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  • The season of goodwill has traditionally been followed by a season of increased filing of divorce petitions.

    Of course the assumption is that the festive period is a time when cracks show because of the pressure to have the perfect family Christmas. However, in reality the reason most people choose January to announce the decision, is that they do not wish to spoil Christmas for their loved ones. In actual fact, they have been planning the moment and putting it off until after the period of enforced togetherness. Divorce is far from a spur of the moment decision for the majority.

    Many couples have always shared financial decisions and organised their finances together, so going solo can be very daunting. Sometimes financial planners like FMB do not get involved until the very end when the court has imposed a pension sharing order. However, solicitors and courts are not financial experts. Often there could have been a better way to share the finances than the court decrees, particularly with pensions, to avoid loss of benefits within long standing policies. By analysing the pensions at an early stage, we can achieve a better outcome for both parties.

    Separating your financial affairs can be complex and when emotions are high, it makes sense to have somebody calmly helping with financial decisions that could have long term consequences.

    A fresh start in a new life is an excellent time to sit down and re-evaluate your priorities. If you have suddenly become the main breadwinner; supporting a family with no backstop, then it is especially important to think about making a long term financial plan to ensure you have everything in place for all eventualities.

    At FMB, we find that new clients often arrive because of a life change. We understand how emotionally draining and time consuming this is. Our job is to find solutions to carry you forward. The starting point is where you are now, but we also want to know about you as a person so we can unlock your thoughts, fears and dreams for the future in order to create your personal financial plan.

    So if your New Year is the start of a new life, click here to arrange a no obligation chat with a financial planner to talk about how we can help.

  • 16 December 2016

    The Joy of Giving...

    As we run up to Christmas, I have been talking about gifts with my children. My eldest daughter is beginning to understand the joy of giving as well as receiving and it’s lovely to see. She went off to school for the last day of term with a bag of treats for the girls in her class. They were just bits and bobs she made; pom poms, loom bands, rubbers etc. but what was delightful was the time she took to write each label.

    “To my amazing friend, here are some sticky notes to write all your ideas.”
    “To my brilliant friend, here are some pens so you can do your fantastic artwork.”

    She had taken the time to personalise each label with her friend’s special skills and compliment them. But what was so great was the excitement she clearly felt about giving them…

    If only giving remained such a simple delight!

    As we get older it becomes more complicated. We like to give to our children and it’s nice to help them while we can still be around to watch them enjoy it.

    Here are some doubts we hear from our clients…

    “I’m not sure they will spend it wisely.”
    “I want to give but what happens if they get divorced?”
    “I want to help them, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough for my own future.”
    “I want to give but what about tax?”

    A financial planner can help you with all of those conundrums, provide a listening ear and help you give in a way that suits you and your family. You can feel all the joy of giving without the worry!

  • Our Directors attended the PFS Financial Planning Symposium in Birmingham yesterday, which is a day jam-packed full of thought-provoking sessions from some of the industry’s finest speakers. Later in the afternoon I was shocked to see a tweet from M.D Liz Beavis stating a statistic they learned in one of the sessions – a scary 50% of people do not have any form of life cover!? This got me intrigued to uncover more statistics…

    Can you believe that, in 2014, of the 26.7 million households in the UK:

    • 20.4 million households had contents insurance and
    • 20.1 million had motor insurance

    YET ONLY

    • 3.2 million had mortgage protection and
    • 0.6 million had term life assurance?

    These are seriously alarming statistics!

    Of course, motor insurance is compulsory for anybody driving a car so that statistic is guaranteed to be high, but when contents insurance is not a legal requirement it is alarming to see that 76% of households possessed this cover in comparison to 12% of households having mortgage protection and a mere 2.2% possessing term life assurance.

    No-one likes to think about the unexpected things that life throws at us such as falling ill or dying, but all too often we deal with situations where clients say “if only we’d thought about this before.”

    There are many forms of life cover which can be used to suit different needs, term life assurance and mortgage protection are just two of these:

    Term life assurance is an insurance policy that pays out a sum of money if the insured person dies within a fixed period set out in the policy. These policies are usually used to provide for your family once you’re gone; covering living expenses and replacing lost income, enabling your loved ones to maintain a comfortable standard of living, cover bill costs and pay for funeral costs.

    Mortgage protection (or mortgage life assurance) is a decreasing insurance plan, specifically designed to protect a repayment mortgage. If the policyholder were to die during the policy term, the policy would pay out a capital sum that will be just sufficient to repay the outstanding mortgage; allowing loved ones to continue living in the family home without the worries of affording the payments.

    So, what 50% do you fall into? Are your loved ones protected should the worst happen?


    Source: Association of British Insurers (2016) UK Insurance & Long-Term Savings Key Facts

  • 17 November 2016

    The Season of Goodwill...

    Caption: Image courtesy of Eden Mencap & F Cameron Wilson, Penrith

    The season of goodwill is fast approaching, but here at FMB we are involved in community projects and charity work all year round.

