Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Our Guide to the Different Kinds of Savings

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 16.50.09The combination of the expense of Christmas followed by New Year resolutions can lead people to think about the state of the family finance in general. Some people may even make a resolution to increase their personal wealth in 2015, in which case investing some time in getting advice from a financial adviser could be a great place to start. Whatever your financial plans, for many people having an appropriate level of savings is key to managing life’s ups and downs.

Broadly speaking, savings can be grouped into four main types.

The Emergency Fund

The emergency fund, as its name suggests, is for life’s unexpected twists and turns. Because you never know when you’re going to need to access it, your fund should be held in a place where you can access it quickly and easily wherever you are and regardless of the time of day.   How big your fund needs to be depends on your personal situation. It’s also a good idea to make time to carry out regular reviews of your insurance to ensure that you always have the right kind(s) and level of cover for your needs. At the same time, think about what your insurance doesn’t cover and what that means for you. The most obvious example of this would be having cash to cover your insurance excess.

The Fun Fund

In spite of its name, the fun fund has a serious side. By giving yourself an allocated budget just to enjoy yourself, you can prevent your fun being spoiled by the headache of overspending.

Life-cycle Savings

Life-cycle savings can be sub-divided into two groups – household life-cycle and personal life-cycle.

Household life-cycle savings refers to the fact that many household items have a restricted lifecycle and at some point will need to be repaired or replaced. Since this is a foreseeable event it can be included in the family budget. Ideally whenever an item is bought, you should start planning for when you need to replace it. For example, electrical goods bought from a shop (as opposed to from a private seller) generally come with a warranty. They may well continue to function after the warranty period, but ideally you should plan to be able to replace them as soon as this warranty period ends.

Personal life-cycle savings relate to the key milestones in life: births, deaths and marriages. While many of these can be both exciting and joyful (such as the birth of a new child); they can also be financially challenging. It can therefore be hugely helpful to plan ahead so that when the time comes, you can focus on enjoying the event, without having to worry about how you’re going to manage to pay for it.

Retirement Savings

Saving for retirement has become a major topic in recent years. Workplace pensions can be a very useful means of saving for retirement, however they are not necessarily appropriate for everyone. To begin with, they only apply to those who are in paid employment. Therefore, by definition, those in other situations, such as home-makers or the self-employed will need to look at other arrangements.

It’s also worth remembering that saving for retirement does not have to begin and end with a pension. There are a variety of investing opportunities, which could be used to fund your dream path through your golden years. Some people might prefer to use a combination of pension savings and alternative savings to strike an acceptable balance between security and the prospect of increased rewards.

The Best Christmas Present for Your Children

Monday, December 8th, 2014

the best xmas presentsType “unwanted gift” into eBay and see how many results you get. In theory it may be the thought that counts, in practice these days it’s far from unusual for recipients to turn gifts they would prefer to forget into cash via sites like eBay.

Some people might find themselves the unwitting donors of such items due to reluctance to give cash as a present. Ironically the end result of this may be that the recipient ultimately winds up with less cash than the donor spent on the original gift. A more modern take on the cash versus gift conundrum is for people to set up accounts on payment sites so that their nearest and dearest can make contributions to a large-ticket item they want to buy. Depending on the site, however, charges may be levied, which again obviously affects the value of the gift. With Christmas coming up, the thought of gifts and budgeting is becoming more topical and so it’s worth looking at the matter from another angle.

The most valuable gifts are those which make a real difference

The very best gifts are those that improve a person’s life in some way. There are lots of ways this can be achieved; for example a good book, some quality toiletries, or a theatre ticket, if well chosen, can all bring the recipient some quality “me time”. Some of the best gifts can be those that money can’t buy. These can include investing the time to pass on knowledge and skills to another generation. Looking back on childhood, memories of learning new skills such as cooking, gardening and cycling can be at least as important as any tangible gifts.

Financial skills can prove invaluable in adult years

For generations parents have taught their children the importance of managing the family finance, part of which involves having savings available for when you need them. Even in today’s world of electronic payment systems and (almost) instant transfers, a quick look on eBay will confirm that there are still plenty of old-fashioned money boxes for sale. Some of these are collectors’ items from bygone eras, but there are many which are newly manufactured. These can be ideal for giving very young children their first lessons in building personal wealth.

