Coffee morning

Following the success of our last coffee morning, we are holding another one between 11am and 1 pm on Thursday November 16th 2017 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.

Pop the date in your diary and join us at our office on Marsland Road in Sale for coffee and cake and to meet the team.

If you have any questions, please call us on 0161 718 8328.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Who are we and what do we do?

At Platinum we focus on building lifetime relationships with our individual clients and their families and we cater for their changing needs at every stage of their life.

We have been offering independent financial advice to individuals and businesses for over 16 years. We always keep it simple and don’t bombard you with unnecessary jargon and terminology, providing you with the information you need and we stay on top of changes that matter and which affect your finances.

We are approachable and friendly and all members of our team are here to ensure you have an excellent experience that you can tell your family and friends about!

We offer financial advice on your personal matters including saving and retirement planning which covers Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) and personal pensions, Drawdown and annuities. In addition, we can help you with your savings and investment needs whether you are saving for growth or to provide you with an income in the future by investing in tax efficient vehicles such as Stocks and Shares ISA’s and investment bonds.

We also offer mortgage advice including re-mortgages and buy to let mortgages, in addition to giving advice on your personal protection including life assurance, critical illness cover and income protection.

At Platinum we also help you with your business related financial needs by giving advice on Shareholder Protection and Key Person Assurance as well as workplace pensions. We are happy to liaise with your accountant too regarding tax planning and your solicitor in connection with issues such as divorce settlements, pension sharing and setting up trusts.

We encourage everyone with existing pensions, savings and investments plans to consider how they plan to ensure their policies are kept on track. With clear goals for the future and regular reviews and planning you can ensure your money is doing what you want it to do.

If you would like to get your finances in order with our help, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on 0161 718 8328 to arrange your initial (no charge) meeting. Feel free to share our blogs with your family, friends and colleagues you think may benefit from our services.

Wills and Power of Attorney – don’t leave it too late

Statistics from the Alzheimer’s Society show that there are around 850,000 people living with dementia and the number is expected to rise to over one million by 2025.

Charities that care for the elderly advise everyone to plan for a time when they might not have the mental capacity needed to handle their own financial affairs or deal with decisions about their care, and to make sure they make their Will.

A will is so important

Having a valid Will in place will ensure that after your death, your assets are distributed as you would wish. If you don’t leave a Will, then your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, and this could mean that those close to you who you would have wanted to benefit from your estate might receive nothing, while distant relatives you hardly know might benefit instead. You need to make your Will when you still have the mental capacity to make your wishes known.

Protecting your interests

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), or Continuing and Welfare Powers of Attorney in Scotland, are becoming much more widely used. They can be written to cover both financial matters and health care provision, and give you the satisfaction of knowing that you have nominated someone who can legally act on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to deal with matters yourself.

Many people wrongly assume that their loved ones can automatically deal with banks and building societies or health authorities on their behalf. However, this isn’t how the law operates. If you lose mental capacity or become seriously ill and haven’t made an LPA, a family member wouldn’t have the legal authority to deal with matters on your behalf, and would need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy (Guardian in Scotland). This can be a lengthy and expensive process.

It is important to organise your affairs as soon as possible. Please contact us on 0161 718 8328 if you would like some guidance with choosing a suitable solicitor.

Can you afford NOT to take financial advice?

We’d happily pay for the skills of a lawyer or an architect, the same goes for some easier tasks too, such as cleaning our house and tidying the garden.

Paying for some financial advice might in fact be one of the best investments we can make and the value that comes from financial advice can take different forms:

·         Getting back more money than you invested

·         Future security

·         Peace of mind

·         Protection

·         Achieving goals

·         Avoiding mistakes

·         Opportunities

The whole point of taking financial advice is that you get back more than you put in. With its potential advantages like future security, your loved ones being catered for and the peace of mind all this brings – the question you should perhaps now ask yourself is – can you afford NOT to take financial advice?

