At both Brunel and Pilgrim, our core values are to continually improve, to care, to be fair, accountable and authentic and these inform what we do. They also motivate us to get involved in activities in our wider community through fundraising and charity work.
We are actively encouraged to get involved with causes that matter to us whether it be by giving time and energy to volunteer, donating money to the charities that touch us or sponsoring colleagues. As a company the Bristol office supports several very worthwhile causes which include Children’s Hospital South West and in Wells we support Dementia through the Wells Dementia Action Alliance.
But it is not only us who contribute to worthwhile causes, many of our clients also support charities and not for profit organisations again through giving time, expertise or financial support and they tell us how rewarding this can be, and they often feel they receive more than they give by helping others.
The act of giving money away has often been seen as the reserve of few who have great wealth which allows them to be philanthropic. However, we now see an increasing number of clients who list charitable giving as one of their financial planning goals.
Leaving a financial legacy in a Will has historically been the most popular option as the notion is that, when you die, affordability is no longer an issue. However, for clients who have gone through the financial planning process and where we have been able to demonstrate affordability, they have often chosen to make charitable donations during their lifetime. This has given them enormous fulfillment as they are able see the good their money can achieve firsthand.
In addition to making a difference in society, charitable giving comes with some significant tax advantages. For the income taxpayers among us, most donations (there are a few exceptions) can be gift aided to the charity. This means that for every £1 you donate, the charity you donate to can gross this payment up to £1.25 i.e you receive tax relief at the basic income tax rate of 20%. For higher rate and additional rate taxpayers, additional income tax relief can be claimed through their self-assessment tax return.
There are a number organisations that are able to receive shares and units in collective investment schemes. This has the added advantage of wiping any Capital Gains held within the investments you donate.
For those wishing to leave a legacy in their Will, all gifts to charity are free of inheritance tax (IHT) and since April 2012, anyone willing to bequeath a minimum of 10% of their net taxable estate to charity, can apply for a reduction in the rate of IHT applied to the remainder of their estate from 40% to 36%. The result is that a 10% gift of your net estate to charity has an effective tax relief of 76% if your estate has an IHT liability.
An ongoing commitment to professional development is important for all Financial Planners, however Neil Pinney of Pilgrim Financial Planning in Wells has taken this commitment to the highest level by becoming a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS). This is the highest qualification awarded by the PFS and underlines Neil’s technical knowledge, experience and professionalism. Neil commented that “professional development is important for Financial Planners as regulations are constantly changing and we need to ensure we have the ability to deal with clients often complex affairs”.
Neil and his colleague Dan Hiles in Bristol, who is also a Fellow, are part of a select group across the world who have attained this prestigious qualification.
We are proud to sponsor an initiative which provides Bristol Bears Rugby Academy under 14 and under 15’s with the opportunity to play competitively at a number of inter centre festivals across Avon and Somerset.
Gary Townsend Academy Development Manager commented “This initiative allows (the boys) to play with the freedom to express themselves without any pressures on outcome and to benchmark their progress in an informal representative environment”
Damien Rylett explained the reason for Brunel Capital Partner’s involvement. “We are glad that with our contribution, more boys are getting an opportunity to be the best they can be and play the game they love. One of our values as a firm is to be continually improving which dovetails nicely with the ethos of the Bristol Bears Academy”.
A grand total of £1,534.50 was raised by all those taking part in the Memory Walk around Wells. Some of these funds have contributed to Christmas Parties for those living with Dementia and their carers at the Lawrence Centre and local mental health charity “Heads Up”. We were also pleased to help with the costs of setting up the Memory Café in Wells which launches on Wednesday 30th January, If anyone would like further details please contact the Wells Office.
Arnold Wills, Director of Pilgrim and Chairman of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance said “Well done to all those that took part in the walk and made it such a successful event. Its fantastic that we are able to increase the services available to those living with Dementia and their carers in our local community”
Investing is easy! (it’s staying on track that is hard)
Let’s start with some cold hard facts.
How would you react when faced with these events?
Fortunately, once we know these events are not only likely they are inevitable, we can start to
accept them as a normal part of investing and plan accordingly. Indeed, we should (with time and
experience) come to embrace them as evidence that the system continues to operate normally.
That doesn’t mean we can all sit there with big smiles on our faces as we watch our valuations fall
but it does mean we can be better prepared to control our actions in response to the falls.
Unfortunately, it is human nature to want to be proactive in these situations and somehow protect
ourselves from the ‘hurt’ of seeing the paper value of our investments falling, however the potential
impact of acting at these times can be devastating to financial outcomes.
We have previously talked about the importance of having a sound financial plan in place – which will be unique to you and your life’s journey. What will also be exclusive to you are the underlying investments that help you achieve your plan. Without a plan you cannot determine what these investments will look like or how you need them to perform. These investments and their inherent performance will vary for each of our clients, what is right for some clients won’t be for others, that is why we say don’t look at performance in isolation.
You will always hear a lot of background noise in the press and the media regarding performance but like a lot of news this is a distraction from the important facts and can lead people in the wrong direction.
