Category Archive Ongoing Reviews

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How to invest sensibly

Getting success through hard workAs we aim to start the new year on a positive note, we are focussing on achieving goals. When it comes to investments, this can only be done by careful and diligent investing. Now it may seem easy to some people, but having done this for quite a number of years now, we can tell you that it is anything but.

You need to know the right time to invest and also the right time to sell, much like the old adage of buying low and selling high. We believe most people have a reluctance to come out of what has previously been a good performing fund, and they then inevitably get caught out when it drops in value.

What we do at MAP is basically ignore past performance to a certain extent, and put more reliance on actual performance and of course consistency. When we look at fund performances, if things are starting to drop off, we tend to no longer use that fund. It’s as simple as that!

Investment Fund Types

In financial services we talk about Asset Allocation. This is just a fancy expression for investment spread. If we were looking to put together a client’s investment using a number of different funds, we wouldn’t put them all into the same fund type, e.g. UK equities. What we would do is use a variety of types like UK equities, interest-based funds, global funds, Asian funds, technology funds, etc.

If you work on the basis that from 10 funds used, four will do very well, three will be good but not brilliant, two will be average and one will underperform, that would be a fair assumption. All areas will not perform brilliantly all of the time – it is the nature of the beast – so you need a spread of types.

Investment Geography

Another thing to watch out for is geographical areas as they will all provide different growth rates. One of the leading fund managers recently recommended looking at global economics. Their belief is that North America, Japan and some other Asian countries should do well in 2018, Europe will do not too badly, and the UK will probably flat-line.

Furthermore, watch out for emerging nations especially the likes of Brazil, who are up-and-coming. When you invest money, you also want a spread of countries so you can get the benefits that arise from them.

Ongoing Investment Monitoring

When you have invested money, the next thing you must do is monitor your choices. What we tell clients is the only thing guaranteed when investing, is everything will change. You can make a great selection to start with but this might change because of economic conditions in whatever locality.

If you don’t monitor a fund and it then starts to fall, you could lose heavily, and so you need to be ready to switch out of that and into another fund; one which is performing. This is where consistency comes into your thoughts – the more consistently well a fund performs, the more likely it is to continue to do so.

Understanding Risk

The final part of investing is all about risks, which is something the Financial Conduct Authority place a great deal of stress on. People should know what risks are involved before they invest so they can then make a logical decision. How MAP deals with this is to use five categories of risk, although only three are normally used as people are not interested in very low risk or very high risk.

Low risk is where the chances of loss or of significant gains are small, middle risk is where some money could be lost or gained, and high risk is where excellent gains could be made but equally almost all money could be lost. What people should do is only invest in the risk areas they are comfortable with.

At MAP, we invariably use 10 funds for each investment; and the number of low, middle and high risk funds selected are based on a client’s attitude to risk, i.e. how many funds they want in each category.

Final Thoughts

All of the above is why investing carries a lot of risk overall; there are so many things you need to watch out for, and watch all the time. At MAP, we have been employing our own investment process since we started up, so have built up a lot of experience in that time. To be honest, even we are still learning, but we use it to better the end outcome for our clients.

If you would like to benefit from our hands-on approach to investing, please contact us on 0345 241 1808 or email us at: enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement.  Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.  Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Mortgages

Guiding you through the mortgage mazeThere are many different types of mortgages available on the market. Trying to find the right one to fit your circumstances can therefore be a daunting task, and this can only be made worse when considering the stress if you are moving home too.

The first and most important step is to decide what mortgage requirements are needed:

  • Standard residential – to purchase a new home to live in;
  • Remortgage – to replace your existing mortgage with another, for whatever reason;
  • Buy To Let – to purchase a home to rent out to someone else; and
  • Further Advance – to borrow more money on top of your existing mortgage.

If you are looking for information and advice on equity release, to get money out of your property, click here.

This narrows down the products which can be considered. Thereafter, finances need to be looked at in very close detail, as that determines whether or not a mortgage will be offered, and on what terms.

Mortgage lenders scrutinise every aspect of applicant’s finances. They need to be comfortable lending to people with sufficient income (to ensure monthly payments are affordable), savings and investments (to ensure ‘failsafe’ money is available), and outgoings (to ensure money is not ‘disappearing’ elsewhere).

