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Fairstone discuss: What is income protection insurance?

There are various complex risks in life that we all face, such as serious illness, an accident or death. What would happen if something were to happen to you?

Fairstone independent financial adviser Adam J Walker asks what is income protection insurance?

I never want to be the one who takes that call from a surviving partner and has to explain why there is no cover in place or why it was not considered or reviewed.

Although few wish to pay for it and no one wants to claim, it is super important to have at least some protection in place, not necessarily to protect you but to protect those who you love.

As part of our holistic review service, we want to ensure clients and their family are properly and suitably protected so they have every chance of meeting their long-term goals (the end desired outcome) and objectives (the steps to get there).  A big part of this is the importance of protecting what you already have worked so hard to build.

Would your family be able to cope financially with the impact an unexpected event might have? These are not easy questions to ask but it is important to consider what would happen if an unexpected event or accident took place, and how you could protect your family from the financial effects of serious illness or death with protection insurance.


Big part in our lives

Deciding what your priorities are and understanding what options you have are key parts of the protection planning process. This helps you ensure that you have the financial protection most suitable for your circumstances.

Every family is different, but they often play a big part in our lives. It’s important to think about how we can protect them against the unexpected as best we can.


Protection insurance for the unexpected:

Life Insurance

Death is an unpredictable event, so it’s important to make sure you have the right level of cover in place. The amount of life insurance you need will depend on your individual circumstances. There are many good reasons to take out a policy. For example, if you have dependents who rely on your income, then life insurance can provide financial security for them if you die.

There are different types of life insurance available, so choosing the right policy for your needs is key. Term life insurance provides cover for a set period of time, while whole of life insurance covers you for your entire life. You can also choose between level term insurance, which pays out a fixed amount if you die during the term of the policy, and decreasing term insurance, which pays out less as the policy progresses.

There is also a variation on the basic term assurance theme that is often worth considering as it can reduce the cost of cover. Family Income Benefit is a policy with a sum assured that reduces uniformly over time but provides regular payments of capital on the death of the breadwinner (the life assured).

If you have any debt, such as a mortgage, then it’s also important to review your life insurance needs and make sure that this area is covered so not to leave your loved ones burdened with debt. Without your income, the repayment may quickly become unaffordable and result in the family home needing to be sold.


Income protection insurance

There are a number of reasons why income protection insurance should be a part of your protection planning. Firstly, it can help to protect your income if you are unable to work. This could be due to illness, injury or any other reason that means you are unable to work. It can help to cover the costs of your everyday living, such as your mortgage or rent, bills and food.

If you do not have sufficient protection in place this may mean you have to rely on your savings, or on the help of family and friends. Income protection insurance is especially important if you are self-employed or have a family to support. If you are unable to work, your income protection policy will provide you with a replacement income so that you can continue to meet your financial obligations.

There are different types of income protection insurance policies available, so you should obtain professional financial advice to ensure you can compare the different options and fully understand the terms and conditions of the policy.


Critical illness cover

If you become seriously ill and are diagnosed with one of a list of specified conditions even if you are still able to work, critical illness cover could provide you with a financial safety net. It can help to pay for treatment, to make adaptations to your home or lifestyle, provide an income for your family if you are unable to work or other costs associated with your illness. In some cases, it may even pay out a lump sum if you die as a result of your condition.

There is no guarantee that you will not experience a critical illness during your lifetime, so it is important to have this type of cover in place. It will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are financially protected if the worst were to happen. Critical illness cover is not a substitute for health insurance.


Need a helping hand for you and your loved ones?

Do your children, partner or other relatives depend on your income? Many families would have to cut their living costs in order to survive financially in the event of the main breadwinner falling ill or dying prematurely. If you are unclear on your protection requirements, we are here to explain your options.


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Wills and power of attorneys – FAQs

Fairstone Chartered financial planner Sean Larkin looks at frequently asked questions around wills and power of attorneys

How do I go about making a will?

Whilst you can make a DIY will, it is best to use a professional will drafter such as a solicitor to ensure that it is drafted correctly as the consequences of getting this wrong can be expensive.


What will I need to consider before making a will?

Firstly, decide who you wish to appoint as executors to handle your estate on death. If you have children under 18 years, decide who you also want as their guardians. Then itemise any specific requests that you wish to make, noting down what they are, amount of money or percentage if applicable and the names and addresses of those that you wish to benefit. This can also include a charity.

Then decide who you wish to benefit from your remaining estate such as your loved ones, family or friends. Consider what you would like to happen if any of your beneficiaries were to die before you and who you would like to benefit in their absence.


