Category Archive Ongoing Reviews

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How we invest money

How we invest money puts risk at the heart of the discussion.Here at MAP, we invest our client’s money as if it was our own. Our investment process has been refined over many years, and we make our client’s money work harder for them – to help them achieve their long-term goals – through the ongoing monitoring of their investments.

Once we understand a client’s needs and attitude(s) to risk, we invest their money in a spread of funds from our Recommended Fund List (RFL). These funds will vary in type and also in geographical area (of where they are invested), in an attempt to maximise returns, and more importantly, lessen potential over-exposure in any one area.

A typical spread could be an investment made up of UK equities, interest-based funds, global funds, Asian funds, emerging markets and technology funds. It all depends on what is performing well at any given time.

Where we add real value is in the ongoing and regular monitoring of the funds chosen. This ensures returns are maximised for our client’s. Here is how the process works:

  • Select – Based on a client’s requirements and attitude(s) to risk, we select a range of funds from our RFL to make up their investment(s).
  • Review – We review the performance of all available funds every quarter and remove those which have underperformed from our RFL.
  • Switch – Client investments that are using any underperforming funds, which have since been removed from our RFL, are interrogated with a view to switching the poorer funds with those which are better performing and are on our RFL.

We always keep our client’s informed of any proposed change of funds, and we will never move their money without their prior permission. It also means client money is not shifted about from policy to policy, unless there is a change in circumstances or requirements. That can be an expensive way of doing things and can lead to a client eventually not even knowing where there money is invested any more.

With the investment providers we normally recommend, our client’s have 24/7 online access to see how their funds are performing. This also provides complete transparency on any fees which may apply; either from MAP or the investment provider.

Investments done through MAP offer true value and are bespoke to you.

Investing client’s money to maximise returns and helping them achieve their financial goals is our business, and we have many very happy clients who rely on our investment process to do just that for them (see proof below). Why not contact us today to see how we can help you.

VouchedFor-Certificate-04-2018
 

To see what our clients say about just one of our advisers, read their reviews here.

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Trends in Investing

Getting growth from your moneyThe one thing you always need to look out for when investing are the trends…and there are quite a few!

First of all, you have to keep in mind the areas which are available to invest in. Over the years, we have seen funds for Technology, Financials, Healthcare, etc. but they all tend to have a start point and an end point. The last thing you want to do is invest when an area is getting near its end point and is about to fall; you could lose big in that respect.

You also need to look at geographical areas as well, as they too follow trends. For example, Emerging Markets can do well for a period and then fall away terribly as their economies stutter.

At the present time, when we have been preparing our new Recommended Fund Lists, we have noticed there are more and more Global funds performing well enough to be included. This includes a variety of options, like Global Alpha, Global Smaller Companies, or the simple but effective Global Growth.

What this means is that these funds have a pretty wide remit and so can look for investments (to make them grow) just about anywhere. Therefore, they may represent a better approach to investing than most. However, do bear in mind that they could possibly be a jack of all trades, and master of none. They might have a bigger area to work in, but they have to do a lot more homework before finalising their investments, i.e. decisions are made too late either to get involved with good investments and/or to offload bad investments.

What we find the best indicator of all is the trend of performance of funds; we always look at that over 1–5 years. It is far better investing in a reasonably consistent fund, taking into account its economic background, than merely looking out for high flyers which may be the big drops of tomorrow. Consistency in our opinion is key, and is what we have watched at MAP over the years. You can get good performance in 1-2 years, but bad performance is more possible at any moment. Good performance over 5+ years is special and should be looked out for.

We make up our recommended list of funds based primarily on consistency, as long as it has half-decent performance throughout. When we invest client money therefore, we are looking for that performance to continue for a reasonable time at least, and we continue to monitor it, to ensure it achieves that.

When you are looking to invest, you too should be looking for that consistency of performance. It will allow you to plan investments a lot better and should require less ongoing maintenance and less stress too!

If you would like to benefit from our hands-on approach to investing, why not 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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Achieving a future pension

Calculating to get a good pension in retirementOne of the big challenges people have is trying to figure out what size of a pension they “might” come out with when they retire. The problem is that this can be over a long time, hence the confusion.

MAP has developed a simplified cash flow model, shown below, which is not difficult to understand and use, so long as you use reasonable parameters:

  • Annual Growth: We keep this as a simple 6% p/annum and if we see actual rates going down, we would reduce this accordingly. The rate of growth used should always be a pessimistic one that “should” be achievable; otherwise returns will never reach anywhere near their targets.
  • Withdrawals: We always work on the basis that people will want to withdraw their 25% tax-free cash from their pension. This can easily be invested rather than placed in a bank account (or spent) and withdrawals can then be made from it when required. It is tax-free, so it provides a cushion if required, on top of the remaining pension.
  • State Pension: We work to the basic State pension of £8,100 per year at age 65, but suggest everyone contacts DWP and gets their actual pension forecast based on their own contribution levels.

Example pension cash flow

This is an example of our cash flow model, and used properly, it can:

  1. Help you plan;
  2. Monitor your progress to achieve your target/goal; and
  3. Be adapted to changing circumstances.

The name of our company is Money Advice & Planning, because we give money advice with planning. Just like the love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.

If you are going to plan for something, like a comfortable retirement, you cannot just do this exercise as a one-off and hope everything will work out ok. You need to work at it over a long period, otherwise it will falter at some point. Alternatively, call MAP and we can work it for you.

For further information on any aspect of financial advice and how MAP may be able to assist you, 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.

Bymapfinancesadmin

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.

Bymapfinancesadmin

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

Bymapfinancesadmin

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