, a poignant moment. One of the questions that I didn’t expect to ask myself was “what happened to the estate?” (as of now, I don’t know). If the estate was set up like most, the children are normally the beneficiaries… so I wondered what happened to Carrie’s estate which was then presumably a recipient of her mother’s – at least in part. An interesting case for the lawyers and an eager death duty office.

Lessons Learned from 2016?

Despite all the outpouring on social media and around dining tables about the sadness at the loss of X, Y or Z, there was no evidence that anyone prepared their own ending any more thoughtfully. There was no sudden demand for Wills or life assurance, or end of life plans.

According to ABI data, the UK is the fourth largest market for insurance. In 2015 129,000 families or individuals received a payment from protection products. Now I’m guessing that those that have some cover, probably have more than one policy. So there may be some doubling up with the data, but in any event the ONS reported 529,655 deaths for England and Wales in 2015 (up 5.6% on 2014 and the largest increase since 1968). So whilst clearly not everyone dies with dependents or liabilities, a significant number had no cover at all.

Most people do not have enough cover

Despite the warnings all around, that death eventually comes to us all, some much sooner than expected, most of us do not really give it too much thought. Its one of the easiest things to put off. Sadly I have seen the results of unexpected and early deaths and the impacts on families and whilst money would never replace a person, it would certainly have provided a very different future for the family left behind.

Don’t ignore the signs. Start with the end in mind.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Start with the end in mind2017-01-12T18:33:13+00:00

The 2016 Budget, rumour has it…

The 2016 Budget, rumour has it…

As you may have gathered, the 2016 Budget is to take place on 16th March 2016. As ever there is ample speculation about what it may contain. This Chancellor has generally managed to outfox the financial services industry with changes that were not expected.

That in mind, the current rumours are that the rate of tax relief applied to pension contributions is likely to be reduced. It is expected that this will hit higher rate taxpayers the most, perhaps introducing a single rate of tax, the rumours being 20%, 25% or 33%.

Truth and rumour are rarely the same thing. However if you are swayed by the media who will now be gearing up into a mild frenzy, then give some consideration to making a pension payment before the Budget, as Mr Osborne has had a habit of using dates to suit his own purposes, rather than those of convenience.

So consider this not advice, but more of a tip, that should things change and they do so on the day, you may wish to get a pension payment made before 16 March if you are a 40% or 45% taxpayer. Of course this needs to be done in the context of your financial planning, but remember that you can invest into cash within your pension, which could act as a “holding bucket” until you discuss a strategy with us.

As ever, our APP (which is free – so do tell others) will be updated following any changes announced.

Rumour has it...

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

The 2016 Budget, rumour has it…2017-01-06T14:39:19+00:00

Experience of a Lifetime

Experience of a lifetime

Well, here we are in December. The world remains in a state of anxiety about a plethora of challenges and even here in Britain, many are suffering from the weather conditions which make for a difficult Christmas.

Christmas reminds me of many things, the nagging feeling that Christmas seems to have arrived quickly and that time is moving along all too rapidly. Whilst many are struggling simply to find shelter this Christmas, much like the central characters in the nativity story, I am reminded how harsh life can be for many people and how quickly circumstances can change. 2015 has certainly had more than its share of crisis and disaster.

Whilst our media and deep mid-Winter are full of bleakness, I remain thankful that I live in the relative safety of Britain, despite all our problems. Yet I am also reminded that life is indeed short and there are still many places that I’d like to see and things I wish to “witness”. Apart from the usual trappings, the Christmas break is also an opportunity to reflect on the coming year, for many this will include planning your next holiday, perhaps one from your bucket list?

 

Trip of a Lifetime

One of my clients runs a boutique travel business and it occurred to me that there are a number of similarities in what we do. There are certainly lots of questions about where you want to go and importantly an independent mindset that is able to put together suitable great experience. What I had not appreciated was that it actually costs the same amount whether you use the expertise or not. I have certainly used the web to book holidays in the past, spending hours, trawling through endless options, but simply had not appreciated that someone else could do this for me, an expert, and it wouldn’t cost any more!

Mercator Travel have several brands which they use to focus their expertise on specific regions of the world. For example, south or central America is currently a great destination for those seeking something memorable and rather different. If you are anything like me, I have forgotten what I gave and received last Christmas, yet I never forget holiday experiences.

As a boutique business, they place great emphasis on creating a wonderful experience and getting all the little details right. Apart from ensuring that your trip is planned perfectly, the business is built around providing a top drawer service, with the aim, like every good business of creating a great reputation and clients that return. So if you are considering a great trip in 2016 may I suggest that you check out a couple of their websites.

Just in case you think there’s something in it for me – there isn’t. I am interested in helping all of  our clients, profiling those that run small independent businesses and of course those wishing to get more from life with a lot less hassle. Do give them a call on 01932 424252.

Postcards from the Edge…

Financial planning isn’t meant to be dull, its about your life and helping you to figure out what you want from it. This is often difficult for most people to verbalise, there’s something within our British-ness that makes most of us reluctant to express this. How you spend and give your money is one of our freedoms and invariably for the vast majority there is often an unspoken connection of shared experiences and a sense of purpose just beneath the surface. There is little point in building up wealth if you don’t get to use it.

One of my peers shared an idea with me that he finds works well with his clients. He asks them to send him a postcard from wherever they have been. He displays these in a book in his reception. The idea being that there is a huge variety of clients and the places they visit yet all share the freedom to enjoy some of the money that they have worked hard to save. He gets lots saying “enjoying spending the inheritance… pension” or whatever. The point being that financial planning when done well brings the freedom to make empowered financial decisions – many of them are a lot of fun. So perhaps I will ask you to do this in 2016 as well.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Experience of a Lifetime2017-01-06T14:39:21+00:00

Short-Listed for 2016 Professional Adviser Awards

Short-listed for 2016 Professional Adviser Awards

I am delighted to report that we have been short-listed again in the category of “Firm of the Year for London” for the Professional Adviser Awards 2016. We now have a hat-trick of finalist appearances for the Professional Adviser awards. Like most award ceremonies, we don’t find out who wins until the winner is announced, but frankly for a firm of our size, I am honoured to be short-listed.

It’s usually a good evening out, mixing with some of the top firms in the UK. One of the most unexpected pleasures about my work is the relationships with other advisers. Many of us share best pratice ideas at a level that is rare in most fields… admittedly we all have a vested interest, we all want to do our best for our clients and we also appreciate that it is in everyone’s interest to have a better educated, better advised, better serviced UK market, leading to more people being financially independent and less reliant upon the State.  Better advice means fewer complaints and reduced need for redress and hopefully lower regulatory fees.

The ceremony takes place on 11th February 2016.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Short-Listed for 2016 Professional Adviser Awards2017-01-06T14:39:22+00:00
Go to Top