How do I work out the value of my estate?

You can work out the value of your estate by noting down and totting up the value of your money, investments, life assurance not in trust, property and possessions. Then deduct any liabilities you have such as mortgages, credit cards and car loans etc. This will give you the net value of your estate.


Is making a will expensive?

Most wills are straight forward and inexpensive to set up in comparison to the costs and consequences of not having one.


How many executors should I appoint?

Most people appoint their respective spouse or partner, however it is important to consider that they could predecease you and therefore appointing an extra executor would be beneficial.


What happens if I die without making a will?

The Government will step in and decide who will benefit from your estate through the laws of intestacy. This may mean that people could benefit that you may not have wished to.


I live with my partner but I’m not married or in a civil partnership, how would I be affected?

The law of intestacy doesn’t recognise partnerships; this would mean your partner would not be able to benefit from your estate under these rules.


I have children under the age of 18, can I make provision for them in the event of my death?

It’s even more important that you have a will in place if you have children under the age of 18. Through a will, you can appoint legal guardians to look after and be responsible for your children until they become adults.


How often should I update my will?

There is no set time period, however a good way to update your will is to do this at any major life event or anytime you wish to change how and who you want to benefit from your estate.


Where will I store my will?

It is best to store your will with a solicitor. However, if you are planning on keeping it at home, it is best to store this in a fire-proof safe and register it with the National Will Register.


What will I need to consider before making an LPA?

You will need to consider who you wish to appoint as your attorneys. This can be anyone over the age of 18 years such as relatives, friends, husband or wife. You can also appoint a professional such as a solicitor. When appointing attorneys, you should give consideration as to how well they look after their own affairs and if you would trust them to make decisions in your best interests.


How many attorney’s should I appoint?

It is good practice to appoint at least two people and to give some thought as to whether you wish for them make decisions separately or together.


How do I go about applying and registering an LPA?

You can apply and register for an LPA via the www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/make-lasting-power .

Please note LPA’s are only applicable in England and Wales. You can find out more about making an enduring power of attorney in N.Ireland or power of attorney in Scotland via the following websites:


Take control now

At Fairstone we have a wide range of advisers across the country who are able to assist you in making or updating a will, setting up a lasting power of attorney agreement or answering any other questions you may have. Alternatively, sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest news and expert insights.

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Wills and LPAs are not regulated by the FCA. The details relating to the laws of England & Wales are correct at the time of publication, and legislation may change. Fairstone Group Limited and associated companies are not legal advisers therefore specialist legal advice may be required before establishing wills and LPAs under any jurisdiction applicable to place of residence. 

Expert insight: Making a Will and keeping it updated

Making a Will and keeping it up to date is the only way you can ensure that when you die your wishes are clear.

Here Fairstone Chartered Financial Planner Sean Larkin looks at the issue of Wills, the importance of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney and the repercussions of death without a Will.


Do I need a Will?

According to recent research carried out by Unbiased.co.uk, over 60% of UK adults don’t have a Will. Out of those 60%, a fifth of people don’t believe that they have enough assets to make it worthwhile.

The number of people without a Will is now at an all-time high and while it is hard to pinpoint an accurate reason for this, there are two common misconceptions.


Death without a Will

Firstly, a lot of people think that they don’t have enough assets to make a Will and that family and friends will be able to decide amongst themselves as to who gets what in the event of a person dying. Secondly, people wrongly assume Wills are complicated, time consuming and expensive.

The best way to help ensure your property, possessions and savings go to the people and causes you care about after you die, is to arrange a properly drafted Will, as it will allow you to decide how your assets are distributed upon death. You can leave your entire estate to one or many people, or to a charity.

Image showing person handing small wooden house, representing handing over an estate.

Making a Will is even more important if you have young children as it allows you the opportunity to make legal arrangements for the care of any children you have under the age of 18.

If you die without a Will in place, you will have no control over who will inherit your estate. Instead the Government will decide who inherits this through the rules of intestacy and this may include people you may not have considered benefiting from your estate.

The intestacy rules are outdated with modern family life. For example, if you live with your partner but are not married or are in a civil partnership, the intestacy rules will not recognise that person and they will not be entitled to benefit from your estate on death.


Lasting Power of Attorney

In addition to setting up a Will, it is also of equal importance to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA is a legal document that grants another person authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself.

Many people think that if they could no longer look after their own affairs, someone would automatically be able to step in and take control. But this isn’t the case, and sadly too many families don’t realise this until it’s too late.

