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Planting the seed

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All great change is preceded by chaos

During the next 12 months, I prepare to help my daughter navigate her final year of full-time school and for the first time in a long-time, I have considered what the world of thinking about a career might look like
Guiding clients through the constant changes facing investment portfolios has been my world for over 25 years now. I have navigated recessions, systemic crashes, rallies, booms, political uncertainty and a constant hum of change throughout my career

The next 25 years or so, will continue to challenge investors and the workforce, as they chase the speed at which technology accelerates and the resulting disruptions compound.
But I guess our ancestors have experienced it all before, Industrial Revolution, World Wars, discovery of oil, mobile phones, global connection to name a very small few.
Globally, the spotlight appears to be shining on climate, which is an area of investment strategy I have focussed on since opening Aspen. Investors historically have been best placed to contribute to new and emerging industries and, in relation to our planet, they can invest in solutions.

Structural change to economics

Successful investors are used to looking ahead, seeking out innovation and investing for the future.
We have become used to a model where products are created, used and then discarded
What we are searching for and what appears to be clear, is that we need to find a more circular approach to life (thanks, Mufasa), where we create, use and re-use


Food, Waste and Sustainability

The desire for more sustainable food is growing
Distance between food and fork has become stretched, with supermarkets making summer fruit available all year, flying exotic veg to our plate, which some believe has also created a distance in our relationship with food
Here’s a couple of great ideas I have seen recently
  • 50% of shipping containers transport goods between China and North America are returned empty. That’s around 13 million containers just containing air
    What if they were filled with collapsible Growframes, a hydroponic farming system, essentially creating empty spaces into small mobile farms

  • Coffee grounds, while straws are the enemy, what about the tons of used coffee grounds going into landfill every day?
    How about growing mushrooms from them, or utilising the materials to make cups, shoes and disposable & compostable piggy banks

  • Animal bi-products & waste are prevalent in the waste chain. An inordinate amount of cows blood and manure is disgarded daily, but once again maybe this can be converted into utensils, by combining the charcoal of vegetable waste and Urushi (Japanese lacquer) to act as a glue to hold the product together
It’s not all about sustainability, it’s about how our relationship with the rules of food might need to change (don’t play with your food, use the right knife and fork)
  • Research has shown that people with dementia drink 84% more liquids when served in brightly coloured cups
  • Changing the shapes and design of utensils to help people with cognitive impairments
  • Reconstruct cities to incorporate the green pasture being lost
  • Seedbanks are now an important part of our infrastructure. Mexico has over 60 types of corn. But, industrialisation caused a sharp decline in species and, therefore local employment. Now these are being re-planted long-lost species and creating secondary incomes to farmers


The World’s 7th largest economy

Don’t @ me on this, it’s an important perspective, based on the perceived Gross Domestic Product we extract from its resources and their value to various industries
This Blue Economy is a big issue for us all and in the World Ocean Summit and subsequent commissions, there is a great deal of movement and need for investment in solutions to Protect, Impact and create Solutions.
The Blue Economy will require a great deal of expertise and long-term strategy, providing for an incredible growth opportunity for new industry


Impact Investing

The way that we viewed ethical investing over the last few years has started to change
Historically, Ethical meant Avoid (weapons, tobacco, alcohol, animal testing, etc)
During 2015, the UN published their Sustainable Development Goals, with a 10-year target date. These SDG’s have become a regular part of investment discussions, with the expectation that Impact Investing will be the next big driver for growth
While this has been prevalent in some market places, the private and retail markets are just starting to take note. Two fund managers have launched Positive Impact funds this month.
One of the key drivers is the inter-generational transfer of wealth, and the younger generations care and want this style of investment in their portfolios



Societal changes, in smaller economies form a large part of the SDG’s, which will have the effect of benefitting emerging economies, which those countries desperately need
To put some of the growth in this sector in perspective, the Danish renewable energy firm Orsted, moved from fossil fuels to green energy around 10 years ago.
It now owns most of the wind farms offshore in UK, Germany and Netherlands. Its current Price/Earnings ratio is 24.3 times, meaning for every £1 invested a UK investor would receive £23 income or return
Other styles of Impact Investing will include childcare and dependent care provision packages as part of salaries, so that parents can return to workplace with greater ease
In 2001 you had a 50/50 chance of finding a beach in the UK where the water was fit to swim in. Now 92% of the UK’s beaches are deemed “exceptionally clean”