Please get in touch with us on 0161 718 8328 to arrange your financial review. There is no charge for our initial meeting and we are happy to meet with you at your home, workplace or in our office.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

The ‘Sandwich Generation’

New research from a major insurer shows that although as a nation we are happier than we were a few years ago, the picture differs markedly by age group.

Those in their 40s and 50s are likely to be less happy and more anxious. This age bracket often faces a variety of financial challenges such as raising and supporting their families, whilst at the same time looking after older family members too. For this reason, they have been dubbed ‘the sandwich generation’.

Facing the future

Although the sandwich generation earns more than other age brackets, it tends to save less. In many cases, those aged 45 to 54 could be looking at just 15 more years of employment before retirement, so it’s vital to keep track of how their pension pots are doing and save as much as possible to ensure a comfortable retirement. At the same time, many parents of this age are facing the prospects of their children going to university and needing help with the fees, or older children wanting money for a deposit for a first home. Whilst many are hoping that their own parents will leave them a reasonable inheritance, with life expectancy increasing and care costs rising year on year, this is by no means certain.

Taking advice pays

If you’re part of the sandwich generation there may be lots of calls on both your time and your cash, but it’s important not to lose sight of your own financial security. A financial review will help put things in perspective and ensure you have a realistic plan in place for the future. It’s important to remember that there are many tax-efficient ways to save and invest; even small sums saved regularly can make a real difference.

There is no charge for an initial meeting with one of our advisers, so just a little investment of your time can start the ball rolling. Call us on 0161 718 8328.

 

REMARRIAGE – WHY YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

If you want to be sure that your wishes concerning your money and possessions will be met when you die, then it’s vital to have an up-to-date Will in place.

Drawing up a Will is a straightforward process and prevents disputes between relatives, enables you to pass your assets on to future generations and can help you cut the Inheritance Tax bill on your estate after your death. If you have already been married and are embarking on a second or subsequent marriage, then it’s important to think about the terms of your Will and how you’d like your assets to be distributed now that your circumstances have changed.

The Laws in England and Wales

In England and Wales, a Will is automatically revoked on marriage (unless it is made specifically in anticipation of marriage). This means that when you remarry you no longer have a valid Will in place. So, if you die, your estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy.

Under these rules, the estate of anyone who dies without a Will who is in a marriage or civil partnership where there are no children, passes entirely to the surviving spouse or civil partner and other relatives will receive nothing.

If the spouse or civil partner dies without a Will and there are children of that relationship, a surviving spouse or civil partner will receive £250,000, plus half of the balance absolutely, with the remainder going to the children.

The Law in Scotland

In Scotland, marriage does not invalidate a Will as it does in England and Wales. This means that making a new Will is essential if you get married again; if not, your former spouse could inherit if that was what your old Will stipulated. Distributions under intestacy also differ in Scotland, where The Succession (Scotland) Act 2016 has introduced a number of other changes upon which advice from a Scottish solicitor may be needed.

Points to consider

Following remarriage, thousands of UK households are now made up of blended families, often comprising children belonging to different partners, grown-up offspring, new babies, aunties, uncles and multiple sets of grandparents. If you’re part of an extended family you will need to consider carefully how you would like your estate to be distributed on your death.

If you were to leave your estate to your new spouse, it automatically becomes part of their assets. So, if you want to ensure your children from a previous marriage benefit, then you will need to write your Will accordingly. Many people in this position find that the best way to proceed is to create a trust in their Will allowing the spouse to use the assets during their lifetime, with the assets distributed amongst the children on their death.

Planning your estate can be a complex matter, so taking legal advice is essential.

We can help you by pointing you in the right direction, suggesting professsionals who can help you to put a will in place. Give us a call on 0161 718 8328.

 

WHY THE SELF-EMPLOYED NEED A PENSION NUDGE

Working for yourself has never been so popular. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, there are around 4.8 million self-employed workers in the UK. Whilst many of this number are young people seizing the opportunity to go it alone, some are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s.

Being your own boss has many advantages, including the freedom to choose what type of work you do and when and where you do it. But it does mean that you need to make your own arrangements for your pension. Currently, four out of five self-employed people are approaching retirement with no pension provision in place.