This would mean that if you were unable to access your bank account, for example to pay utility bills or to purchase food, no one else could access this for you. Also, if you needed medical treatment and a decision had to be made about what treatment to undertake, no one would be able to make an informed decision for you. Your family would therefore need to apply to the court for a Deputyship order which can be expensive and time consuming.


Types of LPAs

There are two types of LPAs. A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to name people who you would like to make decisions about your health care, medical treatments and living arrangements and a Property and Affairs LPA allows you to name people to deal with money or property that you own within England or Wales. You can state the circumstances in which you would want the LPA to come into effect.

Text reads: "LPA’s aren’t available in Northern Ireland and Scotland.  In Northern Ireland you can set up an Enduring Power of Attorney and in Scotland you can arrange a Power of Attorney."


Cost of making a Will / setting up an LPA

Setting up a Will and LPA are inexpensive in comparison to the consequences of not having them. It is important to use a reputable and qualified practitioner as a badly drafted Will can have unintended consequences that may lead to difficulties for your loved ones after you pass away.


Take control now

At Fairstone we have a wide range of advisers across the country who are able to assist you in making or updating a Will, setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney agreement or answering any other questions you may have. Alternatively, sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest news and expert insights.

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Wills and LPAs are not regulated by the FCA. The details relating to the laws of England & Wales are correct at the time of publication, and legislation may change. Fairstone Group Limited and associated companies are not legal advisers therefore specialist legal advice may be required before establishing Wills and LPAs under any jurisdiction applicable to place of residence.

Gender pensions gap – Women’s pensions 50% of their male counterparts

Women left with half the pension pot, no matter the job.

Fairstone chartered financial planner Sandra Corkhill discusses the gender pension gap and steps you can take to help reduce it.

Being a volunteer for the PFS, I help to teach financial literacy in colleges and universities. Client case studies are used to teach good financial habits. Astute audience members will often ask, how much could I earn in my lifetime? Or why are we so old when we get a State Pension? At this point all debates get lively but it got me thinking…

We’ve all heard about the gender pay gap, but very few discuss the gender pensions gap, despite the fact so many women experience it. Women’s pensions at retirement are half the size of men’s, regardless of the sector they work in, new research has highlighted [1].

The gender pension gap is the percentage difference in income between men’s and women’s pensions and it begins at the very start of a woman’s career.


Long-term financial impact

The research found that every single industry in the UK has a gender pensions gap, even those dominated by female workers. Considering women are likely to live four years [2] longer than men, this issue deepens as they need to have saved around 5% to 7% more at retirement age.


Three key industries

According to the research, the gender pensions gap exists regardless of average pay across different sectors, and ranges from a gap of 59% in the healthcare industry, to 13% in courier services. The healthcare (59%), construction (51%), real estate/property development (48%), pharmaceutical (46%), aerospace, defence and government services (46%), and senior care (45%) sectors were found to have the largest gender pensions gaps. Of these six sectors, three are key industries for female employment – healthcare, pharmaceuticals and senior care [3].


Lower pensions contributions

There are many reasons for the gender pensions gap, ranging from women holding fewer senior positions and being paid less, resulting in lower pensions contributions, to the fact they are more likely to take career breaks due to caring responsibilities. Of those that have taken a career break, 38% did not know the financial impact it had on their pension contributions [4].


Gender confidence gap

Another potential driver is a significant gender confidence gap when it comes to managing pension pots. More than a quarter (28%) of women said they had confidence in their ability to make decisions about their pension, compared to almost half (48%) of men [5].

This lack of confidence extends further to other financial decisions, with women less likely than men to feel confident managing their investments (22% of women versus 41% of men), and their savings (56% of women versus 67% of men).


While many factors behind the gender pension gap are out of most people’s control, there are some actions you can take to help reduce it:

  • Contribute as much as you can to your pension – and start early. Compound interest remains hugely underrated and poorly understood by both some men and women.
  • Check the charges on your historic pension pots. If appropriate, see if consolidating your pots will bring them down.
  • Check how much your State Pension will be and when you’ll get it. If it’s not going to support your ideal lifestyle, plan how you’ll cover any shortfall.
  • Put a bit more into your pension whenever you get a pay rise.
  • Talk through your pension planning with your partner. Make sure you know about each other’s saving plans, contribution limits and that you are both on the same page.
  • Keep a regular eye on your pension to make sure you’re in full control of it and saving for your ideal future.


Need advice to close the gender pay gap in your pension?

