Thank you Liz Truss!

Are you using a drawdown plan to fund your retirement?

Are you concerned that you could potentially run out of funds?

Are you taking a high percentage of your fund as income each year?

Are you looking to start drawing on your pension?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions it could be time to consider purchasing an annuity with your funds.

Thanks to the Liz Truss Government, Annuity rates are higher than they have been for well over a decade. If you have any health problems, smoke or take tablets to control conditions such as high blood pressure/cholesterol then we may be able to obtain a higher than normal annuity rate for you.

An annuity would provide you with a guaranteed income for life and once set up this will not be affected by investment markets which removes your risk of markets falling.

If this is something that you would like us to look at for you please contact us as soon as possible.

What is ethical investing and is it right for you?

Are you interested in the idea of using your money to change the world for the better via ethical investing? Since the pandemic and with climate change high on the news agenda more and more people are looking at the ethical aspects of their investments. It is something we are discussing more frequently with clients. Here are a few of the questions our clients have been asking:

What is ethical investing?

Ethical investing is an overall term for an approach to investing where we consider the values of the businesses we are investing in, as well as the financial return we may achieve. You may hear the term ESG – which stands for environmental, social and governance factors.

Environmental factors might include the business’ energy consumption or their policy on climate change. Social factors could include their track record on workers rights, equality and diversity or the gender pay gap. Governance issues are about the way the company is run, such as whether they are open and clear on their finances.

It is important to remember that there is no standard industry definition of an “ethical fund”. For this reason we do need to look behind the headlines and the marketing brochures to find out exactly what individual financial institutions mean when they talk about ethical funds.

How easy is it to invest in ethical funds?

Many financial institutions are realising that customers are interested in these issues and are responding to demand. Fund managers are asking more questions around the ethical standpoint of the companies they invest in. Many funds now include considering ESG factors as part of their decision-making process. Some institutions offer specific “Ethical or ESG funds.”

Will I get the same level of return as a standard fund?

There has been some suggestion that ethical funds may perform better than tradition funds  but as with all investing, ethical funds involve risk. The value of ESG funds could always go down as well as up and you could get back less than you put in.

Can I choose not to invest in particular companies where I disagree with their ethics?

Yes, you can often opt not to invest in companies or sectors that you disagree with, for example tobacco companies. This is known as divestment.

What are my other options for ethical investing?

Instead of ‘avoidance’ ethical investing you might want to consider what we would term ‘impact’ investing. Here you might invest into something you do not like (or into a fund that does this for you more specifically) with the aim of making improvements.

As an analogy, if you object to factory farming you might stop buying intensively raised chicken. This just means there will be less chickens, but no incentive to change. Conversely, if you buy a free range chicken you are positively encouraging a change to practices with how you spend.

Are there any other advantages to ethical investing?

There is a suggestion that companies that do well in ESG analysis tend to be overall better managed companies. And that companies and sectors that are developing new technologies, for example in response to climate change concerns, are likely to be growing which would make for a good investment.

How can I find out more about the ethics of the funds my pension is invested in?

You may already be invested in an ethical fund – or it may be very easy to make the change to one. This will depend on your pension provider. If you are interested in ensuring your funds are invested ethically, book an appointment by calling 01543 410512.

Financial resilience: how would you cope with a life changing event?

According to Scottish Widows, in the UK up to six million people each year suffer a life changing event that causes a sudden loss of income. Many more experience events that cause a sudden rise in outgoings. Examples include:

  • Loss of a job
  • Sickness leading to absence from work
  • Becoming a carer to a relative
  • The end of a relationship
  • Bereavement
  • Becoming a parent

Many of these events happen without warning, leaving individuals with little or no choice but to face them, but the impact can be substantial. The inability to pay essential bills and meet mortgage payments can lead to huge financial stress.

While many people have faced these challenges this year, the government support has enabled the majority to continue meeting their financial obligations. However, in more normal times, individuals need to find their own way through the new situation, coping with the stress of the event as well as the financial impact.

The ability to cope financially when faced with a sudden fall in income or unavoidable rise in costs is known as financial resilience. Not everyone has the financial resources to cope if they are unable to work. A poll of more than 2,000 adults by Zurich UK suggests as many as one in eight would have to sell their home to make ends meet if that ever happened. In the survey a third of respondents said they did not feel financially resilient.

How would you cope?

When asked how they would cope with a sudden significant loss of income:

  • 40% would rely on savings for the short term (i.e. less than 6 months)
  • 39% would find a second job that I could do with my illness/ injury
  • 26% would sell other possessions (e.g. any valuables, etc.)
  • 23% would rely on savings for the long term (i.e. 6 months or longer)
  • 18% said their partner would start work/ increase their hours
  • 17% would sell their car
  • 16% would move in with friends or relatives
  • 14% would find a cheaper place to rent
  • 13% would sell their home
  • 11% would get a lodger

These are all major decisions, and have a significant impact on you as well your partner and any family. Being financially resilient can and does help cushion the blow of these income shocks.

How can a financial adviser help?

Working with a financial adviser can help you look at alternate ways to cope with the impact of a life changing event or a major financial blow on your existing income. We take a long-term view with you, and take time to understand your financial situation, including the levels of savings or other financial support you have access to. We can then look at ways to protect your income that can help you in times of sudden change, to protect you and your family.

When you decide to insure your income, or your life, what you are really insuring is the financial stability of yourself and your loved ones. There are many options to explore depending on your circumstances and priorities, and it is our job as independent advisors to guide you through to achieve financial resilience for you and your family.