It takes more than pennies to support a child into young adulthood

Parents and other family members, however, will be acutely aware that putting pennies into jars, although better than nothing, is unlikely to cover the cost of raising a child to adulthood, particularly if they want to go to university. The expected arrival of a new-born can, therefore, be a very good time to seek advice from a financial adviser. Even if the child is already here, it can still be worth seeing what steps can be taken to prepare financially for their future.

Grow the value of your gift with tax savings

One option is to invest in a Junior ISA. These are currently available to all under 18s except for those born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 as they have Child Trust Funds. Like their adult counterparts, Junior ISAs can be held either in cash or in stocks and shares. A child can have one cash and one stocks and shares Junior ISA. .

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED

 

How to Bag Christmas Bargains

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

fb - Christmas BargainsChristmas comes but once a year and for all the fun it brings it can be a significant drain on the family finance. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at opportunities to see where savings can be made. While it may still be too early to put up the decorations, some of the best Christmas bargains require a bit of advance planning.

Food and Drink

Think about having a non-traditional Christmas. Christmas dinner does not have to mean turkey (or any other kind of bird) and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding. Going vegetarian or opting for cheaper forms of meat can cut the costs without compromising on taste. Likewise, dessert can be anything you fancy rather than something which is specifically made for Christmas.

Actively compare the cost of making food at home as opposed to buying it ready made. Neither is necessarily cheaper or better. Be prepared to consider the budget/own-label brands. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Get in plenty of “soft” drinks. Keep expensive wine and spirits for particularly special times. For the rest of the time serve soft drinks either on their own or with a dash of alcohol (e.g. in a punch). This can help to make the expensive alcoholic drinks go much further.

Entertainment and Travel

If at all possible, book Christmas entertainment and travel well in advance. It can also help to be flexible when looking at your options. For example, whilst air and rail can be both quick, the bus can be substantially cheaper. Likewise smaller, more local entertainment venues can also put on very good shows, which can be substantially more affordable than their larger-scale counterparts. It can also be worth looking at whether signing up to a loyalty programme can cut costs even further. Similarly cultural venues may have a “friends of” programme with discounts.

Cards and Gifts

This is arguably one of the trickiest areas of Christmas. The key to managing it is setting expectations. This starts with setting a realistic budget, which means one that you can comfortably afford. Your budget is a limit not a target and if there is a conflict with it and your plans for card and gift giving, then you should change your plans, not your budget. Make a list of all the people to whom you want to give cards and/or gifts at Christmas. The key word here is want. If you routinely send gifts to people just because you know they’re going to send one to you, then put those names on another list. Contact these people well before Christmas to make them tactfully aware that you’re only planning to send a card this year. They may be relieved.

Your next challenge is to make your money go as far as possible. Ways to achieve this include: watching the internet carefully for special deals and flash sales; buying second-hand and creating home-made gifts. These can not only be welcome gifts in their own right, but help to keep the pennies for when they are really needed. Adults and older children could even be given IOUs for items which are likely to come down in price in January.

Avoiding New Year Financial Headaches

Keeping control of spending at Christmas can help you avoid a nasty money hangover at New Year. Why not go one step further and a make a resolution to review your personal wealth this coming year by investing some time getting advice from a financial adviser?

Financial Conversations Every Couple Should Have

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

fb - Financial Conversations Every Couple Should HaveIt can be hard to define the point when two people become a couple, planning to be together for the years to come. When it does happen however it can be an appropriate time to make sure that all practicalities are addressed. This means ensuring that you and your partner are aligned financially as well as emotionally. Entering into a relationship means changing from thinking in terms of personal wealth to thinking in terms of family finance. Here are five questions to get you started on these important conversations.

Do you have savings?

Before you start to align your finances, you both need to be honest to each other regarding the state your finances are currently in. This means that both of you need to be clear about your financial assets such as savings and their financial liabilities. You also need to be clear about your attitudes to money. From this point on you’ll be working to a joint financial plan and it’s crucial that you’re both comfortable with it. With this in mind, this may be a good point to get some professional advice from a financial advisor.

How would you describe your attitude towards investing?