Women often have disrupted work patterns, career gaps and work part-time – this can impact their ability to save consistently for retirement without savings gaps. If you are concerned about your retirement plans and would like to review your pension options, please contact us.

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Source data: [1] The analysis is based on LGIM’s proprietary data on c.4.5 million defined contribution members as at 1 April 2022 but does not take into account any other pension provision the customers may have elsewhere.

[2] ONS: Life expectancy at birth in the UK: 82.9 years for women vs 79 years for men; Office for National Statistics, 2018 – 2020. Average four years.

[3] According to the ratio of female members across the Legal & General book of business.

[4] Legal & General Insight Lab survey of 2,135 workplace members was conducted between 4–26 July 2022.

[5] Opinium survey of 2,001 UK adults was conducted between 4–8 February 2022.


A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless plan has a protected pension age).

Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

The value of investments may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and do not constitute financial advice.

Multiple Pension Pots? It May Be Time To Consider Consolidation

The employment landscape has evolved significantly over the last few decades and changing jobs multiple times before retirement is now very much the norm.

Over time, it is easy to lose touch with pension savings providers as we change jobs, move home and the companies we have worked for change ownership or close down. All these events over time may make it very difficult to find your valuable pension savings. So that means potentially ending up with a number of different pension pots. If you’re one of the millions of people with multiple pension pots, it may be appropriate to consider consolidating your defined contribution pension pots and bring them together.


Multiple pension pots

Even if you have not had many jobs, you could still have a number of different pensions to keep track of. If appropriate, pension consolidation can simplify your finances and make it easier to keep track of your retirement savings.

Having said this, not all pension types can or should be transferred. It’s important to obtain professional advice so you know and can compare the features and benefits of the plan(s) you are thinking of transferring.


What is pension consolidation?

Pension consolidation is the process of combining multiple pension pots into one single pot. This can be done with a pension transfer or by opening a new pension and transferring your other pensions into it. You may want to do this to make it easier to keep track of your retirement savings, or to try and get a better rate of return on your investment.

But there are a few things to consider before consolidating your pensions, such as any exit fees that may be charged, and whether or not you will lose any valuable benefits such as guaranteed annuity rates.


Consolidating your pensions

Reasons why you might want to consolidate your pensions:

  • Simply your finances: If you have multiple pension pots. It may be difficult to keep track of them all. Consolidating your pensions into one pot could make it easier to manage your retirement savings.
  • Save on fees: If you have multiple pensions with different providers, you may be paying multiple annual fees. Consolidating your pensions may help you save money on fees.
  • Get better investment options: Some pension providers offer a limited number of investment options. By consolidating your pensions it could give you access to a wider range of investments.


Reasons why you may not want to consolidate your pensions:

  • Loss of valuable benefits: One key disadvantage is that you may lose out on valuable benefits that are specific to certain pension schemes. For example, some schemes may offer better death benefits than others, so consolidating your pensions into one pot could mean giving up this valuable protection.
  • Paying higher fees: Another potential downside is that some schemes may have higher charges than you are actually currently paying, which means you would end up paying higher fees. This is something that needs to be carefully considered before making any decisions.
  • More difficult to access: It’s important to remember that once you consolidate your pensions, it may be more difficult to access them early if you need the money for an emergency. This is something that should be taken into account when making any decisions about pension consolidation.


Locate your pension funds

If you think you might have lost a pension pot from a previous job, you can use the government’s Pension Tracing Service. This enables people to locate money previously saved for retirement, that is unclaimed. So, it is worth checking if you could have pension funds that have not been claimed.

Finally, you also need to bear in mind that pension savings are big targets for fraudsters. If someone contacts you unexpectedly offering to help you transfer your pot, it’s likely to be a scam. If you’re concerned, contact the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to check they’re legitimate.


Need professional advice to help make your decision?

You only have one retirement so you don’t want to make a costly mistake with your pensions that you could one day regret. Before you look to bring your pensions together, it’s essential to obtain professional advice. For more information about how we can assist you through this complex process, please contact us to discuss your situation.

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A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless plan has a protected pension age).

Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

The value of investments may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and do not constitute financial advice.

Do you have enough to retire? How to tell you’re ready for retirement

Do you have enough to retire? Are you prepared for the life changes retirement will bring? Is your timing right or will your savings and investments be at risk from volatile market conditions?

The best time to retire will depend on a variety of factors, including your health, your financial situation and your personal preferences. If you’re in good health and you have a solid financial foundation, you may be able to enjoy a long and active retirement. On the other hand, if your health is declining or you’re struggling to make ends meet, retiring sooner may be the best option.


Spending power each year

Ultimately, the decision of when to retire is a personal one. It’s important to do some soul searching and research before making a final decision. Once you’ve decided when the right time for you is, be sure to plan carefully to make the most of your retirement years.

You now need to think about the impact that inflation could have on your retirement income, and consider do you have enough to retire? Rising inflation can wipe years of retirement income off pension pots as savers must increase the amount they withdraw to maintain the same spending power each year.


Impact on retirement plans

Inflation can have a significant impact on your retirement plans. If inflation is high, the purchasing power of your savings will decrease over time. This means that you will need to save more money in order to maintain your standard of living in retirement.


To offset the impact of inflation, you may need to adjust your retirement plans. For example, you may need to save more money so that you can maintain your standard of living in retirement. Additionally, you may need to invest in assets that are less vulnerable to the effects of inflation. Bonds are one type of investment that can help protect your portfolio from inflation risk. In general, they can offer relative stability, but you need to take your age and risk tolerance into consideration.


Potential effects of inflation

While inflation can have a significant impact on your plans to retire, there are steps you can take to offset its effects. By saving more money and investing in assets that are less vulnerable to inflation, you can help ensure that your retirement plans remain on track. Additionally, by being aware of the potential effects of inflation, you can make adjustments to your plans as needed to account for its impact.

As you get closer to retirement, it’s important to start thinking about how inflation could impact your plans. While inflation can be a good thing if it leads to higher wages and increased economic activity, it can also be a problem if prices start rising faster than your income, as we’ve seen this year with inflation reaching a new 40-year high amid a cost-of-living squeeze.


There are some general principles that can help guide your thinking on this important topic:

  • The first principle is that it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. The sooner you start saving and investing for retirement, the more time your money has to grow. This is due to the power of compounding – which essentially means that your money earns interest on itself over time.
  • The second principle is that retirement planning is not a one-time event. Your retirement timeline will likely change as life circumstances change. For example, you may need to adjust your timeline if you have children or other family members who depend on you financially.
  • The third principle is that retirement is not an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t have to retire completely in order to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Many people choose to work part-time or pursue other interests during retirement instead of (or in addition to) simply sitting around and doing nothing.


Time to utilise cash flow modelling

By creating a model of your expected income and expenses, you can better plan for your retirement and make sure that you have enough money to cover your costs. This type of modelling can also help you to identify any potential shortfall in your retirement savings, so that you can make adjustments to your plans accordingly.

If you are nearing retirement or are already retired, cash flow modelling can help you: understand how much income you will need in retirement; work out how long your retirement savings will last; determine the best way to use your retirement savings to generate an income in retirement; and find out how different life events (such as taking a career break or downsizing your home) could impact your retirement cash flow.


Would an annuity be beneficial?

Annuities can be a good way to combat rising inflation, as they provide a guaranteed stream of income that is not affected by changes in the cost of living. However, it is important to choose an annuity that has a high enough rate of return to outpace inflation, as otherwise you may end up losing purchasing power over time.

Some annuities offer built-in protection against inflation. For example, some annuities offer cost-of-living adjustments that increase payments to keep pace with inflation. This can help retirees maintain their purchasing power and keep up with the rising costs of living. While annuities are not the only solution for combating rising inflation, they can be a helpful tool for retirees.

Ultimately, whether or not an annuity is a good way to combat inflation depends on your individual circumstances. If you are concerned about preserving your purchasing power in retirement, an annuity can be a helpful tool. However, you should obtain professional financial advice to weigh the costs and risks associated with an annuity before making a decision.


Are you sitting on too much cash?

If you’re sitting on too much cash right now, with inflation on the rise, that cash could be losing value, so you may want to rethink your strategy. Inflation is a natural occurrence that happens when the prices of goods and services start to increase.  This can erode the purchasing power of your money, which means that you’ll need more money to buy the same items.

There are a few ways to combat inflation and ensure that your money keeps its value. One option is to invest in assets that are known to appreciate in value, such as stocks and shares or property. No matter what strategy you choose, it’s important to be aware of the impact that inflation can have on your finances. By being proactive, you can ensure that your money keeps its value over time.


What is your attitude to risk? 

When pension planning, your attitude to risk will play a big role in how your portfolio is structured. If you’re willing to take on more risk, you may be rewarded with higher returns. But if you’re not comfortable with risk, you may want to focus on preserving your capital.

Once you have a better idea of your risk tolerance, you can start to allocate your assets accordingly. For example, if you’re okay with some volatility, you may want to put some of your money into stocks and shares. But if you’re not comfortable with any volatility, you may want to keep your money in cash and bonds.

No matter how much risk you’re willing to take on, it’s important to remember that all investments come with some risk. There’s no such thing as a completely risk-free investment. But by understanding your risk tolerance, you can make sure that your portfolio is structured in a way that meets your needs.


Are you ready to retire

Retirement is inevitable, but knowing exactly when to do so is often unclear. No matter when you actually begin your retirement, you’ll benefit from planning your post-work life as early as possible. If you would like to review your retirement plans, we’re here to listen. We look forward to hearing from you.

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A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless plan has a protected pension age).

Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

The value of investments may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and do not constitute financial advice.

Tailoring financial advice for women

Almost three quarters of females aged 31 to 40 think that financial services could be more tailored to women.

It is believed that having more female advisers in the sector could help women engage with financial advice and better plan for their future. The findings come in a survey by Fairstone, which incorporates one of the largest chartered planning firms in the UK, revealed that women are also more likely to seek financial advice when prompted by in response to a life event, such as divorce.

The survey results are more pertinent, given recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which revealed that by 2025, 60% of the UK’s wealth is predicted to be in the hands of women. We can see therefore that empowering women with knowledge and ensuring the engagement of women in the financial decisions and planning process, will be pivotal to their own financial success and that of the wider financial services industry.

Here Fairstone financial adviser Ruth Heath looks at the implications this could have for both financial advisers and their clients.


Different motivators

There are many reasons why women are not taking financial advice – feeling like they don’t have enough money to warrant it, or prioritising their partner’s financial planning above their own, both forming part of the picture.

Our survey revealed that women are often first motivated to seek financial advice when there is a significant life event such as bereavement or divorce, meaning that they could be facing difficult decisions while also dealing with the impact of a major change in circumstances. It highlights how vitally important it is for women to become financially educated and emphasises the value of starting the advice journey as early as possible so that they can feel prepared and supported when life events occur.


Accessible and more inclusive

Tailored financial advice is critical for both short and long-term goals and for women, this is arguably more crucial, given that they are likely to live longer than men, meaning more retirement years to fund.

We need to look at how we make financial advice more accessible and inclusive, and advisers have a fundamental role to play. By helping to level the playing field, and through encouraging women to make the shift from saving to investing, we can allow them to compound their wealth and improve the long-term outlook for both their own lives and the legacy they leave for loved ones.

Encouragingly, the survey also revealed that almost half of female respondents (49%) felt that financial advice becoming the norm and starting that process at a young age, would be the biggest change within the sector in the future.


Not sure how to get started?

In a bid to raise awareness of the importance of tailored advice for women, Ruth will be hosting a webinar on September 22nd entitled ‘Empowering Women with Tailored Financial Advice’. She will look at what women should be considering at each stage of life and some of the decision-making tools available for building a strong financial plan.

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*The Trustpilot figures are correct as of 13/09/2022

Discussing Inheritance: Time To Talk To Your Family

Leicester based Independent Financial Adviser, Ruth Heath looks at why more than half of UK adults aren’t discussing inheritance with their dependants

With wealth for millennials set to double in the next 20 years, it’s arguably time to get over the awkwardness and have the conversation now. One of the main reasons why people aren’t discussing their inheritance wishes is that they assume estate planning is not for them. That it is only necessary if you are very wealthy.


Most of us would like to leave a legacy

But nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us would like to leave a legacy and if you want to ensure your wishes are followed, obtaining professional advice and planning is essential, whatever your circumstances.

New research[1] has highlighted 58% of UK adults admit they have never discussed inheritance matters with their loved ones – with the reluctance to do so equally split between men and women. The findings revealed that the main reason people shy away from it is because they don’t believe they have enough assets to consider it worthwhile (18%).


Getting older is the main prompt for thinking about such matters

However, for nearly half the population (49%), getting older is the main prompt for thinking about such matters. Other life events that have pushed people to confront it are: the birth of a child or the death of a parent (both 7%), followed by the COVID-19 pandemic or a health scare (both 4%). And there are certain people who hold the key to unlocking these conversations, with 54% saying their partner is the preferred person to talk to, followed by 22% who feel most comfortable chatting things through with their children. Worryingly, only 2% say they have discussed it with a solicitor and only 1% have done so with a professional financial adviser.


Ready to start discussing inheritance? The importance of an up-to-date will

Making a Will provides a good reason to have a multi-generational family meeting about your inheritance wishes. Having an up-to-date Will is important for both you and your family. The truth is that having an out-of-date Will is as problematic as having no Will at all.

Once you have an up-to-date Will, talking it through with your professional financial adviser, they can then recommend a plan about how to approach your inheritance goals. Also remember, failing to prepare your children for what they may inherit can hinder their ability to handle money wisely.


Take advantage of the gift allowance

You can give away £3,000 each year and this will not be subject to Inheritance Tax (commonly called IHT for short). In addition, parents can gift £5,000 to each child as a wedding gift, while grandparents can give £2,500.

Gifting money regularly throughout the year can be a great way to financially help loved ones and can also reduce your IHT liability. Some people will find it hard asking for money, so try and speak to your children and grandchildren to find out if you can help them with something specific, such as a new car or school fees.


Let life events help you start discussing inheritance

Life events, like a birth, adoption, marriage or a family bereavement can make people evaluate their own plans. Use these opportunities as a way of talking to relatives about how you would like to pass on your wealth.


Talk about later life care

Many people are worried about how they will pay for social care when they get older. As a result, people may be starting to plan for this earlier than previous generations. It’s important to talk to your family about the care you want so they stay true to your wishes. This could be an ideal time to introduce the subject of inheritance, as estate planning and later life care go hand in hand.


Talk about family heirlooms

If you find it hard to approach the subject of estate planning with your family then a good place to start could be talking about family heirlooms. People enjoy hearing stories about older relatives, even if they never had the chance to meet them. Talking about items that are important to you or were important to other family members can be a great way to start a conversation about estate planning.


Let’s start discussing inheritance matters!

Some people find the idea of discussing inheritance uncomfortable and wrongly assume that planning in advance is complicated, but if you don’t discuss things before it’s too late the situation can become much more thorny in the future, particularly if there is a blended family or if there is anything unexpected in the Will.

For more information about how our expert advisers at Fairstone can help you, please get in touch.

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Source data: [1] The research of 3,000 nationally representative UK adults was commissioned by Find Out Now in November 2021 on behalf of Brewin Dolphin.

Fairstone’s top 5 tips to investing like an ISA millionaire.

Fairstone’s top 5 tips to investing like an ISA millionaire.

Achieving a million-pound ISA pot might sound like a stretch but you might be surprised at how achievable this goal of becoming an ISA millionaire is with some smart saving and consistent investing habits.

ISAs offer one of the most tax efficient ways to save for retirement and build wealth for the future. You can currently put up to £20,000 a year in ISAs, and any income or investment gains are free from income tax or capital gains tax – regardless of how much money you make.

ISAs are available either as cash or stocks and shares and over time you could build up a substantial amount of money while sheltering it from tax.

You can find out more about ISAs by downloading our guide

Over 2,000 people have become ISA millionaires since the tax-free wrapper was introduced 23 years ago, a few in their 30s and, astonishingly, even someone in their 20s.

Chartered Financial Planner, Nicola Cornish, shares 5 top tips on building a million pound ISA:


1) Start growing your ISA now

Growing your ISA will depend on two things, the amount you contribute and the rate of growth. While you can’t predict how the market will react, you can control your contributions.

With many demands on our money, particularly in the current climate, it may not be achievable to utilise your full ISA allowance each year, but the more you add and the earlier you get started, the better.

Putting aside a small amount each month can grow into a sizable sum. The important thing is getting started, and the earlier you do the more time your chosen investments have to grow.

As an example, take two investors, both investing for retirement in 40 years’ time. One starts investing £100 per month immediately, the other waits 20 years, but then invests £300 per month. The investments chosen both grow by 5% per year after charges. At retirement, the first investor will have spent £48,000 on their monthly contributions and the second investor £72,000. Yet despite having spent much less, the first investor’s retirement pot would be worth £152,602 compared to the second investor’s £123,310.

By starting early, you give yourself the best chance of harnessing the long-term growth of stock markets.


2) Regularly increase your contributions

Good habits can be the key to strong investment returns. While you may have regular ISA contributions in place it can be easy to forget about them. As time goes on our circumstances undoubtedly change. If you have access to more available income via a pay rise or paying off some debt, it is always a good idea to review how you could utilise the money elsewhere.

A good habit is to review your contributions every year as even a small increase over the long-term can make a big difference.

As an example, imagine you start investing £300 a month from age 30, then increase your contribution by 6% each year (as you get older and potentially earn more). You could end up with an investment pot worth over £1 million by age 68.


3) Diversify your portfolio

The cornerstone of any investment portfolio should always be a diverse range of assets.

Whatever your budget, your aim should be to maximise gains and minimise losses. Diversifying your portfolio is a great way to do this. Spreading your investments across different products and areas makes you less dependent on the performance of any one element and helps to smooth out returns over the longer term.

Read our ten tips for investing


One way to do this is by utilising managed investment funds, which allow you to spread your money across lots of different shares at the same time, spreading the risk. Some of the fund sectors that have delivered for investors over the past decade include technology, biotech and smaller companies, although it must be remembered that past performance is not a guide to future returns.

Using investment trusts can also help boost returns although they are a riskier option. These often outperform fund equivalents because they can use gearing – or borrowing to invest.


4) Commit to the long-term

There will always be fluctuations in the stock market as a result of political or economic situations which may cause some investors to feel unnerved and lead them to making short term knee-jerk reactions. The good news is that history shows us that recovery is inevitable and that those who stay invested for the long-term see better results than those who attempt to time the market.

Today’s ISA millionaires have seen many booms and busts and are a great example of how it is usually best to stick out tough times, remaining invested and adding to your investments. As a patient investor with a long-term horizon, time is on your side.


5) Remember to invest any growth

Regularly investing, and letting any increases build upon themselves, can make a huge difference over time thanks to the magic of compounding returns – using the income you earn from your investments to buy more shares in your portfolio and keep your money growing.

Compound investing works by allowing small amounts of money to grow into large amounts over time, like a snowball effect. It works best when you do nothing and just leave your money invested, making it particularly beneficial for those with long-term goals.


Start your journey to becoming an ISA millionaire

The route to becoming an ISA millionaire might not be a quick one but the evidence does show it is possible with commitment and discipline. To find out more about how you can maximise your investments get in touch with a Fairstone adviser today.

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The value of investments may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guide to the future. The views expressed in this publication represent those of the author and do not constitute financial advice.

Maintain financial security during the rising cost of living

Independent Financial Adviser Harry Sims talks his 3 top tips for how you can maintain financial security during the rising cost of living.

The rising cost of living is one of the most pressing issues facing many families today. The price of food, energy, fuel and other necessities has risen significantly in recent months. This has made it difficult to make ends meet and has put a strain on many household budgets. Planning for the rising cost of living can be a challenge, especially if your income isn’t keeping up with inflation. As many people feel the squeeze as the cost of essential items continues to increase, there are a few important things to consider to maintain financial security.


Review spending

The rising cost of living can be a real problem, especially if you’re not mindful of your spending. Going through your spending with the finest tooth comb can help you find areas where you may be able to cut back, and save money in the long run. Keep an eye on your budget and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that you are aware of your outgoing costs and can adapt your spending accordingly. Being able to see exactly where your money’s going will help you to pin down where you can make savings and cuts.

Ask yourself: What’s coming in and going out? Can I get something for cheaper? And (often the hardest of all): Do I really need that? Look at the money you have coming into your home – whether that’s just you or with someone else. You want to look at every single thing that’s going out (there may be a lot more than you think).


Emergency savings

When it comes to financial security, one of the most important things you can do is to keep emergency savings aside for when you need them. Having a nest egg that you can tap into in times of need can help you weather a storm. One method is to create a dedicated savings account that you only use for this purpose. This way, you can easily access the funds when you need them but they remain out of reach for everyday spending. Aim to build up enough to cover between three to six months’ expenses, or as much as you can afford.

The best thing to do is make room for your savings in your budget as one of your outgoings. By doing so, it’ll help you see your savings as a must, rather than a must do-later. And if you can, set up an automated payment from your normal bank account straight into your savings account – that way you don’t even need to think about it.


Pensions and investments

As many people across the country are feeling the squeeze of a cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever to make sure your finances are in good shape. One way to do this is by making sure you don’t touch your pension or investments. While it may be tempting to dip into these savings to help make ends meet in the short term, it’s important to think about the long-term impact this could have on your retirement plans.

Drawing down on your pension or selling investments could leave you worse off in the long run, so it’s important to consider all of your options before making any decisions. Consolidating your old pensions into one could help you cut down on management fees and give you a better picture of how your finances are looking. But before transferring your pensions it is essential to obtain professional financial advice.


Don’t forget your long-term financial security

It’s important to think about the long term when it comes to your finances. Making short-term decisions could jeopardise your long-term financial security. To discuss your situation or plans or for further information, please get in touch.

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