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  • With Cadbury’s crème eggs on sale since 1st January, you could be forgiven for thinking Easter was just around the corner… Well, it isn't. It always falls on a Sunday between 22nd March and 25th April inclusive, approximately seven days after the astronomical full moon, not a certain date or a definitive time - it changes.

    Although this seems relatively simple, predicting the movements of the moon is far from it and determining the exact moment of the full moon even less so. The date of Easter could differ by a week if the full moon falls on a Saturday or Sunday, by an entire month if on March 20th/21st boundary or even both! Then there is the question of where the full moon should be observed - it could easily be on different days in different parts of the world. One case saw an eclipse of the full moon on Easter Monday!

    What I am trying to say is making plans can be a changing affair and what is right on one day could be wrong the next.

    Take planning your retirement, for example. It isn't as straightforward as just putting your nest egg into a 'pension', especially with the significant changes we have seen in pension legislation and the different saving vehicles available. In the last 30 (or so) years alone we have seen SERPS/S2P being introduced and then abolished, "A-Day" and fairly recently, Auto-enrolment, to name a few. Not to mention the most radical changes to pension legislation that the UK has seen in over a century, which will be coming into effect this April. And this is just the pensions world - I haven’t even begun to mention the changes we have seen in taxation and financial services practices over that time!

    Retirement planning can be confusing; not only do you have the battle of keeping up with the changes but then there's the question of how much money you are even going to need at retirement? Where do you start? The good news is that, with sound financial planning, you can get the answers to those ever important questions and put the plans in place to achieve the standard of retirement that you wish for.

    Why not give one of our financial planners a call today and let us get you on the right path to a more secure future.

    P.S. Easter is on Sunday 5th April.

  • 20 February 2015

    Company Culture...

    I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Cumbria Family Business Network events recently which has given me a great insight into other family businesses. I attended presentations by Jonathan Warburton of the Warburton family and Sarah Dunning of the Westmorland Family. They both were passionate about their business and were keen to stress that you need the right cultures and values for a business to be successful.

    FMB is a family business, and I believe part of our success is due to having the right culture and family values in place. Family values are important because they provide a moral compass for the business, they act as a support through difficult times and they represent the bedrock to the culture of the business. I am not a member of the Beavis family but having worked for the company for nearly 25 years, I feel as though I am. I am passionate about the business and the success of the company, but I also want to ensure the environment we work in is a great place to work too. In order to do that you need to ensure that you have the right behaviours in place.

    I looked at our business plan and reminded myself of what we had agreed were our core values:

    • Honesty, trust and excellent service
    • Financial security for our clients, our business and our employees
    • Happiness for our clients and staff

    But I think it goes further than that. There are a number of other behaviours that you need to demonstrate in order to achieve your core values. In order for us to provide an excellent service, we also need colleagues to take responsibility, provide a first-class service, be reliable, committed, motivated and consistent.

    We need all of these values to be embedded to provide financial security for our clients, business and employees and I believe that that will provide happiness for our clients and staff!

    We need to reassess the core values regularly and question whether they are still aligned as values may change, and they then may hold your business back.

    Your culture is a combination of all the behaviours that exist within your business at any point in time, and I believe that the behaviours of everyone at FMB is a great representation of the culture of our business. I hope you agree!

  • With all this talk of tax avoidance and evasion in the news at the moment, people might feel they will be vilified for even thinking about doing their annual ISA. But let’s get things in perspective here. Tax avoidance and tax evasion are very different things! One is illegal and will see you being held at ‘her majesty’s pleasure’ and the other one is just good common sense.

    Successive governments have put rules in place to allow people to mitigate a certain amount of tax – and the reason they have done this is to encourage people to make good decisions. Giving people tax breaks on savings (such as ISAs and pensions) is encouraging people to save money for the future and allow them to be financially independent and therefore not reliant on the state.

