Financial planners look back at 2020
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In a departure from our regular column, Lowestoft-based Smith & Pinching Chartered Financial Planners take a reflective look at the world of independent financial advice this Christmas.
Jeremy Woodruff: While life has been very different this year for many people, for us it’s been business as usual. We’ve been busy keeping in contact with clients using all forms of communication. Thankfully, technology today means we can have remote meetings and discussions so the service we give clients has been uninterrupted.
Richard Barker: Many clients have been anxious about the turbulence of financial markets, particularly during the early days of the pandemic. It’s been important to make sure that we help clients to take reasoned, calm decisions about their finances that look at the longer term rather than make knee-jerk reactions to day-to-day changes in values.
Matthew Beck: Yes, that’s been one of the most important messages we’ve tried to get across: that investing is all about the long-term. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we advocate making no changes to portfolios where needed. Reviewing, monitoring and adjusting investments is an essential part of a financial plan, in good times and bad. But the key is to have a plan in the first place, so that you can track progress and adapt to any change in external factors.
Jeremy: Getting independent advice from a Chartered Financial Planner can give clients the reassurance that they are doing what is needed to provide for their families both during their lifetimes and on their death. We’ve had a lot of discussions about potential Inheritance Tax liabilities and have been able to reassure many clients that this is something that can be successfully managed.
Richard: One of the positives about life under lockdown has been that it has prompted some clients to think more about retirement – both in terms of its timing and of the lifestyle they’d like to maintain. We’ve had some really useful discussions about what they need to do during their remaining years of work in order to achieve their retirement goals.
Matthew: That’s been the perfect discussion in which to involve lifetime cashflow planning – a tool that enables us to project into the future using a number of different scenarios, to demonstrate the outcomes that could be achieved under different strategies and market conditions.
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Jeremy: It looks like the end of the year will have a more positive feel, as markets have reacted to news of potential vaccines. I’m looking forward to 2021 and am feeling optimistic about the months ahead.
Richard: Yes, further recovery is looking likely over the coming months although it will undoubtedly take the global economy some time to return to pre-Covid values.
Matthew: It’s been a privilege to be able to support clients throughout this extraordinary year – but I’m particularly looking forward to when I can meet them face-to-face again.
Jeremy, Richard and Matthew wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas. Any opinions expressed in this article do not constitute advice. The value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested.
For more information visit www.smith-pinching.co.uk