‘It won’t happen to me’

Britons not planning financially for long-term sickness

Only one in five UK people have income protection cover in the event of becoming too ill or disabled to work according to research published by insurer Zurich. This is despite the fact that as many as 42% have experienced income loss in their working lives due to serious illness. The findings indicate that people still have an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude despite having suffered the consequences first-hand.

Raise awareness

Only 19% of respondents claim to have a good knowledge of income protection products, suggesting that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the product’s benefit, including swift access to rehabilitation as well as financial support. This lack of understanding also seems to extend to price, with many overestimating how much cover costs. Over a quarter of respondents said they would be willing to spend 5% of their income on it, though such cover can be bought for significantly less. Continue reading…

Investing during market volatility

Whether seeking income, growth or both, there are some basic rules to follow

Volatile financial markets are an inevitable part of investing. On a day-to-day basis, the swings in stock market prices can be significant. However, over the longer term, things have tended to smooth out, with daily volatility having a lower impact on overall portfolios.

Market fluctuations

That said, while this has happened in the past, it may not necessarily happen in the future. In the short term, market fluctuations like we’ve seen recently can be unnerving and make you ‘feel’ as if you’re losing money. That’s why it’s crucial at times like this that you focus on staying calm and taking a long-term view, avoiding locking in short-term losses, and making sure you’re properly diversified. Continue reading…

Active or passive? That is the question

Choosing a management style that’s right for you

Investors are faced with one of the most basic questions: do you want to put your money in ‘actively’ or ‘passively’ managed funds?

Deciding if you would prefer your investment ‘actively’ or ‘passively’ managed is an important consideration and a useful step towards narrowing your choice of funds to invest in. Your first consideration is deciding how you want your investments managed. Are you looking for a fund that will be impacted by an individual fund manager’s choice of investments? Or are you more interested in keeping charges lower and prefer one that simply reflects the performance of a major index, such as the FTSE 100? Continue reading…

Currency movements

Protecting your portfolio

Investors should not try to predict currency movements, but you can act to protect your portfolio. Investing in foreign securities, while potentially a good thing for your long-term portfolio, may continue to pose new threats for investors.

As more people broaden their investment portfolios by expanding into foreign stocks and bonds, they must also bear the risk associated with fluctuations in exchange rates. Fluctuations in these currency values, whether the home currency or the foreign currency, can either enhance or reduce the returns associated with foreign investments. Continue reading…

Financial strife

Keeping your investments safe

After nearly a decade of low interest rates and central banks pumping money into financial markets, traditional safe haven investments have become expensive, so where could investors look to keep their investments safe?

Gold, the US dollar, ‘defensive’ stocks such as utilities and pharmaceuticals, government bonds, cash – what do they have in common? In times of economic stress and market volatility, they are seen as safe havens for investors. Continue reading…

Empty nest, empty wallet

Parents putting financial health at risk to fund university costs

When it comes to funding a university education, it is parents and grandparents who typically look to provide the money. But even though this may be the case, last year’s graduates from English universities still left with an average of £44,000 debt (source: Sutton Trust), with some parents still, on average, expecting their children to leave university with £23,000 debt. Continue reading…

Setting up a trust

Choosing the right structures can protect assets and give your family lasting benefits

The structures into which you can transfer your assets can have lasting consequences for you and your family, and it is crucial that you choose the right ones. The right structures can protect assets and give your family lasting benefits. A trust can be used to reduce how much Inheritance Tax your estate will have to pay on your death. Continue reading…

Inheritance Tax

Securing more of your wealth for your loved ones

Protecting your estate is ultimately about securing more of your wealth for your loved ones and planning for what will happen after your death to make the lives of your loved ones much easier.  Continue reading…

Power of Attorney

Permitting someone to act on your behalf when you are no longer mentally capable of making decisions

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to give someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf. There are several different types of Power of Attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – previously called an ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ – allows your attorneys to make decisions for you when you no longer wish to, or when you lack the mental capacity to do so. Continue reading…

Making a will

An essential part of your financial planning

Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. If you make a will, you can also make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than you need to. It’s an essential part of your financial planning: not only does it set out your wishes, but, die without a Will, and your estate will generally be divided according to the rules of intestacy, which may not reflect your wishes. Without one, the state directs who inherits, so your loved ones, relatives, friends and favourite charities may get nothing. Continue reading…