This therefore makes things more awkward for some people, but it’s not all bad. Some lenders have incentives to make themselves more appealing to potential customers, whilst special ‘deals’ are available for right to buy cases or first time buyers. All in all, it is a maze you can easily get lost in.

Add to this the stress and difficulty of dealing with existing lenders (if remortgaging or undertaking debt consolidation), estate agents and removal firms (if moving), solicitors and surveyors; it can get too much for some people. Help is therefore needed to organise as many aspects as possible.

MAP will guide you through the mortgage maze.

Whether you are looking to purchase your first property or move to a new one, transfer to a new mortgage to reduce your monthly expenditure, or purchase a property for investment, MAP can help. We are adept at searching the entire mortgage market to find the best deals available to you. We can then take care of as much paperwork and deal with as many third parties as you want or need us to.

Thereafter, we will regularly review your mortgage to ensure you are on the best possible monthly rate. We will also be on hand to advise on overpayments, payment holidays and any other changes in circumstances which could affect your mortgage in any way.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Standard Residential Mortgages
Remortgages
Buy To Let Mortgages
Further Advances
Mortgage Protection/Buildings & Contents Insurance

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Long-Term Care Planning

Getting the right care package in placeLong-term care is when someone requires either care in their own home or to live in a care/nursing home; both of which must be paid for.

In both circumstances, key decisions need to be made and ‘add-ons’ to be considered. The two key aspects behind these are requirement and cost – what is definitely needed, no matter what, and what is affordable?

Making informed decisions about long-term care is very difficult, but doing it in advance is necessary. It ensures sufficient knowledge and funding is in place when needed, making the transition into care much easier.

People with disabilities and/or complex medical issues may qualify for NHS continuing care, which is free of charge. However, it cannot be relied upon as the vast majority of people will not qualify for it. Local authorities can provide some element of funding, but with public sector budgets constantly being stretched, sacrifices will almost certainly have to be made. Lastly, benefits are available which are not means tested, and they can make some difference to the end cost payable.

The only way to control long-term care costs is through self-funding. This requires healthy savings and/or successful investing, plus most importantly of all, good planning. For good financial planning, you need to speak to a qualified adviser.

MAP will find the best way for you to fund ongoing care for yourself or a loved one.

If you or a loved one are considering registering for care and are concerned about the costs involved, talk to one of our long-term care specialists. They have the knowledge and experience to plan out how best to tackle the requirements, explain the options open to you, and guide you with regards financial assistance available.

Many people are reluctant to seek advice and help for care; almost as if they are embarrassed to do it. We are more than happy to discuss it with you and your family and provide the impartial opinion and support which is truly needed in such situations.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Savings and Investments
Equity Release
Insurance and Protection

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Insurance & Protection

Protecting you and your loved onesSometimes life can take a turn for the unexpected. Whatever circumstances life throws at you or your loved ones, make sure you are protected and therefore able to deal with them.

There are various types of protection policy available; each with a different purpose. To decide what insurance to put in place, each person must decide what they value enough to want/need to protect, and also what they can afford.

Never underestimate the importance of such plans because of the consequences of going without them:

  • Could you live without the financial support your loved ones provide, or vice versa?
  • Could you afford to raise children or pay a mortgage plus the regular bills without any income coming into the household?
  • Could you afford the funeral costs of a loved one if they were to pass away suddenly?

Simple everyday things should not be taken for granted. Otherwise they could quickly become unaffordable and no longer everyday.

MAP can provide peace of mind for you and your family through affordable insurance.

Protection plans come in many shapes and sizes. There is normally an affordable plan to suit everyone. MAP’s job as independent financial advisers is to review clients’ circumstances and recommend what plans are most suitable, or check existing ones are sufficient. We can search the entire market to find the insurance best suiting your needs, and at the most affordable price.