There are a variety of different investments available and choosing the right one(s) for you depends on a number of factors including your goals, your anticipated time frames and your tolerance for risk. If you’re to develop a financial plan with which you both feel comfortable, then you need to agree on an investment style with which you both feel comfortable. You’re also going to have to reach an agreement on how to manage the practicalities of investing. In other words, who is going to take responsibility for choosing investments and going through the process of buying them? Even if one partner takes day-to-day responsibility for this, the other partner needs to be in touch with what is happening. They also need to know where to find all relevant documents in the event of something happening to their partner.

What would happen if one of us died tomorrow?

There are basically two parts to this question: Why do we need life insurance and if what needs to be in our wills? The answers depend largely on circumstances. When property or children come around, for example, then making provision for the death of one half of the couple needs to be taken very seriously. In addition to looking at loss of income from working partners, couples may also need to look at the cost of replacing everything each half of the couple does for free, e.g. providing childcare. This can mean that life insurance is just as important for the non-working partner as it is for the working one.

What would happen if one of us became severely ill/had an accident tomorrow?

This is a fairly similar question to the one of death; however in this case you also need to think about the cost of providing care for the affected partner as well as (temporary) loss of income and their general input to the family.

What sort of retirement do we want to have?

Understanding how you want to spend your post-work years is the first step in working out how much money will be required to pay for them. This is another area where is can be particularly helpful to get professional advice from a financial adviser.

5 Estate Agent Tricks That Can Add Value To Your Home

Friday, November 14th, 2014

fb 5 Estate Agent Tricks That Can Add Value To Your HomeA house can be a combination of a financial investment and a family home. It can be a store of personal wealth where adults organize the family finance and children get their first lessons in the importance of having savings. Buying and selling a home can have major financial implications as well as emotional ones, so it can be a good time to get some professional advice from a financial adviser. If you’re selling a home, it can also be worth investing a little time and possibly some money on your home to achieve the best possible price. Here are some suggestions to help you.

Create curb appeal

The first impression of a property is usually from the outside so make sure viewers are impressed. If your garden is a major selling point then it may be worth speaking to a professional gardener for tips on how to make it look its absolute best. For example some strategically-placed lighting could highlight its best features to visitors arriving for evening viewings. Even if you don’t have a garden, you will have an entrance door and some quality fittings (number or name, letter box, door knocker…) can make a huge difference to its appearance.

Make sure viewers are comfortable when they arrive

Viewers aren’t exactly guests but they are people you want to stay in your home for a while and be in a mood to appreciate it. Make sure that there is somewhere obvious and convenient for them to put their coats and consider having some extra pairs of slippers to offer them (which might also be good for protecting your floors). Be prepared to offer tea or coffee and some quality biscuits and serve them in attractive cups or mugs.

Remember allergy sufferers

Common allergies include nuts, pet hair and pollen. It’s therefore worth taking steps to remove any of these before viewers arrive. While fresh flowers can look very attractive and some viewers will love them, they are unlikely to win you any brownie points from people with hay fever. Green plants and/or fresh fruit, however, are more allergy-safe and also attractive choices. Remember to put them in containers which match with the overall décor of the room.

Make sure your home passes the sniff test

Any potentially offensive odours need to be properly banished. With a view to this, if anyone is in the habit of smoking in the house, then they need to stop doing so until the house is sold and the house will need to be thoroughly aired. If there are young children or pets that may have accidents then you need to have something on hand to deal with them quickly. If you have a cat who uses a litter tray then it may be worth upgrading to an enclosed one in case your cat chooses to use it when you have viewers. Empty it promptly outside of viewing times and keep pet cages scrupulously clean. While it may be tempting to try to use scent to enhance the atmosphere of your home, it’s worth remembering that individuals react to scents differently. You therefore run the risk of accidentally fragrancing your home with a scent that you love but your viewer hates. It’s also worth remembering that pregnant women have an enhanced sense of smell and so even light scents may seem overpowering to them.

See your walls and shelves as others may see them

Remove anything which could be remotely controversial, such as an object showing affiliation to a sports team or political organization. Take a long, hard look at everything else and decide if it is in keeping with the image of your house that you want to give. A studio portrait of your children could be an attractive feature in a family home but basic family snapshots are probably better moved out of sight, along with children’s paintings and home-made gifts etc.

