Now that we are in the meteorological winter, which weather forecasters claim runs from the 1st December to the end of February and Advent, what is important for investors is whether we will enjoy a “Santa’s rally” this year. Past experience suggests December is more likely than not to deliver a positive result for investors, though why this should be the case is far from clear.
Have you ever jumped into your car, started the engine and just driven aimlessly, with no thought of where you are headed? No, I thought not. It is amazing, however, how many people take this approach with their investment portfolio. This will often involve huge sums of money that have taken many years of hard work and disciplined saving to accumulate.
Without a clear objective or idea of what you are trying to achieve, it is very difficult to bring meaning to your money. When faced with the question, “What are you trying to achieve?” common answers include ‘Growth’, ‘Income’ or even ‘Outperformance’. This is why it is important for us as financial planners to reframe the question and talk in terms of aspirations, goals, dreams, beliefs and visions.
Just over four months ago, George Osborne delivered his second Budget of 2015, following the Conservative Party’s outright victory in the May general election. At that moment, the view from 11, Downing Street must have looked remarkably pleasant. Osborne’s handling of the economy was widely credited with playing a large – if not pivotal – part in the election victory. Boris Johnson and Theresa May, the Chancellor’s two main rivals in the race to succeed David Cameron, were both listing badly – albeit they hadn’t quite run aground.
Our first ever investment conference was held recently – and most successful it was, too. The background was a subdued market where the FTSE 100 Share Index had lost a little over 1% in the week before – hardly a game changing experience and nothing that a good day’s trading shouldn’t recover. Oil had recovered a bit, though Brent crude is still trading below $50. And the pound had recovered a little against the euro to stand at around €1.40, to stand at a little over 71p.
National Insurance contributions go towards things like your State Pension but they don’t count towards the costs of social care. This type of care is managed by your local authority and generally comes at a price. That is why you have to apply directly to them if you need help with paying for long-term care. Your local authority (or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland) will first carry out a Care Needs Assessment to find out what support you need.
Last year we went over and above the call of duty in our Autumn Statement Preview: we combed the Chancellor’s Twitter feed to look for clues as to what might be in his speech. Obviously we have had to do the same this year but, sadly there has been no mention of November 25th’s Autumn Statement in his 140 character life story so far, so it looks like we’ll need to do some rather more in depth research.
Following on from our last article, ‘Learning from these 5 Bristol business successes’, we’ve found 5 more local businesses who we think are worth celebrating. We are proud to be based in the thriving city of Bristol and value the success of all businesses who contribute to our local economy.
(If you are involved in a local business or organisation with a success story then do let us know – we’d love to feature you in a future article!)
As you can imagine, we’re asked a lot of questions by clients. We are, of course, here to answer them, but it pays to be prepared! Here then are the two questions we’re asked most often, so that, if you haven’t answered them already, you can start to think about how the answer might work for you.
When can I stop work?
Deciding on a retirement date can, initially, be mainly an emotional choice. You might just feel ready to stop working, or always have had an age in mind where you no longer wanted to have to go into the office every day.
In our blog post last month, we talked about the need to look ‘beyond the numbers’, to look at what mattered to you and how financial planning is a different activity than merely organising your finances in the most appropriate and tax efficient way.
This month, we wanted to take those ideas forward a few steps and explore them a little further.
Take money as a starting point. Money is normally accepted as the driver of all things. Indeed, we are ‘financial’ planners and we help our clients with money matters.
I am old enough to remember the first crop of state sell-offs under the Thatcher government in the early 1980s. Actually, I am sufficiently old to remember the de-nationalisation of the steel
industry, but that’s another story. Now, under the first proper Conservative administration for eighteen years, it seems we are returning to the age of “tell Sid”, for those who remember the campaign to encourage us to buy shares in British Gas. Lloyds Bank shares are to be made available to private investors, with smaller potential buyers being prioritised. Popular capitalism may be on its way back.