How Can I Structure Finances Through a Difficult Time?

How Can I Structure Finances Through a Difficult Time?

McGarrick
When a marriage ends in divorce, it can be an incredibly stressful and scary time for both parties. But when you’ve had nothing to do with the family’s finances, an unexpected divorce can leave you feeling lost and fearful of your present and future security.

When a marriage ends in divorce, it can be an incredibly stressful and scary time for both parties. But when you’ve had nothing to do with the family’s finances, an unexpected divorce can leave you feeling lost and fearful of your present and future security.

When Sally came to Efficient Portfolio, this was the exact situation where she found herself. Sally’s husband had always dealt with all of their financial affairs, so she wasn’t sure what resources she had, or if she had enough to get by. She was very much ‘left in the lurch’ and was worried that she didn’t have enough for the future, or what she needed to do.

Professional guidance is crucial at a time like this, whether you are experienced with your finances or not. Our primary focus was to give Sally a clear insight into what she had and how she could manage her money to deliver the life she wanted. Education and support were the key services we provided for Sally, as she was very inexperienced with money and needed some solid guidance to restore her confidence.

With our one-on-one advice, workshops and ongoing support from other members of the team, we helped Sally through this unknown world of finance and steadily guided her along her new path. One of the key things we did was to make sure Sally got the best out of the divorce settlement, so that she had a good level of wealth for the future and helped bring some peace of mind to the unfortunate situation.

Lifetime Cash-Flow Forecasting was also a key tool in helping to deliver some clarity, and we were able to show Sally that she would have enough in the future. Using this tool, and our ongoing support, we helped Sally make the right decisions with the finances and she is now looking forward to her new life. I think she also feels empowered and in control, knowing that she has a really good handle on her money.

How Do I Structure My Finances Efficiently and Quickly?

How Do I Structure My Finances Efficiently and Quickly?

Wada
Modern life seems busier than ever, so many people find that they don’t have time for a whole host of things: cleaning, exercising and, in this case, looking after their wealth.

Modern life seems busier than ever, so many people find that they don’t have time for a whole host of things: cleaning, exercising and, in this case, looking after their wealth.

Two of our clients, who are also close family friends, are both incredibly successful professionals in London, but they found that work and family commitments meant that they had very little time to maximise their hard-earned money.

Chris and Helen came to Efficient Portfolio because they wanted to build a secure future for them and their two young sons. They both earnt a good wage but felt that they had no structure over their finances, and were uncertain if they could afford school fees, additional holidays or, ultimately, when they could both afford to retire.

The work we do with Chris and Helen is ongoing, and the continual reviews and adaptations we make have helped to bring stability and certainty. Over the 15 years Chris and Helen have been clients, we have ensured that they have made the most of their planning opportunities, dealt with the changes promptly and addressed problems as and when they arose. Ultimately, the structure we have put into place has ensured that, even when they are at their busiest, they are still able to easily manage their finances and make the best financial decisions that will create the financial future they want. Time is no longer an obstacle.

Lifetime Cash-Flow Forecasting has been a fundamental tool in helping to support Chris and Helen. Every time a change has happened in their lives, we’ve been able to plot out their options and see the potential impact. Through our guidance, and forecasting, we’ve even been able to help them pick the best schooling for their boys.

How Can I Structure Finances Through a Difficult Time?

How Can I Structure Finances Through a Difficult Time?

Evans
Helen’s husband had died tragically in his mid-50’s, leaving Helen to look after her 3 children, singlehandedly, and without a primary income.

Helen’s husband had died tragically in his mid-50’s, leaving Helen to look after her 3 children, singlehandedly, and without a primary income. Her husband had been in charge of the family finances and so Helen came into the process devastated with her loss, somewhat confused as to what her options might be, and determined to protect the legacy she had inherited.

We worked together methodically and collaboratively, slowly bring her financial affairs into order at a speed Helen was comfortable with. This started with a cash-flow projection to demonstrate that Helen would now have sufficient funds to live without the need to worry about finding a full-time job and could still afford to take holidays with her children every year.

In order to achieve this, some of the money she collected from the life assurance pay-out was invested, making full use of the tax wrappers available to her and structured in a way that was easy to follow and understand.

How Can I Best Maximise My Pensions in Retirement?

How Can I Best Maximise My Pensions in Retirement?

Wood
A client of ours, Jeremy, who was a pilot for one of the biggest airlines in the world, had been with Efficient Portfolio for quite some time.

