Can we talk about our money, please?

It’s good to talk. But talking about money can be difficult, particularly as doing so has traditionally been taboo in this country. Despite many of us getting better at talking about other personal issues like relationships or our health, we still find money a tricky topic. Read more …

What is a paraplanner?

BoardquestionmarkClients will probably be aware that we employ a number of paraplanners at Brunel but even our current clients, as well as anyone who does not currently work with us, may be at a loss as to what a paraplanner does.

Although they are not often seen on the client-facing side of things, Sarah, Andy and Dan – the Brunel paraplanners – fulfil a vital role for clients within Brunel. Indeed, paraplanners in the wider industry make a great contribution to financial planning, acting as a vital and expert research, analysis and client services function, working in tandem with the financial planner to deliver clients’ financial plans.

The role is a sophisticated one and many paraplanners are equally as qualified as the financial adviser they work with, often holding Certified Financial Planner status or other relevant financial planning qualifications. At Brunel, Sarah holds the IFP Accredited Paraplanner qualification and Andy and Dan are both on track to achieve the same very soon. Whilst the adviser will see the client on a regular basis and gather the details of their aims and goals, the paraplanner will then work with the adviser and this information to establish the plan for the client.

If the plan is already in place, either entirely or in part, the paraplanner may produce something called a suitability report which is essentially a thorough assessment of the financial plan. This is extremely important, as it operates as a ‘second check’ to make sure that the plan being put in place meets things such as the client’s attitude to risk and puts them in a good position to achieve their financial goals.

Paraplanners make up a great part of the Brunel team and are vital in ensuring our planning service for clients is accurate, timely and works towards their financial planning goals. You might not see Sarah, Andy and Dan often but rest assured: they’re here, working for you!

ISAs: now much NISA

Virtually all the headlines surrounding George Osborne’s recent Budget were about the changes to the pensions rules. Rightly described as the biggest changes to pensions legislation for a hundred years, they will have far-reaching implications for the financial planning of many of our clients.

With all the attention devoted to pensions, it was easy to overlook a radical overhaul of the rules governing Individual Savings Accounts – ISAs as they were formerly known and NISAs (New Individual Savings Accounts) as they’ll now be called.

Read more …

The 8 most important points from the 2014 Budget

The Chancellor may have gone for the popular phrase from Chancellors of yore by taking ‘a penny off a pint’, but what were the real big announcements during The Budget 2014? We summarise the 8 main points: Read more …

The 8 most important points from the 2014 Budget

The Chancellor may have gone for the popular phrase from Chancellors of yore by taking ‘a penny off a pint’, but what were the real big announcements during The Budget 2014? We summarise the 8 main points:

1. Changes to pensions mean many more options than just buying an annuity

In measures to be introduced in April 2015, pensioners will have complete flexibility on how much of their pension they want to take at retirement, effectively eliminating the need to buy an annuity. This opens up many more options for what to do with your pension in your retirement years. Read more …

Road to nowhere

JAR_FAMILY_BWHave 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 assets. 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 posed with the question “What are you trying to achieve?” common answers include “Growth”, “Income” or even “Outperformance”. This is why it is important that financial planners reframe the question and talk in terms of aspirations, goals, dreams, beliefs and visions.

In the past, many financial advisers have concentrated their efforts and time on the money and not enough on their clients and their real fears and burning questions. Questions like “What do I need to do to ensure that I never run out of money?”, “How much do I need to earn, save or sell my business for to give me what I want out of life?”, “When can I afford to stop doing the things that have become a drag and start doing things I really enjoy?”, “What do I need to do to ensure that my family is totally financially secure, whatever happens?” and perhaps the biggest question of all is “How much is enough?”

Read more …

Why Directors and Business Owners fail to plan their retirement

Postit(retire)Company directors and owners of SMEs make plans and do forecasts all the time. Cash flow forecasts, SWOT analyses, plans for renewals and refurbishment; there’s hardly a day when they’re not eyeball to eyeball with a spreadsheet.

So why do so many of them fail to plan their own retirements properly? In our experience company directors and owners of SMEs are so wrapped up running their business that they often forget their own financial planning – or simply don’t see it as a priority. There is clearly a need for more directors to plan properly: why do so many of them fail to do so?

Over the years we’ve probably been given half a dozen answers when we’ve asked that question. As you’ll see, none of them really hold water…

Read more …

New Year Financial Resolutions

As 2014 begins, our minds may momentarily turn to those personal finance tasks that we have been putting off. So why not seize the moment and start the year with one or more of them cleared from your ‘can wait for another day’ pile. Here are our five top tips to get you started:

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Don’t Fall in Love – the Most Common Mistakes Investors Make

This is the first part of a two part article, where we’ve taken a look at some of the common mistakes investors make when they’re buying and selling stocks and shares and other investments. We’ve identified ten mistakes – and this month, we take a look at the first five.

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End Of Tax Year – Important Information

Individual Savings Accounts

The overall personal limit for an Individual Savings Account (ISA) for the current tax year is £11,280 and this will increase to £11,520 for the new tax year commencing on April 6th. It’s important to note that if you are only contributing to a cash ISA then the maximum is exactly half the overall allowance – so £5,640 and £5,760 respectively. The other key point is that if you don’t use your ISA allowances for this tax year then they are lost – they can’t be ‘carried forward’ to the next tax year.

Read more …

Brunel Capital Partners is a sister company of Pilgrim Financial Planning