    They also give good tax breaks for investing in Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes. Why else would people invest in high-risk, start-up enterprises, which quite often breed some of the greatest areas of innovation for all kinds of different industries? Where would Richard Branson, or James Dyson have been without a few people willing to invest in them? The Government is giving these tax breaks to give the economy the very boost it needs – private investment. Do all political Donor’s give money purely out of the goodness of their heart? Giving any major political party money has great tax incentives in itself. So be careful what you wish for Mr Milliband.

  • The FMB Team at Zurich's Glasgow offices
    Caption: The FMB Team at Zurich's Glasgow offices

    "Our annual company conference is one of the main highlights for the staff here at FMB. It is now in its fourteenth year and has seen the team visit cities such as London, Edinburgh & Liverpool as well as staying a bit closer to home.

    This year's conference was held on Friday (6th February). Our office closed for the day, and our 35 strong team boarded the train and headed to Zurich’s impressive offices in Glasgow.

    Once there, we grabbed a coffee and took a seat ready for the presentation to begin. Managing Director, Liz Beavis, started with energising us on where she saw the company going between now and 2020.

    Gill Forrester, Director of HR, then took over and spoke about the major company restructure which took place in September 2014 where several Financial Planners were appointed a personal Relationship Manager. 2014 also saw five new people join the team.

    Director of Business Development, Ruth Power, gave us an insight into the company's marketing plan for the year ahead and areas of focus.

    FMB’s Practice Manager, Karen Dickinson, spoke about the administration changes she had implemented and ongoing work to ensure efficiency and greater productivity.

    Gill announced the many staff achievements we saw in 2014; recognition awards, examination success and where our current fundraising total stands for our local charity, Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool.

    Next up was the award that everyone was waiting for, 'Employee of the Year'. Each year all staff members vote in a secret ballot for a colleague that they feel has ‘gone the extra mile’ and deserves the accolade. Sarah Allen was this year's winner and was delighted to win the award. Along with the title, she will receive a designated parking space for the year, two extra days holiday and also a day out and overnight stay tailored to her equestrian interests.

    After lunch, we boarded the open top bus for our own private tour of Glasgow. Fortunately, the weather was on our side and it stayed dry, although as you can imagine for a clear February afternoon; extremely cold. Nevertheless, many were determined to get the best views of the city and braved the open top floor to take on the icy Scottish winds.

    After an informative and entertaining tour, the bus dropped us at Carluccios where we could warm up with some drinks and nibbles. After a ‘full on’ day, it was time for most of us to catch the 5.30 p.m. train back to Oxenholme. The remainder of the team had arranged to stay the night in Glasgow and enjoy a bit more of the city's culture.

    I wonder where we will be heading for conference 2016?!?"

    By Angela Nottingham, FMB Relationship Manager

  • Individuals aged 50 to 65 routinely underestimate their life expectancy by up to eight years, according to the findings of new research from Aviva.

    In a survey; healthy female respondents said they believed that they would live to 84, while their male counterparts said 80. However, the actual life expectancy for those groups currently stands at 89 and 88 years respectively.

    In another survey by Aegon, one in ten people approaching retirement believes that their pension pot will only need to last ten years. This has led to concerns being raised that some individuals may be underprepared for retirement at a time when financial readiness is more important than ever.

    Source: Just Retirement.

    So, how long will you live and how long will your pension need to last for?

    I tried a few of these online sites to predict my life expectancy, but the results I got were widely different. According to one I would live to 74.6 years, 83.5 years according to another but as much as 85.9 when I input some lifestyle details. That didn’t really help me much!

    Under the terms of the pension reforms coming into effect in April, people will be able to access their pension pot from 55. If they want to, they can also take ALL of their pension pot as a cash lump sum. However, that money might have to last them for 25 or perhaps 30 years so serious consideration on how you will fund your lifestyle in retirement will be needed because once it has gone - it has gone!

    If you would like to talk to a qualified financial planner who can help you answer these questions and many more, please give us a call.

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