Money where my mouth is

To close my own circle, I have saved regularly into an Investment ISA for my daughter and when she reaches the point of deciding where education or career goes next, we will have a conversation, where she gets to choose between spending or borrowing  for education, or keep going and save for housing (trips to the Maserati showroom are barred)
By saving regularly, I can explain the consistency of application, even though there were times when spending seemed more agreeable than saving
In a bid to make the investment process relevant, I have invested in funds that specifically target Robotics, Smart City infrastructure and Water provision, which I feel will resonate with her own interests and view of the future
Smart city funds seek out new and ecological ways that cities are developing, transportation, waste, energy and social cohesion
Water funds invest in companies enagaged in the processing, delivery and technological and environmental services of water provision

Final thoughts

If only I had a £1 for every sentence that went “wish I’d bought my gran’s house in the 90’s”, “wish I’d bought those Bitcoins earlier”, “should’ve bought those shares when they crashed in 2008” and so on
Reality is this, what stopped you then, will stop you now
William Hill posted a £63.5 million loss due to the caps put on Fixed Odds betting terminals. Our relationship with risk is based too succinctly in the short-term and we need to re-educate ourselves on investing for the longer-term and how the risk/relationship works
Because if I have learnt one thing from the wealthy over the years, it’s that they invest in long-term strategies to maintain a solid foundation for all their generations

The day you plant the seed, is not the day you eat the fruit

The Only Way is Ethics

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The Only Way Is Ethics

Since we opened our doors we have helped clients build investment strategies that align with their risk profile, timescale and values
The way in which people live and engage with political, climate and corporate issues has changed dramatically in recent years
One of the ways clients like to engage is by controlling & considering where they invest their money


Apart from the main narratives of pollution, waste, tobacco and corporate greed, there is a widening array of reasons to consider incorporating ESG (environmental, social & governance) themes into a portfolio.
A growing consideration among investors is the balance between corporate profit and growth versus societal needs.  Paying a living wage to make a fairer society and creating a more environmentally conscious business plan as examples


Avoid techniques use negative screening to help clients create a portfolio focussing companies whose products, services or practices align with their personal values and beliefs, thus avoiding those with a vision or products are at odds with them
Main considerations tend to be Human Rights, Environmental Impact, Animal Welfare, Arms, Fossil Fuels, Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling


Engaging is a vastly wider architecture.
By investing the shares of a company, fund managers might have voting rights and can have some influence over the position a company takes
Positive and Sustainable themes can be wide ranging, driven by issues facing the planet;
  • Infrastructure – improving the environmental impact on towns & cities
  • Products & Services – energy efficiency, changing business practices & technologies, managing waste and recycling
  • Renewable & Alternative energies
  • Health & Wellbeing – access to healthcare, mental wellbeing, helping developing countries improve care
  • Social issues – equality, safe & affordable housing, education
  • Food & Farming
  • Transport
  • Finance and Employment

Where do you start?

Discussing your moral beliefs with us is simple, we utilise a Fact Find designed for clients wishing to adopt an Ethical / Sustainable portfolio
We employ screening databases supported by experienced and independent analysts, that has the capability to screen OUT, or indeed, IN, specific issues and criteria
This is then risk matched to your profile and discussed with you in terms of any nuances or considerations you need to make


Is the Investment Risk Greater

Generally speaking, the overall portfolio of options available diminishes when you either avoid or specifically target certain industries or ideals

We employ systems that ‘risk-profile’ investment portfolios. Taking into account the asset allocation (cash, equities, commercial property etc), together with financial strength, historic consistency of perfromance and so on, to create a ‘risk score’providing a reference point to make a decision

Cashflow is an important factor in creating financial strength. According to one leading investment platform money held in ethical funds rose from £4.5bn in 2008 to £16.7bn in 2018



Emerging Issues

Waste & Plastics
The use of plastics and the effect the dumping of waste is having on the planet and seas is acute. Producing around 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste each day, the World is going to need solutions
Smart cities
City living now exceeds rural living, meaning that for the first time in it’s history, the world now has more people moving to cities for economic and social reasons
The challenges going forward will be making them liveable and sustainable. Utilities, transport, housing and connectivityneed to be harnessed to make them fit for purpose.  The challenge will continue, as history dictates that countries seeking to reach middle income status do so by population shifting to city-dwelling


