Your Brunel team update

Now that summer is finally upon us, we hope you’ve been able to find some time to get outside and enjoy the sun! Whether you prefer a hike in the hills or to sunbathe in the comfort of your garden, there’s no better time to be outside in the fresh air.

It’s been a busy few months for us here at Brunel and there’s certainly a lot to talk about, so read on for your latest team update.

Kate’s night trek up Mount Snowdon

Kate Harris, our operations manager, undertook the challenge to climb Mount Snowdon to raise money for a charity very close to her heart. 18 months ago, Kate tragically lost her mother to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a serious breathing disorder.

Given her mother’s Welsh heritage and love of hiking, Kate and her sister decided that the best way to honour their mother’s memory was with a sponsored night walk up Mount Snowdon. The proceeds of their incredible effort would be donated to the Lung Foundation charity to help other sufferers of the disease.

While the two were no strangers to long hikes, doing it at night was a new challenge. Setting off in the late evening, the group began their long trek. There was an incredible spirit of teamwork, with everyone helping and encouraging the others, so after only three and a half hours of hard work, they finally reached the summit.

For Kate, one of the most memorable moments of the hike was on the return. As the group were halfway down the mountainside, the sun began to rise over the far hills. The view, and her sense of achievement, was unforgettable.

Not only had her challenge created amazing memories, but it had raised an incredible £1,600 for the Lung Foundation. We are all very proud of her achievement and are sure you’ll join us in congratulating her for her efforts.

Director Peter Hill’s retirement

In May, we said goodbye to Peter Hill, a director and one of the original founders of the business. Having spent his whole career working in financial services, he is now leaving for a well-deserved break.

For the last 10 years, Peter has poured all his energy into developing our business, putting together a first-rate team to deliver high-quality service for all of our clients.

We were lucky enough to give him a proper send-off at his home in Bishop Sutton, with a great afternoon of fun and games in the lovely weather.

Peter’s drive, ambition, and boundless enthusiasm will be greatly missed and we’re sure that everyone who knew him will join us in wishing him a long and happy retirement.

The re-opening of our offices

The coronavirus pandemic has been very challenging for us in recent months and so, like most other businesses, we’ve had to adapt.

In the past few months most of our team have been working remotely, aside from a small presence who remained in our offices. Now that the government has eased the restrictions, we are delighted to tell you that our staff have been able to return to the workplace.

Like many firms, we have given our team the option to work flexibly, depending on their preferences. We are all looking forward to experiencing the buzz of the office again, being able to enjoy each other’s company and bounce ideas off one another to deliver high-quality client service.

If you’re visiting us in Wells, you’ll also get to meet our newest team member, Sally Brooks. She has just joined our client services team and will now be the first point of contact for our clients.

While our offices have reopened, we’d like to assure you that we’re taking appropriate measures to keep both you and our staff as safe as possible while returning to some level of normalcy.

As always, if you ever need to speak to us for any reason, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Please email team@brunelcp.com or call us on 0117 214 0870.

Our top 7 books about freedom that you should read this summer

The pandemic has been a difficult time for many people but, at long last, some of our freedoms have been returned. After many long months, the UK has taken its first step on the long road out of the pandemic restrictions.

One of the best ways to relax in summer is by sitting down in the sun with a cold drink and a good book, whether on the beach or in your back garden. So, to celebrate the loosening of lockdown restrictions, here are our top seven books about freedom.

1. The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill

Starting off with the classic story of one of the most well-known escapes in history, The Great Escape is the exciting tale of how hundreds of captured British soldiers worked together to organise an incredible breakout from Nazi captivity during the war.

Their task was no easy feat, as the infamous prison camp was supposedly escape-proof. But right under the noses of their guards, they dug tunnels, forged passports, and stitched German uniforms to help them make a break for it.

The escape was well-organised and timed to the second but, of course, sometimes not everything goes according to plan…

This book is an incredible account of ingenuity and courage in the face of danger, proving that real life can be just as exciting as fiction.

2. The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton

When ordinary housewife Lorraine Anderson comes home one day to find her husband in bed with her best friend, she decides to put on her coat, set off for Gatwick airport, and never look back.

A heart-warming novel, this book follows Lori’s journey of self-exploration as she slowly discovers who she really is under the titles of wife, mother, and business owner. As she encounters new opportunities, the reader gets to watch her blossom to her full, realised self.

A brilliant book that’s hard to put down, The Backpacking Housewife is an excellent read for anyone craving a bit of summer escapism.

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

In New London, everyone is happy. A perfect society has been achieved through mind-altering drugs, hypnotic conditioning, and the destruction of family bonds. Happiness itself has been distilled down into a pill that can make you forget about anything bad that ever happens.

But there is one person who is unhappy, a scientist called Bernard Marx, whose job in hypnotic conditioning gives him some perspective on how flawed their society really is. His journey to find meaning in this world leads him to explore what it really means to be happy.

Huxley’s classic dystopian novel is a thrilling read and sits at number five on the Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Even though it was written in 1932, its vision of the future is both terrifying and believable.

4. Persuasion by Jane Austen

One of the great Victorian novels, Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last novel and is generally thought of as her most mature.

The heroine of this book is the 27-year-old Anne, who, as an unmarried young woman, is effectively a prisoner of her overbearing father and is trapped in the gilded cage of her family mansion. Worse still, she has no true companions and is surrounded by some of the worst people that high society has to offer.

