The World In A Week - Beware Greeks Bearing Letters

Written by Cormac Nevin.

Last week markets had a placid start, until Friday, when fears about the discovery of what was dubbed the “Omicron variant” of COVID-19 descended upon markets like a flock of thanksgiving turkeys.  The MSCI All Country World Index of global equities dropped -2.4% in GBP terms on Friday, to end the week down -1.9%.  Global Bonds, as measured by the Blomberg Global Aggregate Index, were up +0.1% GBP Hedged.

Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet and, in a delicious irony, the sharp market selloff on Friday was exacerbated by the third letter of the Greek alphabet; Gamma. This is used to describe the phenomenon resulting from the widespread use of options to make highly leveraged bets on single stock names, particularly by retail traders on platforms like Robinhood.  This causes a feedback loop whereby selling begets more selling by dealers and can result in sharp plunges like that which we have witnessed. The US Equity market is currently dominated by this activity, which explains much of the parabolic upside moves in names like Tesla and gives us slight cause for concern about having too much exposure to US Equities.

Events such as last Friday reinforce our conviction in our neutral equity positioning and diversified approach.  MSCI Japan was down only -0.2% on Friday, as European and US markets sank – illustrating the opportunities various markets provide.  While it is likely too early to say for sure, the Omicron selloff appears to be reversing.  Countries are much better equipped to deal with new variants of COVID-19 than they were in the first wave, illustrated by the UK’s quick closure of travel from Southern Africa.  In addition, companies like Moderna are already using their mRNA technology to synthesise Omicron-specific vaccines.

Given stretched valuations and the implicit leverage in certain markets, we think events like Friday may become more frequent.  It will also likely be even more challenging for markets once central banks stop providing liquidity to an arguably overheating economy.  A flexible and diversified approach will remain critical.

Any opinions stated are honestly held but are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon.
The information contained in this document is not to be regarded as an offer to buy or sell, or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell, any investments or products.
The content of this document is for information only. It is advisable that you discuss your personal financial circumstances with a financial adviser before undertaking any investments.
All the data contained in the communication is believed to be reliable but may be inaccurate or incomplete. Unless otherwise specified all information is produced as of 29th November 2021.
© 2021 YOU Asset Management. All rights reserved.

The World In A Week - Will Markets Catch A Cold?

Cases of the Covid-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, spiked last week, although we note that this is due to the inclusion of reclassified cases. On a positive note, laboratory confirmed cases were lower, which suggests that the disease is spreading at a slower rate, although the death toll has now exceeded that of SARS. The economic impact of the virus has been mixed thus far, but we believe it will have long-reaching, knock-on effects to the greater Asian region. It is thought that the People's Bank of China (PBoC) are likely to provide liquidity, to ease funding conditions in Chinese money markets in an effort to tackle downside risk posed by the virus and that further measures to support the economy could follow.

Leading into a long weekend for US citizens, who will be celebrating President's Day, US economic data remained robust. Labour market indicators, especially workers who are quitting for new jobs and small business optimism, were particularly positive. January retail sales rose in line with expectations of 0.3%, this was mostly driven by online and other non-store sales. Earnings also continue to be strong; of 80% of S&P 500 companies that reported in December 2019, 76% beat earnings expectations, which is in line with the long-term trend, suggesting the economy is in rude health.

In the UK, the 'Boris Effect' continues to be felt; Chancellor Sajid Javid resigned from the Cabinet following Boris' request to sack all of his advisors, a request that Javid felt was a move too far. It has been widely publicised that there have been tensions between Javid, and Boris's top adviser, Cummings, who wanted more control over economic policy and spending in the last few months. Javid's departure made way for the appointment of Rishi Sunak who has a tall task ahead; with the Budget due to take place on 11th March, it is questionable if this will go ahead.

Financial Wellbeing: How Do You Score?

Ministers have launched a financial wellbeing scheme in a bid to boost saving across the nation. We look at five key areas for improving your financial wellbeing.

Ministers have launched a financial wellbeing scheme with the goal of turning Britain into a nation of savers over the next ten years. How do your finances stack up?