My most recent case

Met with a prospective client who leads a Vegan lifestyle. Wanting to save for retirement he wanted to invest in a way that supports his Veganism, as much as possible
We have been able to recommend an investment portfolio that avoids investment in companies that derives business turnover from;
  • Intensive farming
  • Own or operate an Abattoir or poultry slaughterhouse
  • Own or operate a Fish Farm
  • Are producers or retailers of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and slaughterhouse by-products


Saving for your future can also mean saving for everybody else’s

Protecting, Rewarding and Perks

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Rewarding you through fitness

Whether you invest or protect, discounts and incentives are a key part to add value to your policies.


Whether you are an investor or seeking to protect yourself or your family against illness, death or to attain the piece of mind of Private Medical Insurance, getting greater value from your plans now has new meaning


Understand your health

You will recieve access to Apps that help you monitor your fitness levels, your steps, distance run andso on

You can get access to health checks at regular intervals

My favourite is working out your Fitness Age, which tells you where you are compared to your own age!

To help you maintain fitness levels, many will provide discounted activity trackers, up to and including a new generation iWatch

Fitness Discounts

Reductions in standard fees for:

Virgin Active or Nuffield Health gym memberships

Cycles, running shoes at Sweatshop
Health food discounts from Ocado
David lloyd Clubs
Discounts at Weight Watchers
Garmin, Polar and iWatch discounts



Lifestyle extras 

Tickets to Vue Cinemas and Cineworld (can also include kids)

Weekly free coffee at Starbucks

Money off one, two and three night Spa stays and Spa Days

Discounts at Mr & Mrs Smith luxury and boutique hotels




Hands up who’s feeling undervalued?

  • When protecting your family it pays to put yourself first
  • Over half the stay at home parents in the UK, do not have life assurance

The impact of the death of a parent or suffering a Severe Illness;

  • Alterations to the home or move to a home with no stairs (for example)
  • Childcare costs required
  • Education costs not being met
  • Lifestyle being denigrated (holidays, technology, housing)


The important things often overlooked

  • Why just cover the mortgage – how will you cope with the loss of the income
  • What about recovery – having additional income covered means the pressure to return to work or find a job is taken care of
  • Long-term cover for children’s needs – education costs – college – Uni


Many couples no longer marry or enter into Civil partnerships. If you have life assurance, it will pay to your estate, thereby INCREASING your IHT liability

A Trusts will hold monies for your children until they are old enough to recieve it.  If your partner remarries, without a Trust in place, payouts could form part of their assets

What is the right amount?

Well, let’s start with the WRONG amount – Zero!

Someone once said that they had no life insurance, because they wanted their death to be a real tragedy!

  • Make sure your debts are repaid
  • Make sure an amount of income is replaced either medium-term or long-term
  • Provide for your children’s future costs

This is the basics, from there we can help you create a structured protection plan, that is reviewed and revised as and when relevant


Business Protection

Owners of small businesses, family businesses and share holders are the worst at protecting themselves and their business

Have you considered the following;

  • How are the business shares valued on the death of a shareholder
  • Do you want to have your business partner’s spouse, children or family as business partners
  • Do you give other shareholders and Directors first option to buy the deceased’s family out
  • How will you replacelost income from a senior Director’s death – will you need to employ a replacement

So many businesses do not have an agreement in place that dictates and is agreed by each shareholder as to how the shares will be valued and distributed

All it often takes is a meeting to discuss, agree and then insure the liability through the company

Anything else I should know?


Here’s the sales bit

Our staff and subsidiaries have a wide-ranging experience in Protecting individuals and business owners

Often we concern ourselves with the cost, but our expertise will help you understand the cost of NOT doing anything


Prepare and Prevent don’t Repair and Repent

Managing Investments during turbulent times

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2018 has been a rocky road for investors, with any number of data charts, historic analogies and fables to consider

The economic cycle is a changing dynamic and periods of uncertainty can make even the most resolute saver worry.  In the immediate aftermath of drops in ‘markets’, nervous investors can make the situation even less predictable.
There are many drivers to the current market falls and increasing volatility;



  • Longer-term planning

    While markets are swinging wildly, short-term performance does not provide the best point of reference.  Make sure your holdings are diversified, so that you have a chance of ironing out the peaks and troughs

    There is no secret to investing, timing the markets is very stressful and difficult, because you cannot tell how investor sentiment will affect the day to day movements

    For those paying regular contributions, these cycles can add value in future, as the low points provide opportunity and lower cost acquisitions.