A client of ours, Jeremy, who was a pilot for one of the biggest airlines in the world, had been with Efficient Portfolio for quite some time. With two boys at university, he wanted flexible and easy access to his money, as cash-flow was quite rapid. Owing to this, we only managed his ISAs and General Investments, to make sure he had enough, but equally could access his money as and when he needed it.

But as the boys neared the end of their education, and Jeremy and his wife Jane began to think about their futures, a new opportunity raised its head. Jeremy was given the option to leave his Final Salary Pension Scheme and receive a lump sum of money.

This may sound like wonderful gift, but it was actually tarnished with uncertainty, worry and confusion. Should Jeremy stay in the scheme and receive a guaranteed retirement income for life, or should he jump ship (or aeroplane in this case) and manage that money himself? Final Salary Pensions come with many benefits, but can also have plenty of restrictions. Would staying in the scheme give him everything he needed n the future, or could he actually increase his income by taking the lump sum? The other issue is that this type of scheme is incredibly complicated, and making uniformed decisions can cost you dearly.

Thankfully, we are pension specialists, so he turned to use for help. We helped him weigh up all the options, the tax implications and the risks, so that Jeremy felt far more informed and confident about his choice. Having this clarity meant that Jeremy felt he could leave the scheme, as he had more to gain.

We helped Jeremy navigate his way through the journey of leaving the scheme and guided him on how to maximise this new-found wealth. We built an investment portfolio for him and also helped him identify the most tax efficient ways to drawdown the money, so that him and Jane could look forward to their retirement.

But Jeremy was also concerned about the future of his boys. What would happen if something unexpected happened to him or his wife? Would their children have enough money to lead a comfortable life? Could their inheritance be lost if there was a divorce or death in the family?

To help with this, we helped Jeremy to set up a Trust, so that the money would be further protected from tax and would pass down the bloodline of the family.

Jeremy now feel completely confident about the future security and happiness of his family, so is delighted he chose to leave his pension scheme. But just to make sure that he stays on track, we have continued to review his financial planning to ensure he remains on track.

What Can I Do If My Financial Future is Unclear?

What Can I Do If My Financial Future is Unclear?

Hamilton
Sometimes success doesn’t guarantee security; and sometimes even the best made plans won’t deliver your goals.

Sometimes success doesn’t guarantee security; and sometimes even the best made plans won’t deliver your goals.

Peter was, and still is, an incredibly successful author and director of his own business, with great annual turnover and significant capital in his company. Peter was also a financial planning convert, who saw the value in taking advice and had formulated a plan and put a strategy in place for his future. However, not all was as it seemed, and his future security was a risk.

When Peter approach Efficient Portfolio, he wanted us to assess his existing savings, investments and pensions, just to see if they were still suitable. Sadly, after reviewing them, we could see that he was actually on track to run out of money in later life; a problem which stood to ruin his plans for the future.

Creating a financial planning strategy is incredibly important to your future security and success, but, almost more important, is to ensure that you continually review what you have in place. Your needs, interest rates and your attitude to risk will continually evolve, as will the charges you pay, so looking at your portfolio on an annual basis is critical if you want to make sure that your plans adapt with you. This was the fundamental problem with Peter’s planning, so we wanted to see what changes we could make to rectify the situation.

Using Lifetime Cash-Flow Forecasting and a more holistic approach to financial planning, we were able to identify ways to increase investment returns, reduce risk and minimise tax. And we aren’t talking about saving or making a few hundred pounds: The adjustments we made could result in Peter’s children inheriting an additional £1.4m in today’s terms, even if Peter and his wife live to be 100.

Just because something works at the start, doesn’t mean that it will continue to provide for your needs. Having continual clarity over your finances, through regular reviews and ongoing monitoring, is the key ingredient to your success. In Peter’s case, it was the difference between running out of money and being able to live a comfortable life and leave a powerful legacy.

How Can I Maximise Profit in My Business?

How Can I Maximise Profit in My Business?

Stevens
Why would you want to become your own boss? For many business owners, setting up your own company is your opportunity to pursue your passion and forge a career out of something you love.

Why would you want to become your own boss? For many business owners, setting up your own company is your opportunity to pursue your passion and forge a career out of something you love. But it goes further than that. Being your own boss enables you shape your own life and directly impact the financial future of you and your loved ones.

But what happens when you want to leave the business and sell what you’ve built? Will you have enough capital to see you through? Or will you need to carry in working just to make ends meet?