But when Anne reconnects with an ex-fiancé, whom her family pressured her to leave, this gives her the opportunity for a second chance at love and the possibility of escape from her family.

A beautifully written novel, Persuasion is full of humour and is sure to warm the heart of any reader.

5. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Number five on our list is The Thing Around Your Neck by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This collection of short stories explores a variety of topics, from romantic heartbreak to the difficulty of immigrants to adapt to life in their new country.

A compelling book that addresses many difficult topics, such as religious tolerance, sexual freedom, and economic exploitation in modern Africa, it is as engaging as it is thought-provoking.

6. Freedom by Daniel Suarez

In the much-talked-about sequel to the 2006 novel Daemon, Detective Pete Sebeck returns to help lead a small band of enlightened humans fight against the odds in this terrifying techno-thriller.

Leading on from the prequel, the malicious computer program known as the Daemon is firmly in control, silently using a network of spies to tear down society and rebuild it according to its own wishes.

As civil war breaks out in the American Midwest, Sebeck is forced to lead a populist uprising and fight against the powers that be. In a world of conflicted loyalties and rapidly crumbling authority, humanity’s freedom itself is at stake.

An excellent read for any fans of the cyberpunk genre, Freedom is definitely worth a read this summer.

7. The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz

Slavomir Rawicz was a young cavalry officer in the Polish army, but when the Soviets occupied eastern Poland in 1939, he was arrested by the communist secret police. After they beat a confession out of him for things that he had never done, he was sent to a work camp in the farthest reaches of Siberia.

Camp life was brutal for the prisoners and so he and several others formulated an escape plan. They trekked over four thousand miles through Siberian forests, Mongolian deserts, and even the Himalayan mountains to reach freedom in British India.

Rawicz’s incredible journey is a breathtaking true story of survival against the odds and resourcefulness in the face of danger.

3 useful financial lessons to teach your children and grandchildren

Learning how to manage your money effectively is a key life skill. If you want to build your wealth, it’s important to start from a solid foundation of financial sense.

While you will already have these necessary skills, you may have loved ones who don’t. According to the National Student Money Survey, 71% of respondents said they wish that they’d received better financial education when they were younger.

If you want your loved ones to know how to manage money once they’re old enough to fly the nest, there are a few things you can do to help them. Here are three useful financial lessons to teach them.

1. The importance of developing good saving habits

If you want to instil good financial habits, one of the most important lessons that you can teach your younger relatives is the importance of saving money for a rainy day.

While something as simple as a piggy bank can be a great way to introduce young children to the concept, when they get a bit older, you may also want to consider something a bit more sophisticated.

Setting up a junior savings account on behalf of your child can be a great way to encourage good habits and build their financial knowledge. You could also help them to pick an account, which would give you an opportunity to explain aspects of saving such as what the interest rate is. Junior savings accounts tend to attract a better rate than those for adults and they could monitor the rate and let you know if it changes.

Once it’s set up, it can be a good idea to talk to them about how much of their pocket money they’d like to save each month and how much is available to spend.

Once they get a bit older and get their own phone, you may want to introduce them to apps such as RoosterMoney, which can teach them more about managing their money. This allows them to transfer pocket money and set savings goals so they can see the benefits and rewards of saving.

2. How to budget effectively

Another useful skill to teach younger family members is how to budget effectively, as this is one of the cornerstones of sensible financial planning.

This can also be particularly useful if your loved ones may one day go to university. According to the National Student Money Survey, 1 in 10 of the respondents said they had never budgeted before leaving home.

Many of us have experienced how growing children (and especially teenagers) are never full, which is why food can be one of the easiest ways to teach lessons about budgeting.

One example is to make a snack list for your weekly shop and letting your younger relatives pick which items they want within a budget. You can also use this method to encourage healthy eating by making a piece of fruit cheaper and junk food more expensive.

When they get a bit older, you can also get them involved in meal planning and preparation. Not only is knowing how to cook a useful skill for any child to learn, but it can also teach them important lessons about budgeting and substitution.

3. How overdrafts and credit work

As your loved ones get a bit older, you may want to start teaching them more complicated lessons about managing their money. Explaining to them about overdrafts and credit can be useful, as it may prevent them making costly mistakes.

It can be easy, especially for younger people, to view the overdraft as essentially free money. This is particularly true for students, who often benefit from 0% interest on their overdrafts.

Of course, this isn’t the case and that’s why it’s important to teach your loved ones that an overdraft should only be relied upon as a last resort. If they fall too deep into their overdrafts, they may rack up hefty charges.

Another important lesson can be how to use credit effectively. While many young adults don’t feel the need to get a credit card as soon as they are eligible, it can still be helpful for them to know more about how they work.

Credit can be useful, such as when making large purchases, it can also have potential downsides too. Getting too deep into debt is an obvious one but relying on credit can also leave them open to one major problem – the risk of missing payments.

If they do, it could harm their credit score. This would seriously impact their financial wellbeing and could make it more difficult to purchase a home later in life.

Sitting down with your loved ones and explaining to them the risks of relying on credit can help them avoid running into problems later on.

Get in touch

No matter what stage of life you’re at, there are always financial lessons that you can learn. If you have questions about your or your family’s financial affairs, get in touch. Please email team@brunelcp.com or call us on 0117 214 0870.

Brunel Capital Partners is a sister company of Pilgrim Financial Planning