Why use a professional financial planning company?
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Trying to work out how best to look after your savings, pensions, mortgages and investments can seem overwhelming.
Joanne McLaughlin, financial planner at Tatton Financial Planning in Knutsford, explains how professionals can help with wealth management.
Q: What do wealth management firms do?
Tatton Financial Planning is a friendly, independent, local firm, which is very proud to hold Chartered status. We are passionate about helping out clients to fulfil their retirement dreams, and can provide financial advice on pensions, investments, protection, mortgages as well as inheritance tax planning and advice to business owners.
Q: What are some of the benefits of working with experts in the field?
There are lot of investment options available to clients which can be overwhelming, and perhaps clients don’t know where to start. We take the time to understand what our clients want to achieve and then use our expertise to sift through all the financial products and investment options available in order to recommend a tailored solution suitable for the client. And, equally as important, we regularly review the planning to ensure it remains suitable, and where necessary, adapt it to meet our clients’ objectives, which invariably will change over time as their lives change.
Q: Which areas of financial planning can experts help with?
Helping to set retirement goals and creating a lifestyle strategy is really important, as well as assessing how easily this can be achieved. A lot of clients know they want a comfortable retirement, but they aren’t sure what that looks like, and whether what they are currently doing is enough to meet their goals. Financial advisors can help with cashflow modelling, so clients can see if their assets can meet their future income requirements, and if they can retire at the age they want to. If we identify any shortfall, we can work with our clients to establish what level of additional funding is required or realign their expectations in terms of when they can afford to retire. This foresight helps to remove a lot of the anxiety as clients approach retirement.
Q: When is it time to use a wealth management service?
Typically, when clients start to build large levels of savings, whether from monthly disposable income, an inheritance, divorce or sale of a business, and aren’t sure how to maximise this, they should seek advice as to how best to invest tax efficiently for their future. Some clients may already have a number of investments and pensions, perhaps several pension pots from previous employments which have accumulated over time. Often, these may not have been reviewed for years; we can help to review these and where appropriate consolidate them under a cohesive investment strategy so that everything is working together, rather than independently of each other.
Q: How much money should you have before employing a financial advisor?
We wouldn’t necessarily say there is a minimum, but a client needs to have enough short-term savings – typically three to six months of normal monthly expenditure in cash – before they should think about investing and taking risk with their money. Over and above this, clients can then look to invest some funds for the medium to long term, i.e. at least five years.
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Q: Can a professional help me to decide how to invest a large amount of money?
We can work with our clients to establish the most tax-efficient way of investing, taking into account ISA, pension and capital gains tax allowances (including for spouses and children where appropriate). We would recommend the most suitable products, and investment solutions, whether that be a simple low-cost strategy, or more sophisticated model portfolios. We identify the most appropriate solutions dependent on the client’s knowledge, experience and objectives.
Q: Can they tell me which investments might be good right now?
The key is diversification, using a mixture of asset types will deliver more consistent results over the longer term, we try and steer clients away from holding too much in a specific area. Any investment product can be low or high risk; we carry out detailed risk profiling with our clients to establish what level of risk the client is willing to and can afford to take and recommend funds or a portfolio in line with that.