Don’t Rely On Using The Sale Of Your Home To Fund Your Retirement

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Blog 2014 (2)As with any major reform to savings, pensions and investments, the recent government changes to annuities has been accompanied by a flurry of newspaper headlines, ranging from the alarming to the surreal.

Deciding how you will fund your retirement is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make and one that cannot be taken lightly, but often the information overload that happens courtesy of the media can leave savers feeling more uncertain than ever.

It is tempting in this situation to rely on a tried and trusted method of funding a retirement, the accumulation of equity in a property, but this might not be the safest and most effective way of paying for a retirement.

Using a property to pay for retirement is always a gamble because savers have to make educated guesses on the robustness of the property market in the future when they eventually come to sell.

There might be scope for many people to profit if they act fast, sell up when property prices are high, and invest the equity.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is almost certain to put up interest rates after the next general election and there is no guarantee after May next year that Help to Buy will continue in its present form, with some schemes encountering difficulties already.

So what other options might there be?

In the last year the pension market has undergone some radical changes and the options for savers and those who are due to benefit from their pensions have increased.

With the end of compulsory annuities on most pensions, savers have more flexibility to draw down a lump sum of their nest egg at retirement.

Paying off a mortgage or wiping out remaining debt in one go might be more cost effective solution for retirees than simply being tied to an annuity payment.

In September it was announced that pensions could become tax efficient savings funds, not just designed for paying an income later in life but also a way of passing on a pension pot to the next generation.

From April 2015, anyone inheriting a pension fund will have no tax to pay on it (previously it was taxed at an eye watering 55 percent).

It is not possible to leave an annuity policy in a will to a family member and as a result of the announced changes, annuities may become even less attractive as a means of managing ones pension income.

Some 12 million people in the UK in defined contribution pension schemes will be affected by the changes and they will be able to pass their pensions on without incurring penalties for inheritance tax if they are over the age of 75 when they decide to do so.

The government, with next year’s election in mind, is looking to offer the electorate a reduction in the taxation burden on pensions and inheritance, and in this way they have given future retirees a lot more options.

If you are uncertain about how best to provide for you and your loved ones in the future, it might be an idea to seek some advice to give you an informed opinion on your possible choices.

To find out more about the options available, speak with a financial advisor.

THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS AND INCOME FROM THEM MAY GO DOWN. YOU MAY NOT GET BACK THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT INVESTED

 

 

 

 

Stay On Top Of Your Money In Just A Few Minutes Everyday

Friday, October 24th, 2014

blog-1-1-2For people who lead busy lives, managing the family finances may be just one of many important jobs to do. Fortunately taking care of your personal wealth can take less time than you might think. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to do and how often.

Once a year – review your goals and your progress towards them

All of your financial decisions should help to bring you closer to your financial goals. In order for this to happen, you need to be clear about what they are. Like many aspects of life, financial goals can change through time. For young adults their major goal may be to buy a house, whereas for older adults it may be investing strategically to finance a comfortable retirement. In between there may well be children to raise and provide for. This annual review can also be a good time to get some unbiased financial advice from a professional financial adviser.

Once a quarter – make sure everyone is on the same page financially

In households where more than one person is financially responsible it’s important to make sure that the people in question stay on the same financial page. In an ideal world, people would take all financial decisions together. In the real world however, time pressures can make this impractical. Sometimes families need to divide financial tasks. This may be done equally or with one person taking most of the day-to-day responsibilities. In this situation people can drift apart, financially speaking, which can lead to problems later down the line. To prevent this from happening it’s important that all the people concerned have regular catch-ups.

Once a month – go over all financial statements from that month

Financial statements give you the reality of your financial situation. If you’ve kept on top of your finances then you’ll already have a pretty good idea of what they ought to say. You should, however, check them thoroughly to make sure of this. In particular take the time to investigate any transactions on your debit or credit card that you don’t immediately recognise. They may just be something you’d forgotten, but they may also be a sign that fraudsters are testing your card. This is also a good time to look out for any recurring transactions and decide if there are savings to be made. For example if you see three months’ worth of gym fees on your card but you’ve only managed to find the time to go a couple of times then is it really worth the cost? Finally, take a good look over your shopping receipts for the last month and see if there are any unnecessary expenses you could trim.

Once a week – tidy up your financial paperwork

These days paperwork is as likely to mean digital records as it is actual paper ones, but in either case financial records can only be any use if you can actually find them. Decide whether you are going to use paper records, digital records or both. Whichever you choose take some time out once a week to decide what you need to keep and what you don’t. Anything you keep needs to be stored in a safe place and organised in a methodical way. While you can use your own preferred system remember that if anything happens to you, even temporarily, someone else may need to take over. Anything you don’t keep needs to be checked for personal details and if necessary shredded before being recycled.

Once a day – keep track of your spending

It’s generally easier to see an elephant than a mouse. Similarly it’s often easier to remember big purchases like a weekly grocery shop than it is to remember all the little items. Fortunately smartphones and their cameras have made it much easier to stay on top of daily spending. Implement a straightforward rule that each and every purchase needs to be tracked. If you are given a receipt, photograph it. If you don’t get a receipt, photograph the item itself. At the end of each day, store these photos in a safe place to be reviewed later.

How To Be A Happy Working Parent

Friday, October 17th, 2014

working parent blog imageParents are the people who have photos in their wallets instead of cash. It’s an old joke but it often still gets at least a wry smile. No matter how much dads (and mums) might like the idea of being full-time parents, the reality is that bills still need to be paid and for most people that means at least one parent working. Fortunately there are ways to make this a generally happy experience.

Assess your employer

Beer and pizza on Fridays and a company games console may seem like great perks before you have children but after you have them childcare vouchers and company discounts at useful shops may seem more appealing. It may be that your employer does actually offer family-friendly benefits and you just never noticed them in your pre-child days. If they don’t then you could try having a conversation with your manager or HR to see if there is any appetite to introduce them. If there isn’t then there may be nothing to stop you looking for another employer who is better able to accommodate your family commitments.

Get on top of your finances

The arrival of a demanding newborn can overwhelm everything else in your life, but part of keeping that little baby happy, healthy, and safe is making sure that their financial needs are met for at least the next 16 years. If they go on to further education, then you can add another 5 or 6 years on to that.

Remember that not everything needs to be new

Making savings wherever you reasonably can reduces the demands on your income which may, in turn, give you greater flexibility in terms of your employment choices. While newspapers, magazines, the radio and the TV may all carry adverts aimed at convincing you that your baby needs the brand new product they are selling, it’s worth remembering that new items come at a premium because they are new. In some cases this may be justified. For example parents may feel much more comfortable knowing that safety equipment is brand new (and possibly under guarantee). In other cases, however, second hand may be just fine, particularly in the very early days when babies are growing at an incredible rate. Likewise opting for reusable items rather than disposable ones (nappies for example) can also help to save pennies and ultimately pounds. These savings can then be channelled into other activities such as investing for your child’s future or enjoying quality time with them in the present.

Keep on networking

Young children make huge demands on time as well as on money and it can be very easy to slip into the habit of working to pay the bills and then going home to be with the new family. While watching them grow up is one of the joys of parenthood, it’s worth remembering how much value there is in human networks, both professional and social. Take time to ensure that you still stay connected both to your friends and to your colleagues and wider professional circle. Even if you can’t get out to meet them in person as much as you’d like, or even not at all in the short term, make time to get online and catch up with people in cyberspace.

How To Turn Money Into Happiness

Friday, October 10th, 2014

As the Beatles pointed out in their 1964 hit “Can’t buy me love”, there are some things money can’t buy, at least not directly. Money can, however, influence happiness – if used wisely. Here are some tips on how using your personal wealth wisely can help to make you happier.

Health

Money can’t buy good health, but it can be used in a variety of ways to maintain it or improve it. At a fundamental level, money can buy a good diet full of healthy, fresh foods. It can also buy exercise equipment. Being able to manage the family finances so that there is money available for day-to-day bills and savings available to cope with unexpected events can also save a lot of stress, which could arguably come under the heading of a health benefit. Money can assist with quality health-care. It can provide the option to pay for quick access to private treatment rather than having to queue on an NHS waiting list. It can also help ease any convalescence period by providing funds to pay for helpful equipment (such as mobility scooters) or personal assistance.

Education and development – investing in yourself

Money can buy you opportunities and experiences which can enhance your professional options. While employers will pay for mandatory training and may assist with training which has a clear relevance to your current career path, quite simply the more money you have at your disposal, the wider your range of options. You can choose to undertake personal study to further your goals or you can choose to do something else completely. Perhaps you might like to have the security of knowing that you have an alternative means of earning an income if you find yourself between jobs in your main career. Perhaps you have dreams of turning a hobby into a business. Perhaps you just want to do something different. In any case, having money can make this possible.

Getting the right advice and skills

money to happinessMoney can buy other people’s time, knowledge, and expertise to make your life easier. Whether it’s getting someone in to clean the house and mow the lawn instead of doing it yourself, or going to a professional adviser for financial advice, spending money on getting the right people with the right skills can save you time and hassle. That frees up time and energy for other activities, which can bring you a whole lot more happiness. Instead of washing the dishes, use money to buy a dishwasher and spend some extra time doing something you enjoy. Instead of spending all day in the garden doing basic tasks like mowing and weeding, get someone else to do them and focus on the tasks you actually enjoy. Instead of spending time and effort to try to work out the best way to manage your money on your own, get help from a professional adviser who can provide financial advice and take some time out with your friends.

Staying in touch

No amount of money can replace the people we love. Money can, however, make it much easier to enjoy their company. To begin with money can pay for useful communication equipment to keep in touch with people when it’s impractical to go and see them. Money can make the difference between having a basic phone or even smartphone and one which can handle videocalls comfortably. It can allow people to upgrade from basic TVs to smart TVs with internet access so that people can enjoy quality video calling on a large screen. It can also make it easier to go and visit people face-to-face to let them know how much you value them and their company.

4 Simple Steps to Make Better Financial Decisions Today

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

4 Simple Steps Blog ImageLife is full of decisions. Some are simple and some are complex. Some are more important than others. Financial decisions have a direct impact on your quality of life. It therefore pays to get them right in every sense of the phrase.

Here are 4 tips you can use to improve your financial decision-making. Starting today.

Think about who you are and what your goals are

It may be a cliché to say that everyone’s an individual, but it’s also true and this individuality is reflected in the decisions we take. As well as preferences based on our personality, age also plays a role in our financial decision-making. As children our goal may simply be to save up enough money to afford a special toy. As young adults we our immediate goal may be a deposit on a flat. As we grow into maturity, caring for children and planning for retirement may become more important priorities. In order to make effective decisions, financial or otherwise, we need to understand what our aims are and whether they are short, medium or long-term goals.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – but don’t ignore it either

On the one hand, the old saying “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” has stood the test of time because it makes a fair point. Small costs here and there can slip by unnoticed until they turn into a surprisingly large amount. On the other hand, many people lead busy lives and would find it a huge challenge to keep track of every penny they spend and on what, let alone take the time to analyse whether each and every individual purchase was the best possible deal. This is where a little common-sense can go a long way.

You don’t need to do your shopping at 4 different supermarkets to get the absolute best price on everything. It can, however, help to keep tabs on your day-to-day spending and think about where you could trim fat without too much inconvenience. For example, the savings you can make by taking a refillable bottle of water on the train to work as opposed to buying a bottle of water at the station can soon mount up and give a pleasant boost to the family finance.

Your personal wealth is your responsibility

Once you are an adult then you are responsible for your own health, wealth and happiness. This may seem like an intimidating prospect, but it can help to break it down into manageable chunks. You can create a budget so that you have more money than month. You can make notes of when financial purchases are due for renewal (anything from mobile contracts to insurance to mortgage deals ending) and find the time to look for the best deals; at least for the significant purchases. You can plan to ensure that there are funds in place to meet medium to long-term needs, whether it’s replacing big-ticket household items or funding a pleasant retirement.

Getting the right financial advice can more than pay for itself

Just because something is your responsibility, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything single-handedly. Looking through the financial sections of the press can be a confusing and even intimidating experience for some people. Mortgage approvals, interest rates, market developments, mergers and acquisitions… -it can be a challenge to make sense of what it all actually means. Then of course there are conversations with family, friends and colleagues, some of whom may have their own advice to offer. It may be well intentioned but there’s no guarantee that it’s right for your situation. Fortunately a professional financial adviser can help cut through the headlines and jargon and tips from friends and help you to build your own plan for investing in your future. This advice can be, literally, invaluable.

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