      • Recovery from 2008 financial crisis has been longest upward trend for some time and an element of ‘how long can it continue’ has unnerved investors
      • Trade wars between the US and China has had a dramatic effect in the last week, with tech companies taking the initial brunt of turbulance
      • Brexit negotiations have become a stumbling block, as investors want to have something tangible to base future decisions upon
      • Dollar strength has had a negative affect on Asian shares, which predominantly rely on Dollar denominated debt
      • Ending of Quantitative Easing (central bank supporting asset prices) – as asset classes transition away from the recent underpin of injected money, the process will be volatile
      • Divergence of economic performance, where the US is dominating and outpacing other countries in terms of growth, household income and business investment.  The Fed is dealing with this growth to stave inflation, but this is putting additional strain on other markets
      • Volatility is to be expected as markets consider the affects of higher base rates and rising inflation.
      • A large part of the daily equity price falls are driven by concenrs of a recession in the US, spreading globally.  Some view that the recent tax incentives will come back to bite in 2020, as the benefits wear off and the cost to the US Treasury are realised
      • Outside of the daily fluctuations, US growth remains strong supported by fiscal policy, inflation is picking up but not unduly, and the Federal Reserve has been clear on the path of future interest rates.  Elsewhere, growth is moderating but still firmly positive in Europe and Japan while Emerging Markets are facing some idiosyncratic challenges but are generally in good shape
      • On a broader basis global economic growth continues to be positive, estimated to be around 3.7% (IMF 24.09.18), although in areas of uncertainty such as the UK it has fallen – natural fears over Brexit have eaten into consumer and corporate confidence

Investment Plan

Having a plan is essential and keeping to it is where success lies.  Hoping for the best, will not work.

Review your ideals, risk assess your strategy, consider your timescales

The economic back drop changes over time and your investment strategy should consider those changes


Timing the markets is virtually impossible, but Time In the markets can pay off

Paying regularly has good advantages on a long-term investment.  Not only does it instill a sense of discipline to one’s investment habits but also avoids trying to second guess market movements.

Essentially, when investing in an investment fund, your contribution buys units.  When markets rise, you would buy less units, and when they fall, a higher number will be purchased.

As most investment funds fluctuate on a regular basis, your unit purchasing power does the same.  This process is called ‘pound cost averaging’ and it can make for a smoother ride over the longer-term.

Don’t make quick decisions

The temptation to pull your investments is often the first thought.  Cashing in can be expensive, even if it feels like a safer bet.

Many investment funds already hold cash reserves and once out of the market place, there is a cost to starting again later


Longer-term planning

  • While markets are swinging wildly, short-term performance does not provide the best point of reference.  Make sure your holdings are diversified, so that you have a chance of ironing out the peaks and troughs
  • There is no secret to investing, timing the markets is very stressful and difficult, because you cannot tell how investor sentiment will affect the day to day movements
  • For those paying regular contributions, these cycles can add value in future, as the low points provide opportunity and lower cost acquisitions.
  • Taking income from your investments?

Taking Income

  • Consider holding higher levels of Cash, so that you take your income from your cash reserves, inside or outside of your investment portfolio
  • Cash reserves do not rise and fall with asset prices, so your income is coming from a secure element
  • Consider the sustainability of your investment fund against your drawings, so that you can see how it could affect the long-term integrity of your income needs


Take advice

The amount of commentary and information on the worst days of a market cycle can be over-whelming
An experienced Adviser will have worked their way through similar episodes in the economic cycle and while they are all different, many aspects are the same
During tough market cycles, advice helps you take the emotion out of investing and provides an objective view
As experienced advisers, we will interogate the investment funds you hold, so that you can understand exactly where your money is invested.  We can also look at charges and the options you have so that any decisions you make are relevant to you and your expectations

Teaching children the value of money

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We need to talk about money early

It’s amazing the thoughts you have when riding through the lovely local parks

I can’t remember exactly when it started, but I have more and more clients coming to me in their retirement years, seeking to release money from their home to fund retirement, repay mortgages and debts, and in a number of cases it’s for their children and grandchildren

Mortgage providers will now lend up to age 75 and beyond!