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics measuring household debt cover from April 2016 to March 2018. In total, household debt was £1.28 trillion, with 91% of this being attributed to property debt such as a mortgage or Equity Release product. Not counting property debt, the mean household has debt of £9,400, a 9% increase when compared to the period two years earlier.

As debt has risen, many families have found it harder to save too. Research indicated that 11.5 million people have less than £100 of savings to fall back on. Nine million also use credit cards and payday loans to meet essential outgoings. It could leave these individuals financially vulnerable should they experience a financial shock or unexpected bills. Even a small expense can have long-term implications if you're forced to borrow to cover it.

Why have savings decreased?

Over the last decade since the 2008 financial crisis, many workers have found their outgoings have continued to increase in line with inflation. However, wages have been stagnant, falling behind the rising cost of expenses.

The government now plans to turn Britain into a nation of savers by 2030 and cut the number of households relying on credit cards for day-to-day expenses. It also aims to extend financial education in schools, reaching 6.8 million children, compared to the current 4.8 million. Whilst the target is a positive step for improving financial wellbeing, there's little information available on how this will be achieved.

What is financial wellbeing?

Wellbeing is something of a trend at the moment. More people than ever are looking at ways they can improve their overall wellbeing, defined as the 'state of being comfortable, healthy or happy'.

Whilst your mental and physical health is important, you shouldn't neglect your financial health. After all, financial worries can cause stress, whilst financial independence can give you an opportunity to focus on what makes you happy. Financial wellbeing is about having a sense of security and the freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life.

So, how does your financial wellbeing score?

  1. Do you have an emergency fund?

First, how would you cope with a financial shock? Even the best-laid plans can run off course for a variety of reasons. As a result, having an emergency fund you can fall back on is essential for financial wellbeing.

This gives you some financial protection should you face an unexpected bill or if you're unable to work for a period of time. Ideally, you should have between three and six months of outgoings in a readily accessible account when you need it. An emergency fund is the foundation of financial wellbeing and can give you confidence.

  1. Are you comfortable with your income and outgoings?

Budgeting is one of the basics of planning your finances. If you're not comfortable with how your books are balancing, it'll affect your financial wellbeing. Managing outgoings in line with your income is key for the other factors on this list too, ensuring you have some spare money to put to one side to meet your other goals, both short and long term.

If you're worried about your day-to-day expenses, it's worth spending some time looking at where your money is going. You may find that there are areas where you can cut back or that you're actually in a better position than you thought.

  1. Can you manage your current debt level?

At points in your life, debt is likely. It's not all 'bad' though. As the Office for National Statistics highlight, over 90% of the debt in the UK is related to property. For many of us, a mortgage is essential for getting on the property ladder. On top of this, there may be times that you need to take out a loan or access other forms of credit.

Credit can be incredibly useful and at times the best option for you. The key here is to understand your commitments and ensure you can meet them. Effectively managing debt is core to maintaining positive financial wellbeing.

  1. Are you saving for the long term?

Whilst the government scheme focuses on building up a savings pot for the short- and medium-term, you should be looking further ahead too. Are you saving enough for retirement, for example?

Retirement might be something you've thought little about if you're still in work. But it's a milestone that you should be preparing for throughout your working life. Knowing that you've been diligently putting money away for your life after work can improve your financial wellbeing when you look at the bigger picture.

If you're already retired, it's important to understand how your income may change over the coming years and what you can do to maintain your lifestyle.

  1. Do you feel confident in your financial decisions?

Finally, you should feel confident in the financial steps you're taking and what this means for your future.

When you undertake wellbeing exercises, it's to enhance your happiness and fulfilment both now and in the future. It's the same with financial wellbeing. Getting to grips with your money and ensuring your accounts are in good health can boost your prospects and how comfortable you feel.

If you're worried about money, it can impact on many other areas of your life. For your overall wellbeing, it's essential you feel confident. This is an area of financial planning we can help with. Working with an expert can help you proceed with financial decisions with confidence, as well as gaining an understanding of how your wealth will change over time.

How many of the above did you answer 'yes' to? If you have any gaps in your financial wellbeing or questions about your financial plans, please get in touch.