Chris came to us with a predicament: He had spent many years building up his company but had reached a juncture in his life where he wanted to retire, ideally within 18 months of our meeting. Both working in their business, Chris and his wife were earning a substantial income for their family, but Chris was concerned what their future would look like if they sold the company. Would they have enough to maintain their lifestyle? Or would they have to make some sacrifices to get by?

For Chris, we used Lifetime Cash-Flow Forecasting to illustrate how the capital from the sale of the company could be maximised to provide a sustainable income for the rest of his life. We gave Chris confidence that he would have enough, so that he could proceed with the sale of the business.

Through our illustrations, we also found that Chris and his wife could afford to also purchase their dream home, which exceeded his expectations. However, the best outcome was that Chris knew, with certainty, what he could expect from his capital for the rest of life, and that he could look forward to the future.

What Should I Do If I’ve Received Bad Financial Advice?

What Should I Do If I’ve Received Bad Financial Advice?

Evans
We’ve all heard the horror stories of cut-throat Financial Advisers pushing products, purely to line their own pockets.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of cut-throat Financial Advisers pushing products, purely to line their own pockets. The industry as a whole left a very bad taste in people’s mouths for a long time, with many people electing to manage their own finances, rather than losing money to a handful of unscrupulous individuals.

Thankfully, at the end of 2012 The FCA (or FSA as they were then called) threw a cat amongst the pigeons of the financial advisory world. This metaphorical moggy came in the form of The Retail Distribution Review (RDR); a piece of legislation that banned commission on the sale of investment products and insisted that advisers must be better qualified to give investment advice. For some less scrupulous financial advisory firms this was the end. They could see the Horsemen of the Apocalypse approaching and there was no other way out than to pack up shop and ship out. RDR signalled the beginning of a new era in financial advice; a future where you, the client, receive the very best, unbiased service from the most highly qualified advisers. Great news, as long as you do not already have an ‘old style Financial Adviser’…..

A great deal of people who sought advice prior to December 2012, will have been well informed and would have received honest, trustworthy and dependable planning. However, there are some who may have experienced substandard, biased and commission driven financial ‘advice’. Our client, Paul, was one of those unfortunate few.

When you seek financial guidance, you are placing a huge amount of trust in the professional you chose. When that trust was broken for Paul, it took him a long time to feel confident in allowing someone else to help him plan his finances.

We met Paul 4 years before he actually became a client. He was understandably wary of our industry and was looking for a professional who he could genuinely trust. Over those 4 years, we demonstrated how, as Chartered Financial Planners, we differed from a large number of advisers in our industry.

First and foremost, we have the highest level of qualification in our industry and we’re truly independent, meaning that we’re not tied to one provider or incentivised to sell. We also work on a fee basis, meaning that commission doesn’t motivate us, and we can recommend the best solution for our clients’ needs, rather than the product that will pay us the largest chunk.

But for Paul, it wasn’t just our style of financial planning, it was our company ethos. We value education and ongoing support and believe that our Progressive Review Programme is what really makes us stand apart from our competitors. This is where our clients find the most value, and what helped Paul go from being appalled at our industry to being one of our longest standing, happiest clients.

Paul now has full control over his planning, and is delighted that everything we do is transparent, honest and in tune with his needs.

How Can I Protect My Wealth for My Loved Ones?

How Can I Protect My Wealth for My Loved Ones?

Elliston
David had recently sold his business and had cash and a property investment company as the proceeds of the sale. Alongside this he had built up pension, ISAs and other investments over the course his career, which alongside his house meant his estate was worth c.£3 million.

David had recently sold his business and had cash and a property investment company as the proceeds of the sale. Alongside this he had built up pension, ISAs and other investments over the course his career, which alongside his house meant his estate was worth c.£3 million. David relied on the investments to provide some of the income that he needed to support his lifestyle, but he wanted to see how he could arrange his estate to maximise what was passed on to his 4 children.

Having reviewed his portfolio we then put together a Lifetime Cash Flow-Forecast, which helped to demonstrate how much of his assets he needed to rely on and how much he could afford to give away. The gifts were made to a Trust to provide ongoing generational protection and so he controls who benefitted from the cash and when.

We then introduced him to an accountant and worked together to restructure the shareholding of investment company, so that he could still draw on the income he required, but more of the capital value of the company was passed to his children.

Finally, we advised that a small part of his portfolio was invested into a higher risk portfolio, so that it was removed from the value of his estate after 2 years.

Having followed all these measures, David now has his full Residential Nil Rate Band back and has reduced the potential IHT liability from £600,000 to around £20,000 after 7 years.

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