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  • Chris Hill taking part in last year's Keswick to Barrow fundraising walk
    Caption: Chris Hill taking part in last year's Keswick to Barrow fundraising walk

    I recently read Alfred Wainwright's “Coast to Coast” walk. In it he states, “One should always have a definite objective in a walk, as in life it is so much more satisfying to reach a target by personal effort than to wander aimlessly. An objective is an ambition, and life without ambition is... well, aimless wandering."

    You can relate this statement to so many different aspects of life, however, I immediately associated it with financial planning and how identifying an individual’s goals is the most important component of any financial plan. When determining life goals, many will look towards longer-term aspirations such as retiring early or buying that dream holiday home. Others will look more at shorter-term goals such as saving for a child's wedding or university fees.

    I will soon be (hopefully) achieving a personal goal of my own and completing the Yorkshire 'three peaks' challenge. On 13th May, some of my colleagues and I will be taking on the peaks of Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough as part of our company fundraising efforts for Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool. That’s approximately 24 miles with around 2100 metres of ascent - all in under 12 hours. Being a keen fell walker, this is an event I have always wanted to do and although I have summited each of these mountains a number of times previously (Whernside being a personal favourite), I have never taken on all three together.

    Over the last few weeks, the team has had the opportunity to complete a few training walks in preparation for the challenge. Fortunately, most of the walks have been in good weather, some in glorious sunshine and we have been lucky enough to enjoy some spectacular views from the mountains around the Langdale valley. The latest of our preparation walks on Sunday, however, showed us how, as in life, we must be prepared to adapt our plans. After a week of wall to wall sunshine and temperatures of 20 degrees, that morning we were met with grey skies, low cloud, rain and falling temperatures.

    When we met at Kentmere Church, the rain had turned to snowfall and the cloud base had fallen further. We agreed that, in view of the size of our group and also the different levels of experience in tackling winter mountain conditions, we would change our plans and instead walk along the valley floor. While we did not complete our intended walk on that particular day, as a result of sensible planning, we all still had a very enjoyable morning. We all remain focused on the three peaks in just over four weeks’ time.

    Although we will, of course, aim to complete the circuit in under the 12 hours, I believe it's more important to focus on the main objective of the day - raising money for a fantastic charity. I'm sure that Wainwright wouldn't mind if some take a little bit longer providing we all make it back to the bottom safely, and everybody enjoys their day out in the fells.

    If you would like to support us and Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool, you can do so securely online via our JustGiving page. We are grateful for all donations, no matter how big or small!

  • Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) have been featured more widely in the press in recent years and are something I discuss with each of my clients. They are a legal tool allowing you to appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself in the future, otherwise known as ‘lacking mental capacity’.

    These might be decisions concerning your finances or your health and welfare. For the latter, using an LPA can ensure that the appointed person has the power to fulfil any medical wishes that you have and ensure that are not given any treatment that you do not want to receive.

    There are two different types of LPAs; property and affairs LPA and health and welfare LPA. Each type covers different decisions and you can choose to apply for both or just one of these.

    A property and affairs LPA covers decisions about your finances and property and can include; paying your household bills, collecting your income and benefits or selling your house if necessary. This could be used even if you still have mental capacity to deal with these things yourself, for example if you were living abroad.

    A health and welfare LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions such as where you live, or day to day care such as your diet and what clothes you wear. This type of LPA can only be used once you have lost mental capacity, and it must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

    Nobody likes to think about growing old and possibly losing mental capacity. However, an LPA can be thought of in a similar way to an insurance policy. You insure your house, your car, and your life - this is simply like taking out an insurance policy to ensure someone you trust will be able to make decisions for you if you are not able to.

    If you are interested in setting up an LPA, FMB can assist by referring you to a solicitor who specialises in this area.

  • Practice Manager, Karen Dickinson
    Caption: Practice Manager, Karen Dickinson

    It has been eight months since I joined FMB as Practice Manager, where has the time gone!?