    FMB has always supported local events and clubs; having begun in Endmoor we are proud to sponsor the shirts for Endmoor KGR Football Club. We also support Kendal Bowling League, Kirkby Lonsdale Rugby Club and Levens Choir.

    This year we have supported events such as the WI Charity Gala, The King Singers event for St John’s Hospice, the Annual Rotary Golf Day at Kirkby Lonsdale and this month, the Brathay Trust’s 70th Anniversary Gala.

    We held a retirement seminar last month where volunteers from Cumbria Voluntary Service, The University of the Third Age and Lakeland Voice Choir presented to over 50 of our clients. For kindly giving up their time, we made £100 donations to charities of their choice which included The Bendrigg Trust and Cumbria Voluntary Services itself.

    It’s not just about the money though; as much as we know that is appreciated, we provide our team with opportunities to get involved in charity work within office hours, which you have probably seen in past newsletters with our fundraising efforts for Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool (South Lakeland Hydrotherapy Trust). At last count, we have raised £15,146 for this fantastic local charity. We also encourage our team to promote their own fundraising endeavours within the workplace too; at the moment, one of our financial planners, Louise Phillips, is currently raising money for Royal Lancaster Infirmary Neonatal Unit through Webb Ivory fundraising catalogue orders, a charity very close to her heart.

    We have two Trustees amongst our staff; Ruth Power who is on the board of South Lakeland Hydrotherapy Trust and Roger Jackson who is Vice Chair of the board of Trustees at South Lakeland Carers.

    Since becoming a Trustee with SLC, Roger has been working with the charity pro-bono to implement a pension scheme for their staff. Last week, Joss Hardisty from SLC visited our office to give a really useful presentation to our team which explained the work of the South Lakes Carers and how they might be able to help our staff and clients. It is great to be able to support the charity and promote the work it does.

    Some of our clients are charities themselves, and we work with organisations such as Eden Mencap on their staff pension scheme. Eden Mencap provides support and opportunities throughout the Eden Valley from their offices based in Penrith. Their services specialise in learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder meeting individual needs. At the moment they are raising funds to buy the building that they provide services from and are asking for brick by brick donations to help them hit their £200,000 target.

    FMB have signed up to help and we would like to kindly ask clients, especially those in the Eden Valley area, to join us. You can buy a brick from as little as £15 which will go a long way to helping secure the future and sustainability of the organisation.

    Find out more about the ‘donate a brick’ scheme and how you can help on their website by clicking HERE

  • Our team before we started The Ullswater Way
    Caption: Our team before we started The Ullswater Way
    Me enjoying some much needed flat ground
    Caption: Me enjoying some much needed flat ground
    Stunning views over Ullswater
    Caption: Stunning views over Ullswater
    All still smiling! (L-R) Katie, Kelly, Dan, Helen, Ali, Alyson, Chris and Phoebe
    Caption: All still smiling! (L-R) Katie, Kelly, Dan, Helen, Ali, Alyson, Chris and Phoebe

    Why walk 24 miles? My husband thinks I am mad, but along with 15 other colleagues from FMB I took part in the Ullswater Way Challenge at the weekend. The event was organised by Nav4 Adventure and takes in the newly opened circular route around Ullswater as well as some additional high level sections that really add to the fun and diversity of the walk.

    There were times during the day when I felt really challenged and at the edge of my physical capability but it was all worth it. Here’s why we encourage our staff to take part in these kind of madcap adventures:

    • Setting yourself a physical challenge for some point in the future (and I mean actually booking it and committing to it), really does make you up your game and do more exercise. We think that’s a good thing for our team… we want them to be healthy and well. They don’t look that well right now but in the long term they will thank us for it
    • We had a shared experience and made memories that we will remember forever as a team; some good, some bad (thankfully the weather was kind this time, but don’t ask the ones who did the Keswick to Barrow in 2014!)
    • We got out in the beautiful Lake District for a whole day, what’s not to like about that? The Autumn colours were stunning, I love that feeling where you can smell bracken and moss on your clothes when you get home. Put that in a bottle Lancôme!
    • MD Liz Beavis, reminded me en-route, “You really appreciate the little things when you do something like this.” She’s right; you are so grateful for that piece of flapjack at the check point, the point where we went onto grass after a mile of rock, that hot bath at the end and the feeling of being so overwhelmingly tired that you sleep like a baby.
    • Working as a team; making sure everyone has the support they need at the time when they need it. Keeping your spirits up with silly jokes and idle chit chat…for 10 hours! We still liked each other at the end as well.
    • The sense of satisfaction when you look back and say, flipping heck I really did walk THAT far!
    • The banter you have when you’re back in the office about how big your blisters are and how everyone looks in their slippers!

    So what’s next?

    Well, I didn’t get to walk the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks last year due to a chest infection so a few of us are thinking of having another crack at that. But you know what, it really doesn’t matter what the challenge is, as long as we keep on having the challenge. As "America's Marathon Man", Jerry Dunn, quite rightly says, "Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits!"

    That’s what counts.

    If you would like to see all of our pictures from the day, check out the album on our FMB Facebook Page HERE.

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