Insights
Insights 07.12.21 Author: Emma Sands

Put your family in good stead for 2022; financial planning ideas to discuss over Christmas

Insights 07.12.2021 Author: Emma Sands

It’s December 27th. Only the toffee pennies are left rattling around the Quality Street tin, and The Time Machine is about to start on BBC Two.

Your family are still over, and you exhausted your conversation topics over Christmas Day dinner.

Was financial planning one of those topics? I bet it wasn’t. A 2020 US poll found that personal finance was families’ third-most-challenging subject to talk about, behind sex and death.*

At CBW Financial Planning we are sensitive to the emotional value of money. We work hard to help our clients through their fears and those awkward conversations, and encourage families to be open and honest.

Here are some topics you could consider discussing, to put your family in good stead for the year ahead:

Wills

Any financial adviser will tell you how vital a Will is for an effective plan. You should also review the contents every couple of years so that it’s up to date and reflects any changes.

If you have a Will, well done! However, does your family know where it’s lodged? It’s important to have your paperwork in order, and to tell your family how to find the necessary information and how to contact your trusted advisers.

Although it’s not easy to talk about, we should let our families know what we’d like to happen after we die, to avoid decisions coming as a shock. Your children’s own plans may include an inheritance for which you haven’t made provisions. Or maybe they’ll be aghast to find out that you scrimped all your life to give them a lump sum when you die.

Powers of Attorney

It’s not unusual that one partner is more responsible for managing the finances. If you’re married or in a civil partnership, you may assume your spouse can automatically deal with your bank accounts and pensions, if you lose the ability to do so.

This is not the case.

Even if you have a joint account, the bank can decide to temporarily restrict the use of the account until a Power of Attorney has been registered.

If there’s no Power of Attorney and you or your partner loses capacity to make decisions, the Court of Protection will appoint someone to take control of your assets. This can be a lengthy and costly process.

You are never too young to consider this legal document as essential – your solicitor can help you draft a Power of Attorney, although it’s possible to complete one yourself and we recommend you speak to us in the first instance.

Budgeting

It’s worth mentioning here that we’re not talking about millennials eschewing the property ladder for avocado on toast! With that said, we’re constantly surprised at how many people have no idea how much life costs.

When reviewing a client’s situation, we like to obtain two figures as a bare minimum:

  1. How much does it cost to keep a roof over your head?
  2. How much do you spend enjoying yourself?

When looking at budgeting and saving, you can only make cuts from the second figure. It’s about balancing the needs of the present self and the future self; life is for living but we need to prepare for the years ahead.

Tell your children what you would do differently with your money. Admitting you made mistakes and sharing your experiences will help cultivate an environment in which your children feel able to come to you for help.

Pension planning

A huge change over the last 20 years is the withdrawal of final salary pension schemes. Your children’s retirement income will be less secure than yours, so they need to take more control over their retirement planning.

If they are eligible for their workplace auto-enrolment scheme, encourage them to opt in. An employer must contribute too, so it’s free money! There are also generous tax breaks.

When you’ve helped your children devise a budget, they will know how much they can afford to dedicate to long term savings. The effect of compound growth is particularly potent, so the sooner you start, the better.  As an example, £200 invested monthly for 40 years growing at 5% p.a. would produce a pot worth over £289,000. The same amount invested monthly for 10 years would only be worth around £30,000.

Summary

Our CBW Financial Planning team members reflect our clients. We’re single, married, parents, child-free, grey-haired and newly graduated. We’re not just qualified on paper – we have the experience to help create and maintain a financial plan for you and your whole family.

If you want to get 2022 off on the right foot, talk to each other over the Christmas period and please come and speak to us in the new year.

What next?

To discuss any of the topics covered in this article, please contact Emma Sands.

*(source: https://newsroom.lfg.com/nearly-half-americans-struggle-to-discuss-finances-with-loved-ones-reveals-lincoln-financial-group-research.htm).