MAKING PENSIONS A PRIORITY

If you’re self-employed, the day-to-day pressures of working for yourself can put saving for retirement at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. However, it’s worth remembering that the new flat-rate state pension only adds up to around £8,000 a year, so if you want to enjoy a more financially-comfortable retirement, you will need to make your own pension arrangements too. The sooner you can start saving for a pension, the longer the money invested in your plan will have to grow.

It’s worth considering the tax breaks currently available on pension savings. For example, you’ll get tax relief on your contributions usually up to £40,000 a year. If you are a basic-rate taxpayer, when you pay £80 into your pension, £20 will be added by HMRC giving a total gross contribution of £100 added to your pension. Higher-rate taxpayers can apply for relief at their highest marginal rate. Being self-employed can mean that your income is unpredictable, however the good news is that you can carry forward any unused tax allowance from the last three tax years.

How much should you aim to put aside to ensure you build up an adequate pension? The simple answer is probably as much as you can reasonably afford. If you were in an employer scheme, your employer might typically contribute 4% and you might be contributing a further 3% yourself. Under auto-enrolment the full rates (from April 2019) will be 3% minimum employer contribution and 5% employee, plus tax relief.

Everyone’s circumstances differ, so it makes sense to get advice on the level of contributions you can make and the likely returns they would produce for you.

EXPLORING THE BENEFITS OF SAVING REGULARLY

As an investor, sometimes it’s hard to cut through the noise of bygone or upcoming political and economic events, we’ve certainly had our fair share lately. There are always investment opportunities, even in times of uncertainty.

The benefits of saving regularly make a compelling long-term investment story. Not only does regular investment suit some people’s income streams but it also instils a great discipline. Committing to investing a small, affordable amount each month helps build future financial security.

Investing in a pension or a tax-efficient product such as an ISA can provide an opportunity to kick start a regular investment discipline.

Phased investment, such as pound cost averaging, can smooth returns over the longer term, and can reduce the impactof market timing and volatility on purchase prices.

This strategy enables the investor to average-out the peaks and troughs of the share or unit price, smoothing out purchase prices because of the regular contribution throughout the varying market conditions.

So, if you are self employed and need some guidance with starting your retirement planning, feel free to contact us on  0161 718 8328.

 

Market Update – Is Everything Uncertain?

As we reflect on the three months since our last market update, ‘unpredictability’ seems to be a continuing theme.

Within three months, it seems that politically we have moved from what many foresaw as a clear direction, to having a snap General election and politicians learning that the UK electorate is not afraid to voice their opinion.

The overriding theme seems to be that whilst Brexit continues, many feel that ‘austerity’ needs to be slowed or even ended.

Despite the media’s portrayal of this being unprecedented, many of the arguments are very familiar and well established. It has always been a balance of economic and social goals.

From an investors perspective, the unique situation is how we extricate ourselves from Europe, our productivity in terms of GDP as a country, plus the ongoing period of low interest rates.

This has a direct impact on how global markets view the UK and as a result our currency exchange rates continue to fluctuate. At the moment, the slightest change has a direct impact on the FTSE indices.

Yet despite these concerns the UK and global equity markets have been fairly steady. Overall the year to date has been one of steadiness. Clients have seen their portfolio valuations rising steadily.

Looking ahead, most pundits are in agreement. In the short term, the UK looks as though it is going to have some volatility politically, but most foresee opportunities for investors over the longer term and most global investors are looking at equity investments as being a good opportunity.

Overall, we agree with this positive outlook and remain focused on what is described as a ‘value’ investment strategy.

That said we are equally focused on diversity and with most clients, we continue to build portfolio’s including all sorts of asset types within investments including property, fixed interest, absolute return funds, and, most recently, infrastructure funds.

Long term we are confident clients will see real growth in the portfolio’s.

As always, do not hesitate to get in touch with Platinum, and our team, if you would like to discuss your investment strategy or if you have any concerns.

