Looking to retire, already retired, receiving a lump sum, selling a business, or even just wanting to reorganise your finances to put you in a better position to reach your goals? Whatever stage of life you’re in, financial planning can help change the way you live.
The value of our advice is often overlooked. That’s why we’re here to share some real-life client stories, painting a clearer picture of the impact a great financial plan can have.
Linda and Robert
Linda and Robert came to us wanting to know what was within their financial capabilities, if they could afford to do everything they wanted to do and when they could do it.
They needed a clear and structured plan that would support them for the rest of their lives, which better organised their money to ensure their financial security and structured their finances to make the most of their personal allowances and tax-free benefits.
Robert had lots of pensions with different providers, and Linda had recently received an inheritance.
Robert was working in a high-stress job, causing him to feel depressed. And both him and Linda had considered retiring but didn’t think they could afford to.
Following the six steps of financial planning, here is an exploration of Linda and Robert’s financial planning journey.
Vision and goals
Our initial discussions revealed the following key points:
- Robert wanted a job that was less stressful and time-intensive
- If they could afford to, they would both like to retire together and spend more time painting
- They wanted to be financially secure and safe in the knowledge that when they retired, they would have enough money to do the things they wanted
- They hoped to build an extension on their house
- They wanted to make a plan for uncertainties in the future, ensuring they had some money kept aside that could be accessed quickly and easily
- After enjoying paying for one of their children’s weddings, they wanted to pay for their remaining three children to get married when the time came around
After establishing their goals and priorities, it was time to conduct a complete review of their financial situation. First, we looked at how much they have, owe, earn and spend, and how this might change in the future.
Once we had these figures, we were able to forecast their wealth over time. We were then able to predict how much they will need over their lifetime, taking into account their current lifestyle goals and stress-testing their plan based on different scenarios.
Is there enough?
We then met with Linda and Robert to talk through their plan. These were the key outcomes:
- Both Linda and Robert could afford to retire as soon as they were ready
- They could repay their outstanding mortgage and loan debt, as well as fund the extension on their house
- They would be able to give a gift to their three unmarried children for their weddings
- They could afford to maintain their normal pattern of spending, with this only reducing by 10% going into their mid-70s
Plan of action
Then, we turned to the practical planning actions which were needed to make this all happen:
- Drawing money from the tax-free part of their pensions to fund the big-spending planned on the house and to repay debt
- Transfering Robert’s pensions to cheaper, more flexible arrangements, to be used to support their income when they stopped working
- Consolidating their separate pension pots into new flexible personal pensions to provide an additional flexible income
- Restructuring their pension withdrawals to use their personal allowances and take from their tax-free part of their pensions for as long as possible
- Savings to be kept in a joint account of £10,000 for emergencies and luxuries
Making it happen
Our team set to work putting the plan in motion, and Linda and Robert started making the lifestyle changes they knew they could afford.
After managing to bring their planned retirement forward by four years, maintaining their lifestyle standards, this is what the clients had to say:
“You have changed our lives. We are now living the life we never thought possible. We have been retired for a year now, and we can’t stop smiling!”
Keeping on track
To stay on track with their financial plan, Robert and Linda come back to see us for a yearly review. Things change, and they keep changing. And each time anything substantial happens, we adapt their plan accordingly.
For us, the most important thing is that our clients understand their finances and feel in control of their wealth, knowing that we’re on hand to support them throughout this journey.
*This client story has been prepared by Balance: Wealth Planning. It is based on a combination of different clients’ experiences. Names have been changed.