Why planning ahead will pay off in retirement

Acumen Financial Planning's Laura Crowe <i>(Image: .)</i>
Acumen Financial Planning's Laura Crowe (Image: .)

Planning for your future can be intimidating, but advice from trusted advisors can ensure financial security in later life, writes Acumen Financial Planning's Laura Crowe

 

THE goal posts for retirement are changing, with extended life expectancy and many people choosing to work beyond what has traditionally been considered ‘normal’ 
retirement age.

Working with a financial planner is about bringing clarity to your financial future and putting plans in place that then allow you to do what you want to do in life. This can mean different things to different people.

With inflation and the cost of living on the rise, combined with the daily media noise and opinions, it is completely normal to feel apprehensive when it comes to retirement, with some perhaps feeling the pressure to retire later than originally planned.

Investing and planning for your future can be intimidating. Many of those who wish to retire have already started to plan, having paid into their pension over many years. Bringing this all together and making retirement plans a reality is where a financial planner can help.

DEFINING YOUR GOALS
A FINANCIAL planner will help you prioritise what is most important to you, whether that is a financial or a lifestyle goal. They can help you put plans in place that will allow that life goal to become a reality.

One of the most important steps when  working with a financial planner is a regular annual review.

It is impossible to predict what life will throw at us, so it is important to have the flexibility to adjust your planning if required. Holding annual reviews with your financial planner is the best way of ensuring your life goals stay on track and become a reality.

EXPERT ADVICE 
FINANCIAL decisions can be some of the most complicated and consequential we face – and there can also be a significant emotional element. A professional financial planner can provide objective, rational advice.

A financial planner will guide you through and take care of the most appropriate options available to you in particular the tax and investment elements of your planning.  The savings in time alone will be significant, as you receive the guidance and consideration of complex topics from a qualified professional, allowing you to relax knowing there are arrangements in place to help you achieve your life goals.

BEYOND RETIREMENT
WHILE many aren’t comfortable considering what happens to their finances after death, clear communication is key, whether setting up trusts for children and grandchildren, gifting to charity, or ensuring your family are covered for all eventualities.

Careful consideration should be given to choosing the financial planner that you work with.

There are many to choose from and it pays to do some research.

You should be aware that not all financial planners can offer you the same advice. Some financial planners can only offer ‘restricted’ advice, which means they are limited in the products and plans that they can advise you about, however, independent financial advisers can consider options from everything available to you.

Firms may hold “Accredited” or “Chartered” status, which are awarded by professional bodies and are considered a mark of excellence in the profession. 
Within the UK, financial advisors are regulated by the FCA.

Websites such as unbiased or vouchedfor, or wayfinder can provide a list of registered firms in your area, where you can review their credentials and services.

A financial planner provides a more in-depth service that stand alone advice. An internationally recognised profession, the process works with clients over the years and follows six stages.

1. Meet with your planner and identify your goals
The initial or discovery meeting is all about you and discussing personal, family and business objectives.

With a focus on the financial issues that you need help with and the services that a financial planner will provide.

2. Financial review and evaluation
To establish where you are currently in your financial plans and align this with your goals, a financial planner will analyse and research your existing policies and investments in detail and make appropriate recommendations.

3. Setting Goals 
Whether this includes fine tuning your retirement plan or checking if you have sufficient funds to last the duration of your life after work. This will include looking at how much money you will need to fund your retirement.

4. Implementing the Plan
Your financial planner and their team will take care of the work involved in implementing your recommendations, liaise with the relevant providers and manage your investment portfolio and any recommended tax or estate planning solutions.

5. Review Progress 
Regular meetings are arranged where your planner will review your financial plan, objectives taking into account any tax or legislation changes or any changes in work or family life that may have an impact.

6. The ongoing collaborative relationship
Working with a financial planner is a long-term relationship, helping you identify and achieve your long-term financial goals in advance of retirement and beyond.

Where more complex financial issues need discussed such as trusts, a good financial planning firm will collaborate with the relevant specialists to help you.

Acumen Financial Planning is one of the leading independent financial planning firms in Scotland.

This article was brought to you by Acumen Financial Planning.

Laura Crowe is a Chartered Financial Planner and Regional Manager at Acumen Financial Planning and can be contacted on 0141 404 1500