Regrets people have in retirement, and how to avoid them

Research from a major insurer has thrown an interesting light on how pensioners are finding retirement. The good news is that 94% of recent retirees surveyed report that they are really enjoying their later years. However, 41% say they regret mistakes they made in planning for their retirement. In some instances, these mistakes have meant they are facing financial struggles that could have been avoided.

NOT SAVING ENOUGH

Many people reach retirement and wish they’d put more into their pension plan in their peak earning years. Keeping a regular eye on how much you’re saving towards your pension will ensure that you know how much you’re likely to have when you retire, and give you the chance to increase your contributions if you can afford to. Getting an accurate state pension forecast is important too; many people overestimate how much their state pension will actually be worth, and aren’t sure at what age they will receive it.

NOT SAVING SOON ENOUGH

When people look back on their working lives, they can sometimes feel a sense of regret that they didn’t put more money aside early enough in their careers. It’s true that for most 20 year olds the thought of saving for retirement isn’t even on their radar. However, the younger you are when you start to save, the more time your money has to grow. Thanks to what Einstein referred to as the ‘8th Wonder of the World’, compound interest, even small sums saved whilst you’re young can steadily mount up over the years.

NOT BUDGETING PROPERLY FOR RETIREMENT

It’s a good idea in the years preceding your retirement to work out how much you are likely to need to fund the lifestyle you want to enjoy in your later years. True, some costs like travel to work will decrease, but others such as heating bills are likely to rise. Putting together a budget that includes household expenses, and takes into consideration how much you’re likely to spend enjoying your increased leisure time, will help you plan and save more appropriately. It’s important to factor in the likely cost of future care needs too.

NOT TAKING PROPER ADVICE

Under the pension rules introduced in April 2015, those planning their retirement have more choice than ever before in how and when they access the funds built up in their pension pot. However, for many, the options can be confusing and difficult to evaluate.

It’s never been more important to make the right decisions at retirement. Increased life expectancy means that people retiring today can expect to have several decades of active life ahead of them. Making sure that their funds don’t run out too soon can often be a major concern. Taking independent financial advice can help ensure that you have a plan in place that meets your likely pattern of expenditure, and keep funds in reserve in case you need to pay for nursing or residential care.

It really is important to consider the ‘value of advice’ not just in monetary terms but also for its role in bringing greater certainty, reducing stress and saving time. Our team are here to guide you through the advice process, so call us on  0161 718 8328.

 

Peace of mind for you and your family

The peace of mind that protection policies can provide

A recent study shows that many families are overlooking the benefits that protection insurance policies can provide and the peace of mind they can bring. Life cover may be one of those things you’ve been meaning to sort out for a while but haven’t yet ticked off your list. It’s undoubtedly one of the most important financial products anyone can take out, and one of the best ways of leaving loved ones provided for financially.

Whilst most people understand the need to have life insurance in place if they have a big financial commitment like a mortgage, many more are overlooking or unsure of the benefits that other types of insurance cover can provide. Life insurance and critical illness cover can be a vital buffer against life’s unexpected events, providing much-needed funds on death, or the diagnosis of a critical illness. But that’s not all; there are other policies available that can provide much-needed financial support for families if they are hit by unforeseen problems such as an accident, sickness or unemployment.

There are life policies that provide lump sums, and policies such as family income benefit that instead pay a regular income in the event of your death during the term of the policy. You can also protect your income, so that if you can’t work due to illness or injury you receive a monthly income that’s paid until you can return to work or reach retirement age.

FLEXIBILITY TO MEET YOUR NEEDS

The great thing about protection policies is that the cover can be tailored to meet your needs throughout your life. We often find that our clients’ insurance requirements change when they buy a property or have a family, take on more debt or change jobs, and we help them get the cover they need at every stage.

Finding the right policy that provides the right level of cover and represents good value for money can be hard on your own; why not let us help you find the best policy for your needs?

We are happy to help you to achieve peace of mind for you and your family. Please contact us on 0161 718 8328 to arrange a meeting with one of our advisers.