Toft Financial Planning
104 Grove Park, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8QB 01565 649491

Financial Planning

In recent years, the Government has introduced new rules that have affected personal pensions, occupational pension, savings, investments and estate planning. This covers most of the areas that we cover in a financial plan (with the exception being life insurance, though this has been affected by the introduction of Relevant Life policies).

Over the last three years, the FTSE 100 has seen a number of ups and downs:

So people investing in funds that follow the FTSE100 index in the last three years will have seen the value drop by over 20% and recover to currently stand at around 8% above the starting value. The ups and downs in value also highlight the importance of regular financial reviews to ensure that investment risk is assessed, particularly if you are planning to withdraw money.

So why don't people carry out regular reviews? Well, two possible reasons could be they don't get round to it and they are worried about the cost. At Toft Financial, we arrange and conduct annual face to face reviews with our advisory clients (as well as interim reviews should the clients so wish) and the cost of these reviews is included in our continued advice fee, which is explained and detailed during our initial financial planning meetings.

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Retirement Planning

The pensions landscape seems to have changed somewhat - the number of people following the traditional model of someone reaching their pension scheme retirement age, receiving their 'Gold clock' and going from working full time one day to being fully retired the next, is reducing (partly down to the closure of many final salary pension schemes).

Now, many people are considering a more gradual retirement, where they go from working full time to working part time (or changing to a different role) in the lead up to retiring and consequently they need their pension to be more flexible.

The introduction of Pension Freedom in April 2016 has gone some way to helping this.

Conversely, the reductions in pensions lifetime allowances and annual allowances has made some pensions less flexible as individuals and pension scheme members are concerned by a potential 55% tax charge on part of their pension.

Reviewing pensions on a regular basis is important for three reasons:

  1. To see how the pension (and other assets) are aligned to future plans. We assess this using a cash flow model, which we use to look at future income and expenditure.
  2. To see if and how the pension has been affected by changes to pension rules and what, if anything needs to be done in relation to this.
  3. To review how the funds held in the pension are performing and how their risk profile relates to the time remaining before income (or a tax free lump sum) start to be taken from the pension.

We carry out annual reviews with our financial planning clients (in some instances, the reviews are more frequent when a client is approaching their retirement). These reviews help to answer the key questions and give clients reassurance that they are on track to meet their financial goal.

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Estate Planning

If you have property or other assets over the value of £5,000, then your valid and up-to-date will should express to your family and loved ones, what you want to happen after your death.

Is your will up to date and does it represent your wishes for your assets and your children upon your death? Call Toft Financial to discuss how we can help.

Within your will, you nominate those people you trust the most to carry out your wishes. They are your executors and trustees of your estate. These people will carry out all the practical things after your death. You will also appoint guardians for young children. These will be the people who will bring up your children as you would have wished until they reach an age when they can make their own decisions in life.

You can nominate gifts to loved ones and ensure that your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate are known. You can even begin to protect property, mitigate Inheritance Tax and protect vulnerable or young beneficiaries using trusts within your will.

Without an up to date, valid will you leave behind an uncertainty, more costs and the law will dictate how your estate is distributed. You will effectively have no say.

So:

  • How would you feel if your spouse/partner became impoverished because you didn't make a will?
  • How would you feel if social services put your children into care because you didn't make a valid will?
  • How would you feel if your family had to pay excessive legal fees because you didn't make a will?

We can answer, reassure and advise you on the following:

  • How can I avoid the state getting my life savings once I am gone?
  • How can I avoid leaving uncertainties for my family to sort out?

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