Why Financial Planning Is Important For Generation X

If you're part of Generation X, it's the perfect time to start planning your finances to ensure you're on track for meeting goals in the short and long term.

Generation X is likely to be facing big life and financial decisions. Yet, only a small portion is working with a financial adviser to ensure their future is secure.

A nationwide study found that just 8% of those aged between 39 and 54 has spoken with an independent financial adviser in the last year. This is despite many within this age group approaching financial milestones. If you've been putting off getting to grips with your financial future, it's not too late.

Setting out your life goals

The first thing to do is think about what your life goals are in the short, medium and long term.

These goals should be the driving force behind your financial plan. Whilst you're still working, it can seem like retirement or planning to help children get on the property ladder is a long way off, but these long-term goals are just as important as the ones just around the corner. By setting them out now, you're more likely to achieve them.

Remember, the goals you set out now aren't set in stone. You may simply change your mind or factors outside your control may force you to evaluate. Regularly going back to your aspirations, and how you will achieve them, is just as crucial as the first step.

  1. Making the most of your earnings

As you reach your 40s and 50s, your income is likely to be higher than it was in the past. So, how do you make the most of this?

Should you overpay on your mortgage? Or should you start building an investment portfolio? Perhaps, you should increase your pension contributions?

There's no single right answer here. Your decisions should come back to your lifestyle goals. However, taking steps to understand the long-term implications of the financial decisions you make now can help you pick the right path for your aspirations and current financial situation. For some, reducing mortgage debt will help them free up their income in later life in order to retire early. For others, it will make more sense to invest their capital to build up a flexible income in the future.

  1. Planning for retirement

According to the research the average Generation X worker has £159,837 in their pensions and contributes just over £200 per month.

Whilst retirement may still seem a long way off, it pays to start thinking about the lifestyle you want and whether it's achievable based on current pension projections. Just 20% of Generation X plan to access their pension within the next five years. The findings suggest that most have an opportunity to fill potential gaps should they find aspirations and reality aren't aligned. The sooner you know there's a gap in your pension, the greater the chance you have to bridge it.

Worryingly, 48% of women and 34% of men had never heard of Pension Freedoms, and 30% have heard of them but don't understand what they mean for retirement. These pension reforms were brought in five years ago and give you far more freedom in how you access your pensions, but also bring additional responsibility too.

It's important you understand your options; what is right for someone else may not be appropriate for you. The decisions you make at retirement could affect the rest of your life. Please contact us to understand how your pensions savings can be used to create a retirement income.

  1. Providing for the next generation

At this stage in your life, you may be considering how you can financially help the next generation. You may have children or even grandchildren that you want to provide for.

Balancing your financial needs with your desire to give a helping hand can be difficult but it is possible to balance the two. For example, you may want to pay for school fees out of your regular income or start building up a nest egg that can be used for a first home deposit in the future. Setting out these goals can help you achieve them. The best course of action will depend on many factors; including your aspirations for helping loved ones but this is an area where we can provide support. We take the time to understand what your hopes are, so we can set out the right path for you. When planning for the next generation this could include:

  • Contributing to a Junior ISA
  • Gifting lump sums
  • Providing gifts from your income
  • Writing a will and estate planning

If you're part of Generation X and would like to review your finances with a financial planner, please get in touch with us. We'll help you see how the steps you're taking now will impact your future security and ability to achieve goals.

Please note: A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefit available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

4 Ways You Can Efficiently Pass Wealth On To The Next Generation

If you plan to pass wealth on to children or grandchildren, how to do so efficiently should be a consideration. It could mean more ends up in the hands of your loved ones.

Do you intend to pass on wealth to loved ones? If you want to help children and grandchildren become more financially secure, you need to consider more than just the sum you'll be giving them. Tax rules may mean you need to think carefully about how you do so, as well as the impact it will have on you.

If you want to pass on a portion of your wealth to loved ones, you essentially have two options: do it during your lifetime or as an inheritance.