There are many reasons people have credit card debt and/or a mortgage in their latter years, tough times, started late, Interest Only mortgage with no repayment vehicle……

Disposable Income

  • If asked, most of us would say it’s the bit left over after bills, food, rent/mortgage, debts
  • How many would include regular savings in necessary expenditure?
  • How many include car, holidays, Christmas, birthdays, socialising in necessary expenditure?

Cost of debt

  • Interest rates are the headline, who can explain what an APR is?
  • To be honest, this is just the long-term physical charge you pay for access to the money you borrow
  • The real lesson that doesn’t appear to be taught, is that if you are borrowing because you cannot afford your lifestyle, the following month, you will have even less income, due to your new monthly debt repayment.
  • This is the start of the cycle.  Seek zero interest cards, pay nothing for 6-months, repeat

Interest might be zero, the debt remains the same as it did 6-months ago


The future

While some are fortunate enough to have willing parents and grandparents, the next generation is likely to find the cupboard bare.  Longer lives, longer retirements, much more hedonistic parents seeking thrills post-retirement, the funds are evaporating much quicker

“Nothing but books, learning and education, that’s why you’re no good at snooker, Rodney”






My 14-year old daughter has taught me a lot about the instant access, want it now, deliver it tomorrow generation.

I set tasks (brush teeth, clean room, communicate with parents) and if she completes them, monetary bonuses are awarded (by said parent)

If we rewind a bit, I have a pre-fund Visa card (aimed specifically at giving parents some oversight and control).  It is App based and the child has a debit card, on to which, I put her allowance on it

Both of us have an App, the parent side shows balances, spending, savings.  Tasks are confirmed by me and I can set the maximum she can spend online, in store and withdraw at an ATM, in a single transaction or in the course of a week.

More importantly, the funds are linked to my bank account, so a direct debit arrangement automatically funds the card at the limits I set.  She can also set savings goals and the App shows graphically how close she is to her target


What have we learned so far?

The main lesson for me, is that when she is saving for something, she won’t spend her own money – that’s a good thing, right?

Well, like all learning curves, we’re still on the climb!  Occassionally, I get something, “I can’t buy (it), as I am saving up, can you put more money on or buy (it) for me

Now in some respects, she’s getting the delayed gratification ideal, but not to the extent where she feels there is other money to be had

So, this leads to our next lesson………

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Young adults (and actual adults, in some cases) can easily believe that there is an infinite source of money, with the plastic in the pocket.  I have advised too many who only experienced the finite element, once the repayment burden overtook income

My daughter is great at telling me she needs that new thing, normally goes like this, “but I have wanted it for ages / always wanted one of those” – (insert since I saw it on Insta / TV / snapchat about 5 minutes ago)

According to, the London living wage is £10.20 per hour

I think that a good lesson for children (and it has to be age appropriate to resonate), is to drive home the correlation between time given and money earned

For instance, next time you are asked for money, tell them to switch off the electronics for 1 hour and see how important that purchase is

Set expectations

Having visual goals is really important to make them consider an instant purchase or delayed gratification

It doesn’t even have to be a thing, could be spending money for holiday or plan a family trip and each person has to put in a specific amount to the communal pot


Jobs and chores for extra money drives home the relationship between work, effort and reward.  Teaching some respect for striving for something

Saving on a regular basis is a great way to instill a sense of discipline to one’s habits and as the fund grows, the attachment to it often makes it harder to spend.  Many clients evolve their habits so that they want to nurture their savings pot and start to hold it with something more than just physical value

Share the wealth

Generation mine, mine, mine has created many Instagram / Youtube channels where the Veneer is one of a lifestyle most can only dream of

I believe that the hardest lesson is giving money away, as it teaches you that you have the power to make someone’s life better and you are in a better position than others

Want to see a confused child?  Give them some money and tell them to give it to someone else or put it in a charity box

Sow the seeds

Parents have a great opportunity to teach children the value of saving for the future

We have helped many parents invest and save money for their children and we are now at the stage with some, that it is time to hand the money over!

To help with this process, we sit down with the child (adult really) and explain how their parents accumulated it, with consistent application, sacrifices of income, so that the relationship is more than just a lump of money, it is work of years

We then discuss the expectations of the recipient and help them decide where best to use it.  We find that most don’t skip off to the Honda showroom, but actually engage with it and do their own research on where they might wish to invest it and continue to build

Who is it really for?

