Category : Insurance

Savings

Achieving your financial goals

Achieving your financial goals

We lead complex lives in an increasingly complex world. As your financial adviser we can help you better understand your financial challenges, goals and needs, and help you find appropriate ways to meet them.

Even a seemingly straightforward financial goal can involve numerous decisions and a lot of time and effort getting it right. Whether it’s buying a home, investing for the future or protecting the people and things you cherish, we’re here to help you make the right choices for your needs. Here are some of the services we provide, which our clients have told us they value the most.

Mortgages
With so many mortgage lenders offering products on the high street and online, it can be tempting to cut out the middle man. But when you’re making such a huge financial commitment, professional guidance can be invaluable, particularly if your needs are out of the ordinary. As well as arranging your mortgage we can also recommend specialist professional services that can help with other elements of your home-buying process, including solicitors and surveyors.

Protection
When using comparison sites and direct insurers, how can you be sure their “off-the-peg” solutions meet your specific needs? Using our expert product knowledge we can help you find the right solution for you. Whatever your particular need – be it income, family, mortgage or business protection – we can access high quality products from a range of handpicked providers; providers we have selected because they are proud to stand behind claims when it matters the most.

Investment planning
As well as your pension, you may have opportunities to invest lump sums – such as an inheritance or bonus – but are unsure about what strategy is best. As with all areas of financial planning, it pays to have a clear objective or vision. We can talk you through the important things to consider and help you create a balanced and diversified portfolio, taking into account your financial goals, attitude to risk, and any appropriate tax planning.

Retirement planning
The onus to create a comfortable retirement is falling increasingly on the individual, and the new pension regulations, whilst bringing welcome freedoms, introduce additional complexity to your at-retirement choices.

The right financial plan could help secure a more comfortable retirement – not just for you, but also for your loved ones and heirs. We can help you navigate the complexities of the new rules. Knowing what can be achieved and establishing the right strategy as early as possible can help you prepare for the future.

Inheritance planning
Passing our hard-earned wealth to loved ones often forms a big part of our ambitions. The right forward planning can help you maximise your heirs’ inheritance by minimising tax liabilities. We can help you put the right structures in place.

Of course, your needs in any and all of these areas will change over time, and regulatory changes can impact the effectiveness of any structures already in place, so we recommend a regular review to ensure that your plans remain on track and relevant.

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.

The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

[gem_quote style=”5″]To find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]

Your home/property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Pensions

Home truths

Home truths

The LV= Home Truths Report has revealed that homemakers are happier than people working in any other occupation, despite working longer hours than most people think.

Flexible hours, being able to spend time with the children and relatively low stress levels all contribute to homemakers generally feeling happier than those in full time jobs, even though they work, on average, 66 hours in a five day week.

It all adds up

As well as being crucial to the home and family, the role of the homemaker also contributes to the economy. In fact, the Office for National Statistics suggests an equivalent salary for a homemaker would be £38,162 a year, covering tasks like childcare, cooking, cleaning, transportation, shopping and doing the laundry.

Perhaps we underestimate the value of a homemaker though, as only 7% have taken out Income Protection insurance that would replace some, or all, of the £733 a week needed to pay for alternative cover.

Deadline to the breadline

To make things worse, families would only be able to manage to pay for help for just 18 days, on average, before they ran out of savings or had to borrow money – even though their first priority would be making sure their children are looked after.

It goes to show that there’s often a gap between our aspirations for our children and the steps we will take to ensure they can be realised.

While none of us want to think that an accident or illness will happen to us, life’s nasty surprises can (and do) happen to anyone and at any time.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you have children, or a partner who rely on you or your income, it’s important to review your personal protection plans and make sure you have sufficient cover in place. We can help. Talk to us and we’ll make sure you have the right cover for your circumstances.[/gem_quote]
Home Insurance

Is your home winter-proof?

Is your home winter-proof?

With the year coming to an end and winter just around the corner we can start to expect colder, wetter, stormier weather conditions instead of the brighter, warmer days of summer.