There are pros and cons to both these options. Passing on your wealth now means you get to see the impact the money has and, depending on the circumstances of your loved ones, it may have a bigger positive effect on their life. However, on the other hand, it may diminish their inheritance and you'll need to think carefully about how it affects your wealth over the long term.

Whatever option you choose, efficiency should be considered. After all, you want as much of your gift to go to your loved ones.

  1. Use your gifting allowance

When you give a gift, you may think it's considered out of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. However, this isn't always the case. Some gifts may still be considered part of your estate for up to seven years and could be liable for tax as a result.

Crucially, there are some exemptions that mean gifts are immediately outside of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. This includes the annual gifting allowance of £3,000. If you want to give money to loved ones now, you should make use of this. It can be carried forward by a year, so if you didn't use your allowance last tax year, you could efficiently give £6,000 this year.

  1. Write a will

If you're hoping to leave an inheritance to your loved ones, writing a will should be the first thing you do. Even if you already have a will in place, it may be worth reviewing it.

Having a valid will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Despite this, more than half of British adults have not made a will. Not doing so would mean your assets are distributed according to Intestate Rules, which could be vastly different from your wishes. A will may also present an opportunity to mitigate tax.

Ideally, you should review your will every five years and after big life events, such as new grandchildren arriving, marriage or divorce.

  1. Use a trust

Another way to potentially take a portion of your wealth out of your estate is through using a trust. A trust can allow you to pass on assets or money to beneficiaries with one or more people, or even a company taking control. It's an arrangement that can be particularly useful if you want to pass gifts on to children or vulnerable people.

There are several different types of trust and some are subject to their own tax regimes, so you need to fully explore your options before deciding to set up a trust.

Trusts can be complicated and once you've made a decision, it may be irreversible. As a result, it's important that you seek both financial and legal advice before proceeding. Please contact us to discuss if using a trust is an option that is appropriate for you.

  1. Remember your pension

Pensions can provide you with an income throughout retirement. But they may also present you with a chance to pass wealth to loved ones after you've passed away.

Money taken out of your pension will be considered part of your estate and, therefore, potentially liable for Inheritance Tax. However, money that remains in your pension can be passed on efficiently.

If you die before the age of 75, the money within your pension will not be taxed at all if it's accessed within two years. After the age of 75, your beneficiary will be charged Income Tax, which could be far less than Inheritance Tax depending on their personal income.

If you want to leave your pension to a loved one, it's important to note your pension doesn't form part of your estate. As a result, it won't be covered by your will. You should contact your pension provider to complete an 'expression of wishes' to let them know what you'd like to happen.

These four ways to pass money on efficiently aren't the only options. Depending on your circumstances and goals, there may be other options that are more suitable. Please contact us to discuss your personal needs.

What impact will the gift have on you?

Whilst passing on wealth, tax efficiency is important, it's also crucial that you measure the impact it could have on your plans and future. For instance, would taking a lump sum out of your wealth now to give as a gift potentially leave you financially vulnerable in later years? Would a planned inheritance be at risk if you were to need long-term care?

You can't know what's around the corner but by making gifting part of your financial plan, you can help ensure everything stays on track. Please contact us to discuss how you'd like to financially support loved ones. We'll help build a financial plan that reflects this, as well as your other goals.

Please note: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate will writing, estate or tax planning.

The World In A Week

The World In A Week - Policy Preferences

Last week saw a reversal of fortune regarding market performance as global equities shrugged off concerns with MSCI AWCI rising +4.6% in GBP terms. This was primarily driven by the Chinese and US stock markets (up +6.5% and +5.1% respectively) and rests on the assumption that the Coronavirus outbreak can be contained. A secondary-order assumption stemming from the Coronavirus outbreak is that any economic slowdown will be countered with easier monetary policy from the world's central banks, namely the People's Bank of China and the Federal Reserve in the US.

This reversal in sentiment was also observed in the fixed income markets; high yield bonds rallied +0.60% while high quality bonds lost -0.12% - both in GBP hedged terms.