We also understand people’s circumstances change through time, which has a knock-on effect to their financial requirements. Existing policies need reviewed through time – some could get modified, others added to, and some cancelled. Also, the cheapest option for someone could be different from one day to the next. For these reasons, we regularly review client’s insurance, to ensure they remain adequate at all times and as affordable as possible.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Life Insurance
Critical Illness Cover
Mortgage Protection
Whole of Life Cover
Income Protection Insurance
Private Medical Insurance

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Tax Planning

Dealing with taxThroughout your financial journey, whatever your stage in life, there will almost inevitably be some tax implications connected to your personal financial activities. Since no-one likes paying taxes, why not let MAP help you to avoid them as much as possible.

Our tax planning strategies, when done properly, are quite simple. There is no ingenious formula(e) for success; it is instead all about awareness of legislation, how it affects different people and how it can be legally avoided through planning.

The three taxes you could be liable to pay in your lifetime are:

  • Income Tax – On your profits or income;
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) – On the sale of an asset; or
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT) – On an estate upon death.

MAP can provide effective planning to minimise your tax liability.

MAP has taxation specialists who know all about the intricacies of taxation and how it affects people’s affairs. This means they are in an excellent position to provide tax planning advice for clients; be they individuals, families, partnerships or firms.

At MAP, we will work with you to create an effective plan based on your current and likely future financial position, minimising your tax liability as much as possible along the way.

We also have a sister firm – Accounts Advice & Planning Ltd (AAP) – who work exclusively in accountancy and taxation. They can assist further with tax planning as well as undertake day-to-day accountancy work and support, plus complete HMRC submissions on your behalf.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Income Tax
Capital Gains Tax
Inheritance Tax
Our Investment Process
Accounts Advice & Planning Ltd

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice

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Savings & Investments

Getting growth from your moneyInvesting is not done purely by the rich, and equally, bank accounts are not necessarily the best place to maintain excess savings. So if you have spare income every month and want to earn more than just interest on it, or have a lump sum you would like to invest, MAP can help make your money work harder for you.

We pride ourselves on the returns we generate for our many happy customers by way of our investment process, which contains three three key steps:

  • Select – Choose the best product and range of funds for someone based on their investment attitudes;
  • Review – Regularly review the funds we are happy to recommend to clients, new and existing; and
  • Switch – Recommend fund switches where necessary and if approved, make those switches.

If you currently have an underperforming investment or savings plan, talk to MAP. We can review existing policies and switch funds, should those that are on our Recommended Fund List (RFL) be available to use. This means keeping your money in the same investment(s) but changing the underlying fund(s) to something with better performance, without necessarily taking any more risk.

Should this not be possible, the alternative is to move your money to new investment(s), which have access to funds on our RFL. This then gives the potential for better growth, by way of increased fund selection, fund diversification (so not all your eggs are in the one basket) and cost effectiveness.

MAP can maximise your returns with an ongoing, proactive investment strategy.

So whether you have new money to invest or existing investments which aren’t doing what they are supposed to, we can find the product or plan to suit you, which will maximise growth and the returns payable.

We will regularly review the performance of your savings and/or investments thereafter, to ensure they remain on track throughout your financial journey, at all times taking into consideration your personal circumstances, future goals and requirements.

In order to provide complete transparency, we can also give you 24/7 access to viewing your savings and/or investments, thus allowing you to track and monitor their performance at any time. If you already have access, why not login today to see your money working harder for you.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Existing Investments
ISAs
Investment Bonds
Other Investment Products
Structured Investment Products
The MAP Investment Process
Ongoing Financial Reviews

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Retirement Planning

Saving for retirementWhether you are near retirement or have many years to work, it is never too late to review and improve your retirement income. There are a number of options available to optimise your retirement provisions, all of which MAP can help with.

The simplest option, if possible, is to alter your existing pension plan(s) by way of fund switching. This means keeping your money in the same plan(s) but changing the underlying investment fund(s) to something with better performance, without necessarily taking any more risk.

The second option is to transfer your pension plan(s) to another provider. Your money would then move into a plan with the potential for better growth, by way of increased fund selection, fund diversification (so not all your eggs are in the one basket), cost effectiveness and improved options at retirement.

The third option is simply to pay more into your pension plan(s), either by way of lump sum(s) or regular contributions. This is not always possible for people to do, and does not guarantee your pension will be larger at retirement; that depends on the investment itself.