This makes it a good time of year to assess how well protected your home and possessions are against the potential damage winter may cause. Take action now and ensure you have the relevant home insurance, check your property over and make a plan to protect it against bad weather.

The following preventative measures can go a long way towards avoiding the misery and inconvenience that damage to your home can bring:

• To protect your pipes and water tank
– Check the lagging, including in the loft
– Leave your central heating running at a constant temperature (the coldest time is between 1am and 3am). If possible, leave it running in all rooms.
• Use draft excluders and seal around window and door frames to block out cold air and keep hot air in, helping to maintain the temperature through the coldest periods.
• Tie down or safely store any outdoor furniture to avoid damage from high winds. You can also check roof tiles and any dead or broken branches on nearby trees which could cause damage.

Check your current insurance

Dig out those certificates of cover and policy documents and check your cover levels. You should review your cover at least once a year, to check it still meets your needs. We can help you understand what you’re covered for – and what you aren’t. While buying home insurance may feel like an expensive chore, it’s critical to ensure it meets your needs and expectations. If you don’t fully understand your policy exclusions (such as accidental damage), you may find that you are not fully covered.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you’d like to review your existing buildings and contents insurance, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]
Insurance Quotes

The value of Income Protection

The value of Income Protection

We work hard to provide for ourselves and our families and enjoy spending our monthly earnings on holidays and leisure – as well as the more mundane (but essential) things like bills and mortgage payments of course. So you’d think we’d place huge importance on protecting an asset as valuable as our income.

According to research from Zurich, however, this is sadly not the case. In fact, only 20% of the people surveyed had protected themselves against a loss of earnings in the event of illness or disability.

Risk versus reality

Perhaps more surprisingly, 43% said the chances of them becoming ill or disabled and unable to work were extremely unlikely – even though a similar number (42%) had already experienced a loss of income for this very reason. This apparent discrepancy between perception and reality is particularly worrying as a third of people believe they don’t have enough savings to cover expenses for more than one month.

Protect your greatest asset

Income Protection pays out a regular replacement income if you are unable to work due to an accident or illness or, with certain policies, unemployment. For a monthly premium that can be adjusted to suit your budget, this valuable insurance could keep the roof over your head while you are unable to work. Even if you have Income Protection insurance already in place, it’s still worthwhile reviewing your current cover levels. Personal circumstances can change regularly so it’s important to ensure your level of cover remains appropriate.

Most of us don’t think twice when it comes to protecting our vehicles or treasured possessions, and yet it’s our income that enables us to enjoy these luxuries.

[gem_quote style=”5″]Talk to us today about Income Protection insurance to make sure your income is properly protected in the event you’re unable to work.[/gem_quote]
injury

Financial back pains

Financial back pains

Back pain is a common problem that affects most of us at some point. In 2014/15 9.5 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders including back pain. To put that figure in perspective that’s just over 26,000 years of lost productivity. In some cases the back problem will be temporary and the sufferer will recover and return to work, but conditions vary enormously in their severity and can occur at any time.

Preventing back pain

How you sit, stand, lie and lift can all affect your back. When you think about how much time the average person spends sat at a computer, it’s important to be aware of your posture in order to help prevent injuries.

One of the biggest causes of back injury, particularly at work, is lifting or handling objects incorrectly. When moving an object at work or home you should:

  • think before you lift
  • start in a good position
  • keep the load close to your waist
  • avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways, particularly when your back is bent
  • keep your head up
  • know your limits
  • push rather than pull
  • distribute the weight evenly

From spinal surgery to physiotherapy or joining a gym, the treatments are many and varied. Exercise is an excellent way of reducing the chances of suffering from back pain and walking, swimming, yoga or pilates can all help to improve flexibility and strengthen the back muscles. That said, we are all still susceptible.

What if you do slip a disc?

Being off work with a bad back could wreck your financial plans, so it’s important to have adequate income protection in place. This replaces a proportion of your income if you are off work and can help to relieve the pressure on you and your family so that you can concentrate on recovery rather than worry about the next bill.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you haven’t protected your income, or it’s been a while since you reviewed your cover, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]
sports-insurance

School sports day..

School sports day..

Are you one of the one in three parents who worry about the risk of serious injury from school sports? New research from MetLife has found one third of parents with school age children are concerned about serious injuries from sport – and there are real reasons to be worried.

The research shows in the past five years:
  • around 17% of parents have had to take a child to Accident & Emergency units because of injuries sustained whilst playing sport at school
  • one in six have had to visit GPs for advice on sports injuries one third of parents have had to seek medical or dental treatment for children due to school sports injuries.

Parents are also becoming increasingly keen to see action from schools and sports bodies to help reduce the risk of injury:

  • one in five say they would be happy to back a ban on full contact rugby in schools
  • over one third want better recording of injuries suffered as a result of school sports
  • 40% want children to be able to opt out of rugby
  • one third would support opt-outs for hockey and football
Should contact sports be banned?

The benefits to children of playing sport are huge. Aside from enjoyment, it improves physical fitness and health, and builds self confidence. However, it is clear that a substantial number of parents are worried about the risk of serious injury.

The Sport Collision Injury Collective, a group of doctors, academics, sports scholars and health professionals, have called for a ban on tackling in rugby. These calls may be controversial and many will argue that playing contact sports is a great way to develop team work and a broader set of skills.

School sports aren’t the only culprit either. MetLife reports over two-thirds of their claims relating to children on their accident and hospital cover policy are for broken bones. With the summer holidays around the corner, children are likely to be outside playing with friends and taking part in summer activities and sports clubs.

Although we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, we can take preventative measures and give them the tools they need to avoid unnecessary risks, as well as putting protection in place in the event an accident does happen.

If you’d like information or advice about accident protection cover, please get in touch

Insurance Quotes

The risks of being underinsured..

The risks of being underinsured..

Most of us wouldn’t think twice about protecting our home, car, TV or smart phone – we even insure our holidays and pets. But there’s one aspect of protection that too few of us consider – what happens to our homes and our livelihoods in the event we have an accident, serious illness or die?

What’s your greatest financial asset?

What would you say if you were asked what’s your greatest asset? Your home? After all, it is one of the biggest financial commitments we undertake. Think again. If you calculate how much income you’ll receive between now and retirement, the reality is that your income is your greatest asset. So have you protected it in the same way you’ve protected your home?

New research suggests in most cases the answer is no, with 64% of households surveyed having no income protection in place. And this is despite nearly half of co-habiting couples in the UK claiming they are reliant on both salaries just to make ends meet. In fact, 34% admitted they would have to make substantial changes to their lifestyle if one partner was unable to work:

59% would have to cancel holiday plans

21% would cancel gym memberships

10% would ask family for additional help with childcare

13% would have to make a drastic change such as downsizing their house

More shockingly around 12% would have to visit food banks just to keep food on the table.

Protecting your income

Every year almost a million people find themselves unable to work due to an accident or illness. Taking out income protection provides you with a tax-free income if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. It could help you pay your mortgage/rent, utilities bills or even any medical bills you may incur.

Protecting against the unexpected

While losing your income could put you and your family in a difficult situation, what if you or your partner were diagnosed with a critical illness? The last thing you’d want to worry about would be your finances, especially as a study by Macmillan Cancer Support shows that the average family of someone receiving treatment for cancer has a monthly shortfall of £200 – even if they slash their spending to the essentials.

80% of us consider broadband to be essential, but less than 39% think that financial security for dependants in the event of a critical illness is. Critical illness cover or life insurance may not sound like priorities for you, but the financial buffer they can provide at such a difficult time could be invaluable. There are a number of affordable protection products that give you financial peace of mind in the event of accident, injury, or worse.

Talk to us about protection insurance tailored for your circumstances

Financial Advice

The value of financial advice

Everyone is unique. We all think – and work – differently. Some people are good with words, and others, numbers. The same might be true when it comes to planning and managing our finances. But however different our approaches might be, we probably all have similar goals for our money.

Whichever way you come at it, it’s important to think about your financial goals and what you would like to achieve with your money. This is especially true if you have other people who rely on your income. This is where we come in. As professional financial advisers, we can make this job easier and add real value when it comes to protecting your family, investing wisely, moving home or planning for a comfortable retirement.

Getting to know you

When advising you about your finances we want to understand you – not your money. We’ll take the time to find out where you’ve come from, where you are now and where you would like to be in the future. Together, we can design a plan to help you better manage your financial affairs, save tax efficiently for retirement, and ultimately achieve your financial goals – whether short, or longer-term.

Ensuring contingency along the way

Throughout your life, you’ll need to find answers to many different financial questions:

  • how much should we offer on a new house?
  • when can we buy a new car?
  • what’s our holiday budget?
  • shall we start our own business?
  • can we help fund our children’s education?
  • can we support our children with their wedding costs and house deposits?
  • can we make our money work harder and smarter?
  • when can we retire and how much will we need to support our lifestyle?
  • when we’re no longer here, who would we want to benefit from the wealth we’ve created?
  • We can help you answer these questions and make the right decisions to benefit you and your loved ones now and in the long run.
Planning for the unexpected

Not everything in life is straightforward and things don’t always go to plan. We can help you prepare for the unexpected and put in place some financial safety nets in case anything happens to impact your family or disrupt your plans. Think about:

  • whether your family could cope financially if either you or your spouse/partner died?
  • how much income you would have if you were taken seriously ill and couldn’t work?
  • whether your business would survive without you or your key people?
    how your lifestyle may change if you had an accident and couldn’t do the things you do today?
  • By getting to know your priorities and goals and understanding the bigger picture, we can piece together a plan to ensure the things that matter to you most – your family, income, business, or maybe all three – are protected leaving you on track to achieve your financial goals.

For more information on how we can help you create and achieve your financial plan, please get in touch.

Income Protection

The cost of a child..

It’s official: Raising a child is now more expensive than buying the average house.

• Average price of a semi-detached house in the UK = £219,255.
• Cost of raising a child to age 21 in the UK = £231,843.

You’ve insured your home, but how do you go about insuring your kids?Obviously costs change as children grow up, but from birth to 21 £231,843 equates to a monthly cost of £878.

Here’s how the total cost breaks down on average:

• Childcare & Babysitting £70,466
• Education £74,430
• Food £19,004
• Clothing £10,942
• Holidays £16,882
• Hobbies & Toys £9,307
• Leisure & Recreation £7,464
• Pocket Money £4,614
• Furniture £3,408
• Personal £1,130
• Other £14,195

59% of parents said they are struggling to manage outgoings including childcare, which amounts to nearly a third of the total cost of raising a child. Surprisingly though, 49% of parents do not have a plan in place for a sudden loss of income resulting from things like a critical illness or even the death of a parent.

Investing for their future

Even after 21 the costs keep adding up and parents are still spending £1,113 a month on things like education
and food. Today, the overall cost of a three-year degree (including tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses), is typically between £35,000 to £40,000.

Marriage can be a costly option for those who choose it, with the average wedding estimated to be £20,000. Getting a foot on the property ladder is another growing cost for the next generation. The typical first-time buyer borrows over 3.39 times their income with a deposit of 17% and we’ve all heard of the Bank of Mum and Dad.

The importance of protection

What would you do if you suddenly lost the income that pays for your child-related expenses?
• protect your earnings: income protection gives the assurance that you and your children will be provided for if you can’t work because of an accident or sickness
• protect your health: critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions, like cancer, heart attack or stroke
• insure yourself: life insurance can provide a lump sum payment on death that can help those left behind continue raising the children

Talk to us about protecting yourself, your income and your family both now and in the future.