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The benefits of financial planning are usually clear as day for those who have gone through the process.
But for those that never have? It can seem intimidating, opaque, and expensive.
So, how does it all work? What are the actual, tangible benefits of financial planning? And what does the process look like?
Think about the day when you finally hang up your boots and stop working. Perhaps you have a date in your head for when you’d like that to be. Maybe you’ve sat down with a spreadsheet, crunched the numbers, and have a rough idea of how much you need saved to get there.
Well, now imagine getting there and realising you could have reached that day 5 years earlier. Or even 10.
Or perhaps you could have been much less frugal during your working years while still reaching a comfortable retirement. Or maybe you’re way off target, and needed to save more tax-efficiently throughout your career to make it work.
If only you’d had a clear picture of what you had, and exactly how far that would go in retirement.
Good financial planning is about making sure that doesn’t happen. It’s about making sure you’re on track to get the most out of your retirement, without sacrificing the now.
And on the other side of the hill, when you’re in retirement, it’s about having the peace of mind that your plan is in place, so you don’t have to worry about money. Regardless of how much you have.
It means not worrying about:
If that still sounds vague and intangible, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of financial planning, and then onto how we actually do it.
Financial planning looks different for everyone, because everybody’s financial situation and goals are different. However, financial planning is usually made up of some combination of the below – the ones that fit your needs and preferences.
A visualisation of your cash flow up to and into retirement, with ‘what if’ scenario modeling. This paints a picture of where you’re going to be at retirement, and what changes you may need to make now to improve things.
If you have multiple SIPPs and pensions, we can provide strategic advice on consolidating these into a unified plan, streamlining management, and optimising investment strategies for greater efficiency and clarity.
Tailored investment advice to align your pensions and other investments with your risk tolerance, diversification needs, and long-term financial objectives.
Specialised strategies to optimise tax benefits for your pension contributions, ensuring you’re getting the most out of your available tax relief.
Expert advice on pension drawdown strategies, focusing on tax efficiency and determining sustainable withdrawal rates to align with your lifestyle and financial goals.
Guidance on how to utilise the tax-free cash from your pension efficiently, ensuring you maximise this benefit while considering your overall retirement strategy.
Expertise in handling SIPPs acquired through divorce settlements, offering strategic advice to secure and manage these assets effectively within your retirement plan.
We can help structure your assets to facilitate smoother inheritance and minimise tax liabilities for beneficiaries – ensuring your wealth is distributed in line with your wishes.
We can provide ongoing monitoring and periodic reviews of investment portfolios within SIPPs, ensuring they remain aligned with your evolving financial objectives and market conditions.
Guidance on planning for potential long-term care needs during retirement, including considerations for care costs, insurance, and asset protection strategies.
“So, what’s the process?”
We usually start with a quick telephone or video call with an adviser as a chance for both of us to understand whether we’re a good fit.
It’s just a first conversation to generally get an idea of whether financial planning is right for you, and what that might look like.
This will be with our partners, Lab Financial Planning, who are the FCA-regulated financial advisers behind our service.
You can book in with us here.
Next, we’ll arrange an initial meeting to get a better understanding of your specific circumstances and chat through what our services would look like in more detail.
We’ll do this via telephone, video call or in person. And again, it’s at no charge to you.
We’ll then outline in writing how we propose to work together, the initial costs and, if applicable, the ongoing costs.
If, following this meeting, you don’t think we’re the right company for you, that’s fine! We will go our separate ways and you’ll have hopefully learned something about your financial situation during the process. And if you do want to proceed, it’s from this point that we’ll charge for the work we do.
We charge a fixed fee to create and present you with your very own financial plan.
We’re not paid by product providers, which is good for you and us, as it means we’re not tied to their products and can stay completely independent. We know from experience that this leads to better outcomes for you.
