Money matters: Financial expert answers your most asked questions

PUBLISHED: 10:33 15 July 2020

A financial advisor can help you put together a realistic plan to fund your future lifestyle.   Picture: Getty Images

A financial advisor can help you put together a realistic plan to fund your future lifestyle. Picture: Getty Images

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In these uncertain times, effective money management is key if you want to find financial security and achieve your long-term goals

Vanessa Nice, a chartered financial planner from Nice Associates in Knutsford.   Picture: Craige BarkerVanessa Nice, a chartered financial planner from Nice Associates in Knutsford. Picture: Craige Barker

Vanessa Nice, a chartered financial planner from Nice Associates in Knutsford, answers your most asked questions about money and the current crisis.

Should I review my finances?

It’s always a good time to review your finances. I recommend people go through a proper review at least once a year, but ideally twice.

Vanessa, Ruby and James provide bespoke wealth management advice and financial services for individuals and businesses.   Picture: Craige BarkerVanessa, Ruby and James provide bespoke wealth management advice and financial services for individuals and businesses. Picture: Craige Barker

A lot of people don’t truly understand their own expenditure so it’s important that you ‘know your numbers’ – what is essential and what is discretionary? During the current pandemic, many people have identified items or subscriptions they previously thought were necessary as no longer important.

How can financial planning help with my long-term goals?

Talking to a financial adviser can help you make a financial plan in a calm, rational way, rather than reacting to news stories or your own emotions. Putting the right plan in place will allow greater opportunities to build wealth over time and will hugely increase your chances of achieving your financial goals.

It doesn’t have to be complicated – a ‘road map’ with three to four key objectives will keep you focused and make the plan feel achievable.

Should I change my investment strategy given the current crisis?

Stock market volatility can be unsettling for investors, however much they have invested and whatever their objectives may be. But successful investing is about managing risk not avoiding it.

When markets have dropped, it can be a good time to consider saving and investing. It may seem counterintuitive, but you are buying relatively cheap stocks.

If you are drawing an income from your investment portfolio, you should consider turning to other income sources during periods of volatility, as you may end up taking out an unsustainably high amount of cash from a pot that’s already dwindling.

The art of managing market downturns in retirement is knowing exactly what to do and when – and that’s where financial advisers really earn their stripes.

How can I achieve financial security for myself and my family?

Being in the middle of a health crisis, people have become acutely aware of their own mortality and the need to protect those who rely on them, both financially and emotionally.

You need to ask yourself: “if I were no longer here or seriously ill, how is my financial plan protected?” A valid will reflecting your wishes, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and sufficient life assurance are all essential.*

Should I start a pension or assess my pension if I have one?

Yes and Yes! You can never start saving into a pension early enough. As a basic rate tax payer, if you contribute £80 to your pension, the government tops it up by £20. There are contribution limits which affect high earners (note: these have changed for the current tax year) but for most people, they are sufficiently flexible to allow you to save sufficiently for your retirement.

Sacrificing saving today could result in financial strain tomorrow – we need to put away surplus income today, to fund our future lifestyles.

How can you help?

Nice Associates provide wealth management advice and financial services to individuals and businesses.

If you’re looking for bespoke financial advice, contact Vanessa on 01565 625 900 or 07775 90 8000. To find out more, visit niceassociates.co.uk.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.

*Will writing and Powers of Attorney involve the referral to a service that is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Nice Associates Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on sjp.co.uk/products.

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