MAP provides effective pension planning, whatever your stage in life.

MAP can help you plan for retirement by assisting and advising in all of the above, and in setting up a pension if you don’t have one already. We can then review it regularly thereafter.

We can also plan out phased retirement if you so wanted. This means you could start drawing down money from your pension, if required, from age 55 onwards, even if you are still working.

In order to provide complete transparency, we can also give you 24/7 access to viewing your pensions, thus allowing you to track and monitor their performance at any time. If you already have access, why not login today to see your money working harder for you.


For more information, click on the most suitable link:

Existing Personal Pensions
Occupational and Final Salary Pensions
Workplace Pensions
The MAP Investment Process
Ongoing Financial Reviews
Phased Retirement

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Client Login

MAP will always work hard to give you a first class service, for as long as you need it. Here are some of the benefits of investing through MAP:

  •  Your money is invested in areas to match your attitude to risk;
  •  Independent and bespoke advice tailored to meet your specific needs;
  •  All funds invested in are tried and tested, with successful track records;
  •  Investments are looked after by a dedicated adviser;
  •  Investments are reviewed regularly to maximise returns;
  •  Ongoing service is provided to complement the initial advice given; and
  •  100% transparency lets you check performance and charges at any time.

If you have a MAP investment with an online facility, you can log-in to it securely, at any time, by clicking on the appropriate provider logo below:

Ascentric logo Prudential logo Transact logo

Do you not know your login details? No problem – just contact us and we will arrange for them to be sent out to you as soon as possible.

If you are looking to invest, or have money invested and would like to find out more, feel free to contact MAP today. One of our advisers can talk through the options open to you and review your existing portfolio and requirements before recommending the best investment(s) to suit your needs.


Intermediary use only

Are you a franchise or business introducer? Click here to login to RouteMAP or WebMail.

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Our Services

Our services and why they can helpIrrespective of what you need to speak to a financial adviser about, MAP will be able to find the best solution(s) to meet your needs. We are fully independent meaning we can advise you on any of the following, taking into consideration your attitude to risk and all options available in the marketplace:

Any and all of these solutions can be provided to you through sound financial planning. By this, we mean structuring a personal financial plan after getting to know you and understanding your goals.

Furthermore, we will stay with you throughout your financial journey, for as long as you need us. Our regular review service will ensure your finances stay on track and continue to reflect what you need, want and expect.

Whatever advice you need for your financial journey, talk to MAP.

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Current developments in our recommended funds

Working funds from across the worldEvery quarter we carry out a review and analysis of investment funds that are available. What we look for are funds of a decent size – usually £100 million invested and above – and have a good consistent performance over the last five years. We aren’t interested in those that are brilliant only in the short term.

Once we have identified funds we are comfortable in using, we divide these into risk category, and there are five categories in total although we generally only use three of them:

  1. No Risk – no risk usually has no return, so we don’t tend to use these.
  2. Low Risk – there is a small chance of both losing and making money with these.
  3. Middle Risk – middle of the road where you could lose or make some money with these, and there is no definition of “some”.
  4. High Risk – you could lose a lot of money here but also make a lot of money.
  5. Very High Risk – you could make huge gains or lose everything here, so we don’t use these much either.

Once all funds have been categorised into one of the above, this makes up our Recommended Fund List (RFL) and is what we use for new investments going forward. For existing investments, we review those with funds that have fallen out of the RFL, and ask the investor for their permission to move them into those which are in the RFL. So we are always monitoring and keeping a watchful eye on our clients’ money. Not only that, we will give you 24/7 access to how your funds are performing on the MAP Investment Portal.

This process is ongoing and we are constantly monitoring external factors, be they political or economic. At the moment, the economy is in what at best can be called a transition phase. We have reasonable growth in the UK, but we have Brexit looming, and at this stage no-one knows how that is going to affect us. What we at MAP will do is watch all the funds our clients are invested in to make sure that they keep on track.

If you would like to find out more about the MAP investment process or our RFL, please call us on 0345 241 1808 or email us at: enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk.

Please remember that the value of an investment and the income from it could go down as well as up. The return at the end of the investment period is not guaranteed and you may get back less than you originally invested.