While the assumption that central banks will provide ever-increasing degrees of monetary stimulus to calm nervous markets has worked well as an investment strategy since the financial crisis, signs are appearing that this relationship could come to an end. Negative interest rates are being used in an attempt to stimulate growth in the Eurozone, Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and Hungary. Thus far the success of this experiment has left much to be desired, and the efficacy of negative rates is now being called into question by many. In December 2019, the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, decided to abandon the negative interest rate experiment and raised rates to 0%.

The ineffectiveness of monetary policy to bolster further economic growth has led many market participants advocating a pivot to fiscal policy to pick up the slack. Governments in the UK and Europe seem to be gradually moving to take advantage of low interest rates for infrastructure spending. In addition, left wing economic policy is coming more into fashion around the globe, Bernie Sanders is leading the polls in the democratic primaries and over the weekend the Irish electorate returned Sinn Fein as the largest party in a general election. We continue closely to monitor policy makers preferences for economic stimulus and how markets will react.

The World In A Week

The World In A Week - Love Changes Everything?

Today we could have written about the United Kingdom no longer being part of the European Union, as Friday saw us exit, but without any clarity around the trade relationship for the future. This is the start of the long journey towards clarity around how we will interact with Europe going forward.

We could have written about Mark Carney's last Monetary Policy Committee as governor of the Bank of England. The expectation for an interest rate cut had surged during January, however the committee voted 7:2 to keep UK interest rates at 0.75%. Mr. Carney officially stands down on 15th March after extending his governorship twice in order to see the UK leave the EU in an orderly manner.

What we are writing about is the Coronavirus and the concerns that this raises with short-term sentiment in the financial markets. Fear is the biggest economic threat and fear spreads more quickly when carried on the wings of social media; Google searches for 'Coronavirus' have risen sharply over the past week. It seems fear changes everything.

Fear changes consumers' economic behaviour and in turn changes policy makers' responses. In response to help contain the spread of the virus, China extended the Lunar New Year holiday to three days, with financial markets opening today. This has knock on effects for global supply chains and even a short disruption to global manufacturing should not be ignored. Companies should have enough inventory, but if Chinese companies are closed long enough, European and US production may suffer a lack of parts. We would expect sentiment surveys to worsen on the back of this.

The World Health Organisation has now declared the Coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. We believe that international measures to stop the spread of the virus will ultimately prove effective and there are early signs that the rate of increase in the number of new cases is slowing. It would appear the world was much more prepared for this type of outbreak than it was in 2003, with the Chinese government being pre-emptive and transparent, especially in quarantining major cities.

As we wrote last week, action will be compared to the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the blueprint is this current crisis could last between three and six months. We must keep in mind that this period of apprehension will eventually end, but in the meantime, we will probably face more bad news as media sources continue to use more emotive headlines, which will likely impact markets in the short-term.

The World In A Week

The World In A Week - The Year Of The Rat

An eventful week that saw the continued spread of the Coronavirus in China, the opening arguments of Trump's impeachment trial and the 51st World Economic Forum in Davos.

The World Health Organisation have called for emergency action in China following 830 confirmed cases with 41 deaths reported so far. The Chinese city of Wuhan, home to some 11 million people has been inundated with new patients seeking treatment. A completely new hospital is set to be completed in the next 6 days and will house 1000 beds. This follows similar action taken in 2003 following the SARS virus outbreak. The timing is far from ideal as China celebrated its New Year on the 25th January and is in a period of stagnated growth. Economic activity is expected to drop significantly with reduced worker mobility and spending power, following the travel ban that encompasses 12 cities, affecting 35 million people. There has been a large-scale demand for surgical masks and gloves with more than 80 million masks sold. China's Tencent has also cancelled the firm's annual bonus release which gives employees the chance to meet chief executive Ma Huateng amid enhanced virus concerns.

The most recent chapter in the impeachment trial sees President Trump's legal team present their case against his removal from power. The session was very brief with the main statements set for this upcoming week. However, it was clear that further evidence is needed to support any case for the removal of Trump, and this would certainly undermine the US political vote as the presidential election race gathers speed. Two-thirds vote of the Senate are required to remove the President from office, an event that has never happened in US Politics.