Chasing performance is a trap that many people fall into without knowing what they really need to achieve. It is important to take time at the outset to really understand your goals and how and if you can achieve them.
Focusing on performance doesn’t tell you if you’re on target to achieve your financial goals. It’s one of many indicators to help direct you, but without a good financial plan, you have no idea if you’re heading in the right direction. You might be happy with your portfolio’s current performance, but that doesn’t mean you are prepared to ride the wave when the markets fall.
You may often hear fund managers being hailed as heroes based on the performance they have achieved. While this maybe outstanding, it is with good reason that we always state past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. It may be an indicator but not one you can rely on.
Many people compare the performance of their investments with benchmarks such as the FTSE 100, however investments aligned with the FTSE 100 may not be appropriate for you. It may not have the right combination of shares, gilts and bonds that will help you to achieve your goals or that you are comfortable with. So, save yourself the worry and focus on what’s important for you and what you can control.
Another discipline a financial plan provides is taking a long term view and not making impulsive decisions based on what is going on around us. Several studies have shown that investors as a group tend to underperform because they chase performance. This can mean they will buy investments that have recently performed well and are therefore at a high price and sell those that have not performed well when their value maybe at rock bottom. Making knee jerk decisions can often contradict your long term goals, it is much more beneficial to stay with your lifetime plan.
Of course, we will always consider performance however the main focus must be on what is important to you. This will mean that you are more likely to reach your personal goals with less to worry along the way …………….and as a result enjoy life!
As a Group Brunel and Pilgrim are delighted to announce their continued sponsorship of Josh Bayliss a rising star at Bath Rugby. Josh was awarded Academy Player of the Year for 2017-2018 season, before signing his first senior contract and moving to the 1st team in June 2018. We wish both Josh and Bath a successful season as he continues to add to his first team appearances.
Arnold Wills was delighted to present West Mendip Hospital with 50 tea pots on behalf of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance (WDAA). The tea pots will be used to help those living with dementia to retain their independence as they prepare to return home at the end of their hospital stay.
Pilgrim Financial Planning became founding members of the WDAA after Arnold and Julie found shops in Wells showed Arnold’s mother such kindness and assistance as she struggled living alone and trying to cope with her dementia.
The year before Sybil went into residential care was a huge struggle. Julie and Arnold found it very difficult to find out what support networks existed and where practical help and advice could be found. They set out to ensure others would find help more easily and that there would be a greater understanding of dementia across the community in Wells.
The Pilgrim team attended an awareness session and became “Dementia Friends” and to date 1,250 people across businesses and organisations in Wells and the surrounding area have become Dementia Friends.
The WDAA comprises of representatives from local businesses, civic organisations, health and social care providers, schools, faith groups and rescue services and Wells has now become a Dementia Friendly City. The Alliance aims to raise awareness and remove barriers for those living with dementia and those that care for them so they are supported by the community as whole.
For more information on how to become a Dementia Friend visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk
On July 7th, with temperatures well into the 20C’s staff from the Bristol office headed off to the Lake District National Park for their two day challenge to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West.
Saturday saw a 3½ hour climb up the rocky and steep slopes of Scafell Pike to the summit and 2 hours to come down again………knowing a cool drink was waiting at a local hostelry was a great motivator. While we were all exhausted and well baked by the sun it was a great feeling to have completed the toughest climb (978metres) of the two days.
Sunday morning, we started our ascent of Old Man of Coniston, and were thrilled to stumble across a fresh water lake two thirds of the way up, we just couldn’t resist a dip. We made it up and back down the ‘Old Man’ in 5 hours.
We were all really pleased to have completed the challenge for Children’s Hospice South West who do a fantastic job supporting children with life limiting conditions and their families and are looking forward to our next trek. We raised a total of £1,300 , smashing our target by £300, a big thank thank you to all those who contributed.
We all know people who aren’t sure whether they need a financial planner, don’t need a financial planner, or don’t know what a financial planner is. Two years ago, I was discussing some ‘rules of thumb’ with a friend whose son had recently left university and, for the first time, had become financially independent. My friend passed the tips on to her son and recently told me that they’ve helped him to feel financially on track.
Passing on some common sense when it comes to personal finance can be seriously powerful and occasionally life changing. With that in mind, if you know anyone who needs help with their finances, here are a few basic tips you can pass on to them to offer a little help:
These four habits require effort, practice and they are only the beginning of a true financial plan (let us not forget inflation!) but they can really build a solid foundation for a financially secure future and we all want that for the people we care about.
Finally (and this will probably be the most uncomfortable part of the conversation), tell them to plan for the worst, insure any loans that they take out (mortgages for example), find a couple of people they trust and set up Lasting Powers of Attorney and remind them that it’s only polite to your family and friends to speak to a solicitor and leave a Will.
I hope this does help someone in your life as much as it has helped those in mine, but at the very least, I hope it answers the question of whether your friends and family need a financial planner or not, or even just gives them an idea of what a financial planner is!