Independent financial advice is about choice. Only an IFA has the experience and resources to access the widest range of financial options to guide you through life's financial maze with appropriate solutions and strategies, a restricted choice will never be the best choice.
Your mortgage provider will insist you have life assurance of some description to pay off the mortgage loan in the event of your death. We can compare the policies that they may offer with the products from other companies. We will also discuss your other circumstances, especially if you have dependants, to ensure you obtain the best policy for you.
Income Replacement Insurance
Income Replacement Insurance can pay you a monthly income to replace your normal salary if you become unable to work through ill health. The benefit can provide up to 2/3 of your normal salary (less state sickness benefit) but as it will normally be tax-free this can almost completely cover your normal income while you remain ill.
Critical Illness Cover
Critical illness cover normally pays out lump sums in the event of you being diagnosed with a specified serious illness such as cancer, a stroke or heart disease.
Redundancy insurance covers specified outgoings like your mortgage payments and related insurance payments for a period of up to one year.
Home and Contents Insurance
Your mortgage lender may not provide you with the most competitive home and contents insurance. By monitoring the insurance market we can provide you with very competitive quotations from insurers. If you would like a quotation, click here
If you are in the fortunate position of having a lump sum, or a regular or occasional excess of income over expenditure, you may wish to consider how best to save or invest it. How you do so will depend on a large number of factors, including whether you wish to derive an income from the investment or whether you wish the capital of the investment to grow, how long you expect to keep the money invested, your tax position etc.
If you require access to funds at short notice, savings accounts at banks or building societies may be appropriate. There your capital is "risk free" but rates of interest may be relatively modest. If you are investing for the long term, however, and are prepared to accept the risk that the value of investments may go down as well as up, in return for the prospect of higher growth in the medium or long term, lots of investment options are open to you. Certain individuals may wish to invest directly in the stockmarket, but for those who wish somewhat less risky investments and to enjoy tax benefits available, we are able to advise on:
The big mistake that people make is to treat money for investing just like money for saving. Deposit based accounts are fine for short term saving needs, but they simply cannot generate enough wealth to cope with major long-term requirements.
The trouble is that stock market investment is a risky business. If you pick the wrong stock you could lose a lot of money. If you are really unlucky you could lose everything. That is why all investors should spread their investment across a range of stocks and shares. This range is often called a portfolio.
However, to achieve an adequate spread requires a lot of money. This puts direct stock market investment beyond the reach of most people. That is where unit trusts come in.
Unit trusts are collective investment schemes that enable investors to pool their money in a fund run by professional investment managers. They were developed in the 1930s to provide big investor benefits to smaller investors.
By dividing the investment across a broad range of stocks and shares, the managers help to spread the risk and ensure that investment objectives are met. The total investment fund is divided into units and as the value of the underlying securities rises and falls so does the value of each unit.
Insurance Company Capital Investment Bonds
A capital investment bond is a unit-linked policy. This means that the bondholder can link the benefits of the bond to one or more of a number of investment funds. The initial capital sum and any further sums are invested in units of the chosen fund (or funds). Prices are calculated each day and the value of the bond at any time will depend on the value of these units. These funds can range from low risk to medium or high risk depending on the individual's attitude to risk. There is also a with-profits fund which grows at a guaranteed rate and provides certain capital guarantees which other funds do not.
After the initial choice of funds has been made the bondholder may later wish to change these fund links. This can be done at any time without incurring liability to capitals gains tax and if further capital sums are invested in the bond they need not be linked to the same funds as the initial investment. The insurance company normally applies charges to manage the investment funds. An initial charge, which covers the costs involved in setting up the bond, is deducted in the form of a 5% spread between the bid and offer prices of a unit. Fund charges cover the cost of managing the investment. If the plan is unit linked the value of units can fall as well as rise.
Although not now usually recommended as a vehicle for repaying an interest-only mortgage, with-profits endowment policies may still be a useful investment method for those wishing long term, relatively low risk investments. Endowment funds are invested in the stock markets but, unlike many of the other investments, here the provider guarantees that once bonuses are allocated they will not later be withdrawn. The effect of the exemption from the normal "the value of your investments may fall as well as rise", however, is that average growth may be less than for other investments. We can provide quotations for such policies as part of our investment advice service.
The steady reduction of the value of state pensions in relation to average earnings, the trend for earlier retirement and the increase in life expectancy make providing a retirement income more important than ever. For most people saving for a pension, whether through a company scheme if available or through a personal pension if not, forms the major part of that plan.
We can advise individuals on a wide variety of pensions as well as advising employers on setting up company schemes.
Once you start building up an investment portfolio you should certainly consider the tax implications for your estate.