    When I joined the team back in July, I was immediately impressed by the professionalism of the staff and their commitment to helping our clients achieve the very best with their finances.

    It was also apparent that, despite being a well-established family business for over 27 years, the Directors had no desire to stand still and become outdated. In fact, one of the main reasons I applied for the role was the forward-thinking approach of the management team and also their belief in giving something back to the community.

    Our clients are at the heart of everything we do here at FMB and we are always looking at ways to improve so that they are constantly receiving a first-class service.

    Within my first week, we took on two new trainees within the Client Services Team, Patrick & Amy. Within two months, we implemented some structural changes to strengthen the administrative support provided to the Financial Planners and, therefore, improve the service we offer to our clients. These changes were welcomed by the staff and have had a very positive impact on our effectiveness and efficiency as a business.

    As the daughter of a (now retired) Prudential Area Manager, I was well versed in the importance of financial advice & planning. However, seeing the "FMB approach" first-hand, has given me a very different perspective on the value behind holistic, full financial planning, compared with how I’d always experienced it.

    When I've met with a financial advisor in the past, I got the standard; “what can you afford to save each month”? or, “how much do you want to put away in your pension"? I was never asked how much income I thought I would need to live off when I came to retire or what exactly it was that I was saving for.

    Our planners don’t just suggest that a client needs ‘this’ policy or ‘that’ investment. They get to know the client first to gain a better understanding of what they would like to achieve with their money for the shorter, medium and longer term. They assess the client’s current and future financial situation and then look at finding the right solution for them, to try and achieve those goals. If the goals aren't realistic or achievable, the planner can see what tweaks need to be made in order to get them on the right track.

    The planners take their time explaining any recommendations and any risks in simple, easy to understand language. If desired, they can also help the client visualise their financial position by utilising some great cash flow modelling technology.

    We don’t always know what the future holds, but having effective financial planning can provide you with the peace of mind you need. Being able to see what a difference our services have made to our clients lives, makes me extremely proud to be part of the team!

  • It was a real pleasure to see so many at our pensions freedom workshop earlier this month. Many existing clients, potential clients, solicitors and accountants attended the event at the Castle Green Hotel, all with a similar agenda; to find out what the changes are and how it may affect them.

    I cannot emphasise enough how big the upcoming changes to pension legislation actually are – they are the biggest that we have seen in over a century. Pension investment vehicles will no longer be a means of keeping your pension savings locked away. With the changes, most pensions (apart from final salary type schemes) will allow people to spend their nest egg as and when they choose, after the age of 55.

    We received some great feedback from those attending the event, many expressing how the presentation has helped them understand the changes a lot more. Many advised that they didn’t realise just how different and flexible the new rules are, and what opportunities they present for additional tax savings and inheritance tax planning.

    For anyone who was unable to attend the event, I am pleased to announce that FMB will be holding a smaller session at 10.30am on Friday 24th April at our Shenstone offices.

    If you have retirement on your mind, then this event is for you. Don’t bury your head in the sand – be prepared and join us to find out just what this means for you.

    Our workshop will cover:-

    • To which kind of pension the rules apply
    • How the changes in tax treatment will affect you and your pension(s)
    • How your pension(s) can be protected and passed down to the next generation
    • The various ways you can now access your pension benefits

    The workshop will include cakes and refreshments and there will be many FMB financial planners on hand if you should have any individual questions.

    Please email Rebecca if you would like to reserve a place.

  • Do you follow us on our social media?

    We find our social media an alternative method to inform people of our latest company news and events, our fundraising efforts for Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool and our weekly blogs – as well as sharing some of the latest industry news and other things we think may be of interest. 

    Why not follow / like us now:

     

    If social media isn’t your thing, why not sign up to our e-newsletter instead (just enter your name and email address in the box at the bottom of our homepage).

    We hope to get a ‘like’ from you soon. Alternatively, our kettle is always on if you would prefer to call in for a cup of tea instead!

    @LOUISEFMB

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Financial Management Bureau Ltd is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Shenstone House, Helsington, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 8AA. Registered number: 02089786