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Are we all guilty of a little ‘BHS Syndrome’?

This week BHS, the well-known British high street store, announced that it was going into administration with over 11,000 staff facing the threat of redundancy.

The demise of BHS has been largely blamed on the company’s inability to embrace new technology quickly enough, and its outdated product range. Put simply, BHS got left behind by its customers and overtaken by its competitors.

Whilst we could tut with disapproval at BHS management for not being dynamic enough in their approach to business, we also have to admit that many of us get caught up in a BHS syndrome. It’s often too easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things or behaving in a certain way, without moving forward regularly reviewing the things which are most valuable to us.

It is often the things that we don’t deal with on a daily basis which are the most vulnerable. We may update our mobile phone every couple of years but many people don’t maintain the same rejuvenating approach to financial planning, despite the fact that money held in a pension can be worth considerably more than a smart handheld device.

What often happens is that over the years people accumulate pots of money. They can be odd pension pots from a variety of employers, which were opened 20 or 30 years ago, but have not been closely looked at since. They could be personal pension schemes which are outdated and costly in their fee structure, or are invested in funds which are no longer suitable. With forgotten pension schemes the dangerous assumption is that someone somewhere will be taking care of that important money and that the fund will grow as imagined and all will be OK. The same applies to some old savings accounts, dormant PEPs or premium bonds which have accumulated very little return.

Pension saving and investing products have moved on. There are more investment choices than ever before, and pension schemes have become cheaper and more efficient to administer in recent years. It is really important to regularly review your financial plans, to engage in how your money is working for you and where appropriate make the most of new financial products available.

A good Financial Adviser will be able to review your existing arrangements and advise you how to best move forward. They will also ensure that your investments are set up tax efficiently. The aim is to know that your finances are on track and that the products you are investing into are working towards reaching your long term goals. It is about treating your money as a small business, which needs careful management and ongoing reviews to ensure it progresses towards its goal.

For those approaching retirement, new pension freedoms now allow more flexibility on how you can draw an income, presenting many new options as to how you enter into retirement.

If you would like to speak to an adviser about reviewing your current investment and pension savings plans, or if you would like to discuss your options at retirement email letstalk@sanlam.co.uk, we would be happy to help.

Date Issued: 28.4.16

Please remember any views or facts expressed above are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. None of the information should be regarded as advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested. Any tax treatment is dependent upon individual client circumstances and may be subject to change.

Sanlam is a trading name of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited (Reg. in England 3879955) and English Mutual Limited (Reg. in England 6685913). English Mutual Limited is an appointed representative of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Registered Office: St. Bartholomew’s House, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NH.

Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.