Engaging my daughter has worked for me, I have looked the businesses she supports (Apple, Instagram, YouTube), talked to her about the new industries that she finds interesting (Robotics, AI, fashion etc)

I have then invested some of her nominated money in these areas, which makes it much more exciting and starts the process of correlating that these are businesses, beholden to shareholders and not some mystical App built by the users

Full circle

  • HMRC receipts from Inheritance Tax are at their highest level
  • I have extolled the virtues of ‘Family money’ for many years.
  • Individual family members do not share their accumulated savings, so the first time children know their parents wealth, is when they calculate the tax due on it
  • Why bother saving, why seek the best rates, when you intend to give 40% of it to Tax?
  • While parents are getting 1% on their savings, their children are paying interest on their mortgage of 3% and credit cards at 18%.  Worse still, they are paying rent, essentially, buying a property for their landlord

Time to think differently, time to teach children how to save

We need to halt generation debt, challenge generation rent and build generation financially aware;

  • Open a savings account, put a portion of birthday and Christmas money in it – start the process of saving from income
  • Match their contributions to teach benefits of pooling resources
  • Invest in a Junior ISA – if they are old enough, discuss where it is invested – engage them
  • Set tasks and chores for monetary reward
  • Help them set their own tasks and negotiate the reward
  • Visualise the return – show them statements – picture the final outcome
  • Make sure goals are short, medium and long-term – to maintain their interest

Financial Wellbeing

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A small leak will sink a great ship


We have all seen versions of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (I added essentials for the new Millenium)

How to juggle the important stuff like the impending MOT, bikini body/panic saving for the holiday, while also organising the things other adults seem to manage, like Wills, Mortgages and Savings



Taking a ‘snow day’ in Bushy Park, reminded me  of the reasons that work and play need to balance out.  It also reminded me just how cold open spaces can get!

The kids and dog were covering themselves in snow and making snow angels (albeit in the style of Picasso)

I couldn’t help but see it all as a cunning plan to destroy the bathroom on our return



Hot coffee on the way home, warmed the brain enough to remind me of the following Monday strategy meeting, which has a tendency to test my listening and paying attention skill levels

I mean, I have been known to nod, make eye contact, even throw in the occassional “yes, ahah” – while mentally planning that evenings dinner menu and my entire ‘why it is important to eat brocolli’ negotiations

That table can be found in a mountain side Spa in Paphos – a one time work trip.  Probably favourite Board meeting of my career


 Getting your foundations in place



Protect your family and lifestyle

You might have the mortgage covered, maybe even some other debts

Having a mortgage free home, does not provide for income needs.  If you or your partner dies, or suffers a dibilitating illness, how do you pay the bills, keep the car running, school uniforms, food and so on

  • Who gets the kids from school if you have to work
  • How do you pay for changes to your home on medical issues

We know you cannot necessarily cover every eventuality, but you can protect the roof over your head AND the lifestyle you have built within it

Keep your home

Getting the mortgage is just the beginning

The long-term questions you need to answer will determine how long you can keep it…

  • Keep mortgage interest as low as possible
  • Can you keep making payments if you lose your job
  • Have you got a plan in place to repay your mortgage – or are you only paying the interest
  • What options do you have in later life to pay for your care needs and stay in your home

The mortgage market is changing and one of the biggest movements is the availability of lending for Over 55’s.

Later life mortgages can help you or your parents stay athome, even if care is required.  Many retirees are reaching retirement in debt than we have previously seen.  Re-organising debts is one of key skills and the relief this brings to our clients who have been trying to service expensive debts on a retirement income is palpable

Putting money away for the future

A fundamental part of Financial Wellbeing is building security through savings

Not only is regular saving a good discipline to create, savings get you through the ‘rainy days’, help you to stop the worry of MOT’s, Boiler breakdowns, school trips to name a few

Knowing that you can pay your bills for a few months following redundancy relieves the pressure and worry that often stops people moving forward

There are no rules to saving – you just need to start

Our skill sets will guide you, make it easy and help your understanding as you build your finances going forward, whether it is Pensions, ISA’s or Trust Funds for children and grandchildren

Give up Full-time work

When I first started my career in financial services (Spice Girls had just released Wannabe for a reference point), it was called retirement