Climate crisis was once again the topic of discussion at the World Economic Forum in the ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. President Trump's comments again sparked debate as he compared Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to the great Thomas Edison. This follows the significant up-surge of Tesla shares which have increased by just over $300 in the last 3 months. Trump was also quick to boast his role in accelerating economic growth, with unemployment at its lowest rate for 50 years. Most notably, Greta Thunberg echoed her climate crisis call by encouraging global leaders to act immediately, further emphasised by US Vice President Al Gore, who compared the global crisis to the 9/11 event.

The Value Of Financial Advice: How It Helps Wealth Grow

Measuring the impact of financial advice can be difficult. However, research and our own experience highlight that it can have a positive impact.

The value of financial advice is something we talk about a lot at Beaufort Financial. We see the benefits it brings clients on a regular basis, whether that's the confidence to forge ahead with retirement plans or understand what they'll leave behind for loved ones.

However, measuring the impact into ways our clients can easily grasp can be complex.

After all, whilst we might help their wealth grow or minimise tax, it's difficult to show what impact this has over the long term. In some cases, clients may even wonder if they'd have achieved the same results without the use of a financial planner.

Measuring The Financial Gains Of Advice

Research from the International Longevity Centre has highlighted how taking financial advice can help wealth grow at a faster pace.

The latest report - What it's worth: Revisiting the value of financial advice - looked at the value of taking financial advice on overall financial outcomes over an extended period of time.

The research found that individuals that received financial advice between 2001 and 2006 benefitted from a total boost to pensions and financial assets of £47,706 in 2016/16 on average. This was split into:

  • £30,991 in pension wealth
  • £16,715 in financial assets

Interestingly, the research highlights the difference among those that did receive advice.

Those defined as 'just getting by' actually have a greater potential to benefit than those considered 'affluent'. The former saw a 24% boost in pension wealth compared to the 11% increase among those termed 'affluent'. Those that are 'affluent' are more likely to seek advice, but the report highlights it can be beneficial to those that would typically take a DIY approach. In contrast, 'affluent' individuals were more likely to benefit from growth in financial assets, though the gap was smaller.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, said: Many of those who receive financial advice can testify to its value, but it has always been difficult to quantify. The research uses the latest statistical methods to identify a pre 'advice effect' and it is strikingly large. If financial advice can add £40,000 to your wealth over a decade compared with not taking advice, it is incumbent on government, regulatory, providers and the advice profession to work together to make sure that more people are sharing in this uplift.

One-off vs Ongoing Advice

There are points in life where one-off financial advice can be useful, typically coinciding with big life events. This could be as clients approach retirement, a relationship breaks down, or they start to plan for the next generation's future.

Yet, the report highlights that ongoing financial advice delivers further benefits. It found that building an ongoing relationship with a financial adviser could help grow wealth even further. Those that regularly took professional financial advice had nearly 50% higher average pension wealth than those that only received one-off advice.

Ongoing financial advice gives individuals a chance to review their financial plans and ensure they remain on track. Even smaller life changes, such as a pay rise, may change the best way to make use of money with long-term goals in mind. Regular meetings with a financial planner can help ensure these are taken into consideration.

David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre, said: The simple fact is that those who take advice are likely to be richer in retirement. But it is still the case that far too many people who take out investments and pensions do not use financial advice. And only a minority of the population has seen a financial adviser. We must now work together to get more people through the 'front door' of advice.

The Non-Financial Benefit Of Advice: Confidence

The report clearly highlights the financial benefits of working with a financial planner. However, the true impact of financial advice goes beyond simply how much money you have in the bank or your pension.

One of the key areas where financial advice really benefits people is the confidence it gives them.

Clients often seek out financial advice because they're worried about the future. They may be concerned about their retirement position, what would happen if the unexpected were to occur or how they can improve the financial security of the next generation.

We often find that, with some careful planning, clients already have the means to achieve their goals and aspirations. What clients need is the technical knowledge of financial planners to make their savings, investments or other assets work for them, and the confidence it delivers.

