The world can be a very unpredictable place, and the past twelve months have served as a reminder to expect the unexpected.
Election results on both sides of the Atlantic were not widely anticipated, and proposals to change legislation that may affect many of our clients were postponed when the recent election was called. There is now a question mark over when this legislation will be introduced and whether it will be passed into law as intended.
We know that a Budget announcement is scheduled for the coming Autumn, and the Chancellor has confirmed that he will stick to this timetable and not make an interim statement to Parliament following the election. We hope that this will provide much needed clarity on a number of tax-related issues.
Despite this continued uncertainty, it remains important to maintain a financial plan, while incorporating enough flexibility to adapt to changes in the outside world.
Whilst it is almost impossible to make life entirely predictable, creating a plan to work towards, based on an understanding of current legislation, is in our experience a sensible strategy. It is far easier to adjust a plan and accommodate changes as they occur, than to have no plan at all.
Our clients often ask us the same questions at the start of a planning exercise:
We believe that technology can play an increasingly important role in financial planning, and help to answer these important questions. The Wealth Planning team has recently adopted cashflow modelling software to assist clients to qualify and then quantify their income and capital requirements over the short, medium and long term.
The first step is to establish the current financial position of the client:
- What assets do they have?
- Are there any liabilities, such as a mortgage?
- What income do they receive?
- What is their current level of expenditure?
This is followed by a discussion about objectives, and understanding what investment experience the client has, and their appetite for taking risk.
This invaluable tool allows our planners to illustrate to clients how different strategies and solutions could meet their needs, and we can stress test a plan by, for example, simulating downturns in the financial markets.
This helps us to ensure that clients are better informed, so we can work together to build a strategy to aim to achieve their unique goals.