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Wealth & Financial Planning Advice

Taking control of your finances

Featured in Darling Magazine 

Wealth Planner, Lisa Lloyd discusses the importance of having a financial plan in place.

Women are more ‘in tune’ and taking control of their finances more than ever before, I believe. We now live in a world where women are consummate ‘multi taskers’ – and are quite used to and adept at working full time in part time hours, having one to four children of school age, running a busy household and any number of other daily tasks which seem to frequently pop up when you’re not expecting them. Not forgetting to mention looking after a partner, little ones or in some cases elderly parents.

Some of you may remember Nicola Horlick telling us in the 90’s that ‘we can have it all’ and be a ‘superwoman’, I didn’t believe that for one moment at the time and I still don’t today. It’s simply too exhausting trying to live up to that expectation.

So, as a modern day working woman with or without children, how do we ensure that our daily finances are looked after as well as planning for the future and making sure that we can afford all of the lovely things that we want to do, when we reach the point that we don’t have to go to work anymore? The female clients that I work with are either in charge of the family’s finances because they’re more knowledgeable about them or they’ve come out of a relationship i.e. post-divorce or separation and are dealing with them for the first time.

Either way, having an organised financial plan in place makes you feel confident that day to day finances are covered as well as providing for the future.

To illustrate this in practice, let’s look at an example case study scenario: 

Lucy (38) and Alex (42) from Sevenoaks are married with three children of school ages. Alex works in London earning £150,000 as a basic salary with an annual bonus of £60,000. Lucy works part time earning £40,000, she intends to return to full time work when the children are all at senior school. They pay school fees for all of the children at a cost of circa £55,000 per annum (paid termly from salary and bonus). They have income of circa £9,800 per month after tax. They have monthly expenditure of £6,000 pm leaving them with circa £3,800 net disposable per month.

Helping Lucy and Alex to produce an effective long-term financial plan will involve detailed discussions about their medium and long term objectives and aspirations and, essentially, will require regular review. However, given the above scenario, the following basic considerations would be appropriate for Lucy and her family:

Continued Financial Security: It is important to ensure the continued financial security of Lucy and her family in the event of a life changing event such as long term illness or injury, or the premature death of either parent. Protecting against such eventualities is a key part of any long term financial plan. Another essential part of any family’s financial plan is making sure that wills are kept up to date.

Long-Term Planning: Lucy and Alex currently enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. In order to maintain a similar lifestyle in retirement meaningful planning needs to start in good time. A review of their long-term savings/investment strategy should ensure that they are both taking maximum advantage of any pension facilities and contributions offered by their employers and also the personal tax advantages offered to each of them through pension schemes. This is especially true for Alex who pays tax at the additional tax rate.

Medium-Term Planning: Whilst Lucy and Alex are meeting major outgoings such as school fees out of ongoing income and bonuses, medium term savings/investment planning might help to address such expenditure more efficiently, especially when tax is taken into consideration.

Tax Efficiency: Lucy is currently under the 40% tax threshold so a review of how the couple’s finances are structured would be a worthwhile exercise. Although this might change when Lucy returns to work on a full-time basis any tax savings made now will be helpful, especially whilst Alex remains an additional rate tax-payer. On the longer term horizon, based on their current circumstances, inheritance tax issues may arise in the future and it may be that planning for this could be investigated whilst Lucy and Alex are still young.

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