Our goal is to ensure each Beaufort Financial client has the confidence to make lifestyle decisions, safe in the knowledge that their finances are in order with their plans in mind. These lifestyle decisions could include:

  • Retiring from work five years early
  • Dipping into savings to help children or grandchildren get on the property ladder
  • Make big-ticket purchases to achieve dreams, such as travelling the world

Whilst increasing wealth is part of what we do, the true impact of financial planning can change lives and we hope to give people the confidence to pursue their dreams.

If you'd like to discuss how we can work together, please get in touch with us.

How Financial Advice Can Help Business Owners Prepare For The Future

Business owners will often engage the services of an accountant, but they're less likely to review their own financial situation with a professional. We explain seven reasons they should.

Whilst business owners may be focused on short-term financial goals, it can be difficult to plan for the future. Those striving to grow a business can find their priorities revolve around their work, whether it's growing a client base or finding new opportunities to innovate. It can come at the expense of their own financial security.

It's common for business owners to engage the skills of an accountant, but how working with a financial planner can help them can be overlooked. But there are plenty of benefits that business owners can take advantage of when working with a financial planner, particularly when it comes to considering the long term. Among them are these seven.

  1. Defining Long-Term Personal Goals

With a business to focus on, some owners find their personal goals are pushed aside. But it can mean the future they want is out of reach when they arrive at that point or they head in the wrong direction.

Financial planning goes beyond simply suggesting where investments should be placed or how much to put into a pension. It starts with understanding individual goals and aspirations, using this as a guide to making financial decisions that are right for each individual. As a result, seeking financial advice can be the catalyst for setting out long-term personal goals. With a sense of direction, these dreams are more likely to become a reality.

  1. Understanding Personal Tax Liability

Organising finances can be difficult for anyone, but there's often an extra layer of complexity for business owners. This is true when it comes to tax liability.

There are numerous regulations and allowances around tax, and it's easy to overlook some that a business owner can take advantage of. For example, are they making full use of their dividend allowance each tax year or how they can take an income from the business in a way that minimises tax? A financial plan can highlight where these issues lie and create an efficient plan with the individual in mind.

  1. Saving For Retirement

Business owners need to take greater responsibility for their financial future; this includes saving for their retirement. But with other decisions to make, pensions can be something that slips their mind. Other reasons for not saving into a pension is concerns over how their financial security may change in the future.

Working with a financial planner can help business owners understand how their current situation can be used to improve financial security in the long term. It's a step that can keep them on track for goals that may still be several decades away.

  1. Making The Most Of Savings And Investments

We all know we should be saving money for the long term and that investments can help assets grow. However, it can be complicated to understand where the best place to put money is. A financial planner can offer business owners advice on how to make the most of their wealth, with their goals in mind. For some, this may include building up a financial safety net to provide peace of mind. For others, it may be building an investment portfolio that reflects their risk profile.

  1. Providing Financial Protection

Many people will take out insurance policies to protect assets, such as contents insurance, but fail to protect themselves. It's something business owners may have overlooked too. If they were to become too ill or involved in an accident, for instance, would they still be able to maintain their lifestyle? An appropriate insurance policy can provide a safety net.

There may be circumstances where insurance policies can protect the business too, such as key person insurance. Financial planning gives business owners an opportunity to assess what's most important to them and take steps to protect it where necessary.

  1. Building An Exit Strategy

What happens when a business owner is ready to move on to the next chapter? Whether they want to retire or take on another project, considering their lifestyle and how to achieve it.

Exit strategies often focus on the business and sale price where applicable. However, financial planning can help put the business owner at the centre of the plans. For example, how much would they need to sell a business for to achieve their long-term financial plans? It's a step that can help give business-related decisions a personal perspective and ensure they're the right ones for the individual.

  1. Benefitting Business Goals

Personal finance doesn't just benefit the individual, it can help them work towards achieving business goals too. For example, a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) can be used to invest in business premises. This can add to a retirement fund and provide diversification. It can also provide the business with security and the space to grow if needed. There are rules around using a SIPP for business premises but in the right circumstances, it can be very useful.

Working with a financial planner gives business owners a chance to voice concerns or aspirations they may have and explore how personal finances can be used in an effective way that considers their lifestyle too.

If you work with business owners and would like to speak to our team about how we can work together, please contact us.