However, working with clients now, the philosophy of work / life has entered a new realm

The systems and conversations we employ guide our clients through cash flow plans, income needs and interogation of their assets (employment, pensions, savings, state benefits, house, etc) and plot what income each one can provide and for how long

The strategy might often include continuing to work, but at levels required to sustain the lifestyle they are planning for.  We regularly review, revisit and re-run the cash flow plans to take into account longer holidays, the purchase of a boat in Spain (that is a real example) and any wonderful plans that can be dreamt up so that working becomes choice and income becomes part of your life, not all of it

Inheritance and Legacies

In simple terms…… Writing a Will

Nearly 80% of adults in the UK do not do this

In the simplest of terms…. Who do you want to inherit your estate?

  • Your brothers and sisters
  • Your adult children’s ex-spouse
  • Your ex’s
  • The State
  • Bankruptcy courts
  • Ex-spouses new family
  • None of the above

You can either dictate who gets it, or you can let the State decide


             Easy as …..









Saving for children

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Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers simple… Dr. Seuss


“what do you want to be when you grow up”?

That’s where it starts, but really, should it be Who, not, What?


After the first few years of planning soft play parties and buying £10 presents in every sale, because there is always a party due, we are now spending weekends meeting Youtube idols and Musically stars.

Expressing herself with a Jake hat and meeting ex-tesco worker and youtube multi-millionaire Dan TDM.  Seriously, though… plays minecraft for a living


Putting birthday money away was one thing, but now, looming over the horizon are education costs, moving out, getting married (too early to be planning that?)

Well, the average age of first time buyers is now around 38

So, when do I get to choose the wallpaper in every room again, have that little home studio, downsize, move to the coast.

Who do I want to be when I grow up?


What is availble for children’s savings, short or long-term

The grand-parents always say they want to help or give something to them.  But where and what?
What are the risks and what if I pick the wrong thing, because, let’s be honest, I am going to suffer the shortfalls too
Interest rates on savings accounts seem low, so what other options do parents have?



Places to start

Junior ISA’s

Individual savings accounts (ISAs) are now available to children, and are known as Junior ISAs. These are long-term, tax-free savings accounts. Junior ISAs are available for children up to the age of 18, and the money cannot be withdrawn until the child’s 18th birthday. Anyone can contribute to the account, although the total amount that can be invested during a single tax year is capped at £4,128 (2017/18)

Child Savings Bonds

Offered by friendly societies and allow parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends to all save up to £25 a month on behalf of each child with the benefits then being earned free of further tax. The bond must have a minimum term of 10 years, up to a maximum of 25 years. The contributions must be maintained to earn the tax benefits. However, they do offer a valuable alternative, particularly if you are not the child’s actual parent.


These are a niche choice for investing for children, but can provide a solution in certain circumstances. Investments into a pension attract tax relief on the way in, but tax is payable on any income received.

You can contribute up to £3,600 gross every year in a pension on behalf of your child. That will cost a basic-rate taxpayer just £2,880 as the government adds tax relief, but the child will not be able to access the money until they are 55.

Life Company Regular Savings Plans

These tend to be used by relatively sophisticated investors, particularly expats and international executives. Investors can use them to build up a tax-free lump sum and then assign segments of it to their children. These segments are usually paid out tax-free as long as they fall within a child’s tax-free allowance but, in the meantime, the policyholder retains control of the investment policy.

 Designated Investment Accounts

These are a good alternative to a Junior ISA, if you wish to retain control of the investment once the child reaches 18.  These are simply held in the Parents name(s) and are Designated for the child, and until the parents (or grandparents) decide, the investment is held without the knowledge of the child.

Child Trust Funds (CTF)

Although CTFs were stopped in 2010, millions of parents still have active CTF accounts for their children. Parents, family and friends can add a total of up to £3,600 to the account each year. There is no tax to pay on any income or any gains from the fund.   The account remains in the child’s name and they will ultimately have control over how it is spent.  Some providers will allow you to switch them into a Junior ISA now

Trusts (How to keep control)

Legislation over the past few years has eroded many of the tax-planning advantages of trusts. In general, these are now used to control access to the funds rather than for tax planning.

Income and capital gains are treated as those of the children, which means that they can use all their allowances each year. It also gets round the problem that children cannot hold shares in their own name.