When things around us begin to collapse, there is an undeniable sense that screams within us to “do something!” (I’m sure it’s not just me). The global stock markets taking a battering are not good for our nerves (we were not designed for this). The temptation to do something, anything! is palpable… but you have me and all proper financial planners telling you that selling in a crisis is just about the worst thing you could do. These things happen, they come they go, they happen again. This does not placate any of our feelings, but it may help remind us of truths.
However, we are still left with the feeling about wanting to do something, even if that is not to mess with your portfolio. So here I have compiled a list of things to do. It is not exhaustive, some are more important than others, but I would urge you to consider them, particularly if you are feeling reasonably well, but having to self-isolate, or have chosen to do so.
YOUR TO DO LIST
DON’T PANIC: The first thing is not to panic, whilst this version of calamity has not happened before, something very similar has. Disasters have a lot in common, they are fairly regular and prone to repeat without much warning.
TAKE STOCK: This is a good opportunity to review your cash savings. You will remember that we have talked about having reserve cash funds of anything between 3-12 months of typical spending, more in some instances. See our video. Well this is the moment that those reserves may need to be called upon. Also remember that you should try to limit cash savings at any one bank to £85,000 for full FSCS protection. Let me know if you want more about this.
CHECK YOUR PRIORITIES: We all know that plans are well intended, but life has a habit of getting in the way. That doesn’t mean that the plan is wrong or doomed, merely that some flexibility is probably required. So your plans may need to be adjusted, reconsidered, reviewed, postponed, delayed or cancelled, depending on your circumstances and what is wise for you.
REVIEW YOUR BUDGET: You should also take this opportunity to review your regular outgoings. Have another look at your spending plan. What is important and essential, what is nice to have and what is superfluous. Let me be clear, with some luck and good leadership, the current crisis may be over within a few weeks or months, but it could drag on for a bit longer. Stopping your subscriptions to things you enjoy and use may not be sensible, unless you don’t benefit from having them.
LIVE GENEROUSLY: I am a great believer in small businesses, so think about the impact of your financial choices on those within your local community and our wider one. If you have booked and paid for something and now plan to cancel, yes that might be sensible, but you have a choice about whether you simply treat the money as gone, perhaps to someone that needs it more. I’m not suggesting you should, but to merely raise the fact that you have a choice.
HOPE FOR THE BEST, PLAN FOR THE WORST: The current coronavirus is not going to be a “walk in the park”. If statistics are correct the fatality rate is higher than the normal flu, particularly for those with pre-existing serious health and respiratory problems, but we expect the vast majority of people to survive. We all hope that we will all survive whatever is coming down the road, but some will not. Yes, this is very morbid. However, I am assuming that one of the reasons that I am in your life is so that I do not ignore the difficult challenges to do with money and your financial wellbeing. My job is not to sweet talk you with nice words, but to provide a responsible truthful voice, at least as far as I see it. You need to ensure that your Will is up to date, that your Executors know what their responsibilities are, that protection policies provide ample cover. You should also consider Power of Attorney so that someone you trust can take financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot. Need help? get in touch.
COMMUNICATE – GET IN TOUCH: You also need to ensure that the relevant people know where your important documents are. Why not put a copy on our portal too – see www.solomonsifa.co.uk/pfp for more.
REFLECT & REMEMBER: If you find yourself having to “self-isolate” why not take the time to finally get around to writing up a brief version of your life-story. I hope that this will have the effect of reminding you of many good experiences in life and happy memories and provide space to reflect on who and what is important. Add photographs, then get to work on creating a book using a bit of software within Apple or Vistaprint or something similar, get it printed, get it done. If you would like a useful template email me.
CHECK IN ABOUT YOUR LONG-TERM PLANS: In terms of your financial planning – I’m working on the assumption that your plans have not altered. If they have get in touch. It is possible that some may need to be adjusted, but I doubt that this is a wise time to do that. Your investments remain globally diversified, across various asset classes and low cost where possible. We have seen the value fall sharply before and we will see it again, but there is no need to panic. In the same way that you didn’t sell your home during the last property crash, you sat it out.
REVIEW YOUR BUCKET LIST: Appreciating the precarious and fragility of life will hopefully bring to mind some things that you would like to experience – have a think and let me know if anything new should be added to your bucket list, they dont have to have a financial price tag, but at least when we next review your plans together we can check to see how you are getting along…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT