Case Study – Financial Planning

Background

Peter (42) and Jane (39) have 2 children, Becky (12) and Richard (8). Peter is an Insurance Underwriter for a Lloyds syndicate, and Jane is a Partner at a City Law firm. Their joint income is over £200,000 per annum.

They were looking for a financial adviser to better understand their finances, start planning for the future, and simplify their affairs where possible. 

Pensions: They each have several pensions from previous employments, including a defined benefit pension, a stakeholder pension, and several personal pensions run by insurance companies. Peter has now been auto-enrolled into a new scheme at work.  Jane has nothing in place.

Investments: They each have savings accounts, investment ISAs, Premium Bonds and Jane has a small inherited share portfolio. 

Insurance: Peter has some life cover from work, Jane has nothing in place. Jane used to have sick pay from her law firm but lost all benefits when she was made Partner last year.

Other: They own their house which is worth £710,000 with a mortgage of £500,000. They had not made Wills.

Key Objectives

  1. Plan for university fees for the children
  2. Move home when Becky goes to university
  3. Take control of our investments – no idea how they are doing
  4. Understand our pensions and plan for retirement 
  5. Pay less tax! 

The Financial Plan

Research

We first gathered all relevant personal and all possible information on their current financial situation using our online forms. This included, all sources of income and detailed expenditure, all assets and liabilities. We researched their existing plans and policies by obtaining written authority from Peter and Jane to speak to the providers directly. Our technical team complied a report outlining the charges, income options and investment choices of the current pensions ready for our next meeting.

We also asked Peter and Jane to spend some time to refine their objectives, putting values and dates to each where possible e.g. how much do they want to spend on the new house? And when do you want to retire, 55, 60? – and then what monthly income would they like to have? 

Review Meeting

We met again to discuss the objectives, and the suitability of the current plans and policies to best achieve the objectives. 

We built a Cash Flow Model (CFM) that included all assets and liabilities, and critically all future known cash flows in and out of the household, to give a holistic view of their financial situation throughout their lives. 

Advice and Implementation

The Cash Flow Model (CFM) highlighted how much additional annual cash they would need to save each month from the earnings to achieve all of their objectives. We then advised exactly where to place this cash to maximise their returns.

We were able to restructure and consolidate many of the old pensions, reducing administration costs and significantly improving the investment management of the underlying portfolios. They each now have clarity as to what their pension benefits are worth and receive quarterly reports on the performance.  Jane now funds her new scheme on a monthly basis. Peter uses his new scheme to invest his annual bonus. We also obtained a tax rebate for Peter as he had not claimed higher rate relief on one of his old schemes.

We restructured the existing cash and investments, again reducing admin costs while adding a joined-up investment strategy to allow for university fees to be drawn down at the right time, as well as a capital sum in 6 years for the house move.   

Our mortgage team worked through options for different options for borrowing, to give an idea of how to approach the sale and purchase, including how much capital we will need to plan for from the investments.

Both Peter and Jane now have life cover written into the correct Trust for the children, as well as a lump sum on critical illness. Jane also wanted to provide ‘private sick pay’ for herself.

We now complete their tax returns which took a load of both of their minds, and also referred them to an excellent Solicitor to have Wills drafted.

Summary

Pete and Jane now have peace of mind that their financial objectives are not only achievable but that they are on track. We simplified their plans and policies through consolidation, while reducing the excessive risk of their investments through superior investment management. 

We will send quarterly updates on their investments and meet with them every year for updates on their financial situation and objectives. We can then also retest, and restructure as required to keep them on track.