If you want to be more financially resilient and need professional advice to help you, please get in touch. Call us on: 01543 410512 or email

Business as usual

We wanted to reassure our clients that we are continuing to work very much as normal for the foreseeable future. We already have systems set up so that our staff can work from home if needed.

If you have an appointment and would prefer to do it either by telephone or via video conferencing, we are all set up to do that. Just give us a call on 01543 410512 ideally the day before your appointment and we will arrange that with you.

Your financial resolutions for 2020

Have you resolved that 2020 is the year you get your financial situation organised? You may have been thinking about looking at your pension or starting a savings plan for your children? Perhaps 2020 is the year you buy a bigger house for your growing family, or downsize as they leave the nest? Maybe 2020 is the year you will retire and make a start on all your big life goals. Whatever your financial resolutions for this new decade, we can help you achieve them.

1) I want to review my pension

If you are self-employed, you may have no pension provision at all, so this should be a priority. The sooner you start, the more you can save before you retire. Even a small amount saved regularly will mount up over a long period. We can review the market and find the right product for you.

If you have a personal pension that hasn’t been reviewed for a while, it would almost certainly benefit from changes to the investment funds.

And if 2020 is your planned retirement year (lucky you!) we can help you decide what to do with your pension pot. There is a huge range of annuity products available for you to invest in and we can advise on those. And of course the new pension freedoms mean you can withdraw it and spend it in any way you choose (sensibly of course!).

2) I want to change my mortgage

If your mortgage product is due for renewal this year, it is worth reviewing the market to see if there is a better deal for you. There has been a change in the mortgage market, with lenders trying to keep their borrowers more actively, rather than borrowers having to change lender every time their mortgage product ends. However, your existing lender won’t do a thorough review of the market for you – we will! And if we find a better product, we can arrange a transfer for you on your behalf, often at no charge to you.

If 2020 is the year for moving house, we can also help you. We start with understanding your current position, the amount you want to borrow and your employment circumstances. Once we know what you are looking for, we can do a thorough search, calling on our up to date knowledge of the market. Using industry recommendations and our specialist software we find the right product from the thousands of mortgages available. We can particularly advise if you have unusual financial circumstances, you need bridging finance or need to borrow large sums.

3) I want to ensure my family is provided for

This is an area where many of us bury our heads in the sand. But sadly many of us know someone who has died young, or who has had a serious illness. A lack of protection planning can have a massive impact on family finances. It is worth considering how your money might run out, if anything happened to you as a result of long-term sickness or injury. This tool from Legal & General is helpful to help you work out how many weeks’ breathing space you could have. A relatively small amount of money saved each month can give significant peace of mind.

4) I want to save for the future

Maybe 2019 was the year you became a parent, or a grandparent and want to start a fund to help them in the future. Maybe you have inherited a significant amount and are wondering how best to invest it. Perhaps you are just looking at your bank account and wondering how to make your money work a little harder. There is a staggering array of savings and investment products on the market. We can help tailor investments to your own needs.

Whatever your financial resolutions we are best placed to give you totally independent advice which focusses on you and your needs. Take a look at the comments of our clients and let us see if we can help you.

Get in touch

We can help you keep your 2020 financial resolutions. Book an appointment by calling us on 01543 410512.

We do not ask for a fee for an initial meeting, where we can meet to check whether we can offer what you need. Any business that we conduct on your behalf will be subject to a fee. We will always advise you of the fee up front before we start any work for you.

Office Move

We have now moved offices! Our new office address and telephone number is:

Lombard House, Cross Keys,
Lichfield, WS13 6DN
01543 410512

Please note, if you are visiting our offices, there is a small car park at the office for you to park in if there is space. If there are no spaces available, please use the Lombard Street short stay car park and we will cover the cost of this for the duration of your meeting.


Paying the price of the “University Experience”

It’s no secret that the cost of the “University Experience” is now higher than it has ever been. According to The Guardian, the average cost of a degree per child is now around the £85,000 mark, and it is Parents and Grandparents who are playing an increasingly significant role in funding this. The estimated cost of studying in England is £22,189 over a 39-week year, and typical students (whose parents have an average household income) only receive £14,370 in loans and grants, meaning they (or you) need to make up a surplus of £7,819 on average, or £651 a month!

A lot of the older generation have money available to help, but it is locked away in pensions which cannot be accessed. Pension regulations now allow for income to be taken flexibly, on an as and when basis if needed, and this gives Parents and Grandparents the ability to help out the younger generation in paying for their university life, as well as have flexibility on how they take their own income. Let’s not forget that it is not only tuition fees that need to be paid, but books need buying, bills need paying and of course, social lives need funding.

If, on the other hand, you are a younger parent and are now worrying about how you will fund your child’s future education, that is also something we can help you with. Savings Plans and Investment ISA’s are now more important than ever, and they are something which we can look at setting up for you. With the limit on how much you can pay into an ISA now £20,000 per tax year, we can help you to maximise your saving potential for your children’s futures.

If you are in a position where you think that you can help out your Grandchildren or Children, and want to talk to someone about how you can do this, get in touch with us on 01543 440 300, or drop us an email at

Dealing with things so you don’t have to!

One of our jobs as your financial adviser is to make things as easy as possible for you, by dealing with everything behind the scenes so you don’t have to.

Recently, a client was completely unaware that a provider had mismanaged their money during a pension transfer. We dealt with everything behind the scenes, so that the client did not have to worry, and managed to resolve the issue and save her some extra money in the process.

It is this kind of service that we provide, which you will not get from some financial advisers, and it is all part of the process for us. If you would like our advice on anything, from pensions to life insurance, give us a call on 01543 440 300, or email us on

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