If we are the right fit to work together, we expect to add significant value to many aspects of your financial planning and overall financial well-being. Some aspects you can see, such as investment returns and tax savings, and some you can’t, such as peace of mind and clarity for your future.
Your financial plan is designed to show your money over the long term: it highlights what aspects are on track to achieve your goals, and where you may need to change things to ensure you get there.
We often need to obtain information from other companies, such as your pension, investment or life insurance providers, and also some more information from you. We’ll also ask to you to complete a risk assessment to understand what level of investment risk you are comfortable with.
Once we have all of this information, we’ll meet again to show you your lifetime cashflow projection. We’ll go through it together, along with any advice we have for you.
This is often the “aha” moment for our clients. The part where everything clicks, both in terms of your financial future and what that’s going to look like, and how we can help get you there.
Following the meeting, we’ll send you your financial plan as a document, which includes key snippets from your lifetime cashflow projection, accompanied by commentary and notes to explain what’s shown and ways you can improve your position.
We charge a fixed fee for this, and charge half of this upfront before starting work, and half after you receive your financial plan. We’ll always discuss and agree on this fee prior to commencing any work for you.
A note on regulation:
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate certain aspects of cashflow planning (your financial plan), estate planning, tax planning or trust advice.
It does however regulate all product and investment recommendations we make, which are the services outlined below.
During your Planning Meeting we’ll have recommendations for how you can improve your position.
An example could be to save more into your pension for retirement – perhaps with the use of your previous years’ carry forward allowance. Or, it could be to increase your pension withdrawals to better suit your lifestyle, as you’re in a financially secure position to do so.
There are a range of things we may recommend. But whatever they are, we will provide clear recommendations in that meeting and explain why we’re recommending them. We can also provide these recommendations formally to you in a follow-up recommendation report.
If you agree with our recommendations and want to implement them, we will help you do this and charge an implementation and advice fee.
Our ongoing service provides you with:
A few points concerning ongoing advice fees.
Your bespoke ongoing advice service fees will be estimated and agreed upon at the outset.
As your funds grow and the value of your investment increases, so will the charge applicable.
Our services are not contractual and can be cancelled by either party without prejudice.
The Covid pandemic had exacerbated an ongoing issue at work for our client – he was being bullied by the head of the department at the school he taught in. And despite having a passion for the subject, he’d lost the spark for his job, and simply didn’t want to do it anymore.
He and his partner had always believed he would work until age 60 – it was simply the plan they had, and they were sticking to it. This was until they contacted their Financial Planner, Jamie, for a sense-check on their strategy.
After a reassessment of their pensions and broader finances, along with some detailed cash flow modelling, Jamie was able to demonstrate that they could actually afford to retire now, and showed them how this would work in practice, step by step.
Having never considered it possible before, the realisation was stark and emotional. It brought our client to tears, and by the end of the next week he had handed in his notice.
In the meantime, Jamie put in place a clear retirement income plan to replace his salary and ensure the transition into retirement was as smooth as could be financially.
“It’s a case that clearly demonstrates the value of financial planning – especially when coming up to retirement. It’s so difficult to really understand what you’ve got, how long that could last, and what your retirement could look like, that most of us either play it far too safe, or get reckless in our ignorance.
Our financial planning service not only crunches the numbers – it also utilises technology to help you truly visualise your retirement options so you can make a truly informed decision about your future.”
– Jamie Flook CFP
Thank you, you’ve really helped me simplify my finances. I am happy I am on track and in good hands.
Jamie has helped us with our financial planning for eight years now as we moved into retirement. We have always stayed with Jamie as his career developed.
He has skilfully planned our pensions and investments to meet our values, risk and life goals. We value his independence in providing the best solutions for us and he has earned our trust.
Best of all is how friendly, personable and understanding Jamie is in simplifying the complex.
Like life, money can get complicated.
We excel at organising and simplifying your financial affairs, enabling you to get on with life, safe in the knowledge that your money is being looked after and you understand what it’s doing.