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Bristol Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s) Elite Financial Consulting Ltd, provide personal and commercial independent financial advice on all aspects of your financial planning.

As a company, our Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) fully understand that as we progress through life our individual financial priorities will inevitably change, moreover we also recognise that irrespective of economic circumstance, we each have different personal and commercial financial requirements.
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By Steve Monks 23 Jan, 2017

Ok, so the dream of retiring young enough that you still have your health to enable you to maximise those golden years is, well let’s face it, exactly that. A dream. For most, if you ask them at what age would they wish to retire, more often than not they answer “Retire?!? I can’t ever see me being able to retire let alone early!
So what’s the answer?

Well, unfortunately there are no secret short cuts to funding a fruitful retirement, unless you win a substantial amount of money or inherit it. Either way not exactly guaranteed.

However, you can do your best to give yourself a fighting chance. The first thing that would be suggested is:

1. Start young . Very young. If you have children or Grandchildren, why not look at starting something for them, ok so it wont help you, but if you do it they may do it for their children and grandchildren.

2. Act while you can . You don’t have to put huge sums of money in to a pension. As long as you do it early enough. The effects of compounding can have serious effects on your future. For example, someone aged 25 who saves £100 a month that rolls up by 7 per cent a year can look forward to having a fund of more than £200,000 at the age of 65. But someone who waits just five years before saving the same monthly sum would retire with less than £145,000.

3. Make the most of the governments tax relief . While complex, in basic terms the government want to reward you for paying in to a pension, so for money that you pay in they will also contribute buy way of tax relief. Depending on your tax position will depend on how much they add.

4. Pay off any debt as early as possible . The longer you are paying debt the more that it will be costing in interest payments and the less you will be able to use from your income to fund that crucial pension pot.

5. Know what plans you have and keep them reviewed . In a lot of cases people move employer every few years and as such the pension pot that has been accrued will be forgotten about. It is important that you keep tabs on where your money is and how its performing. In addition, find out what charges are associated with each scheme.

6. Plan ahead . While none of us know the future we can make some educated guestimates and can plan on what we would like to happen in retirement. If we know what we want to happen we can then start to plan for how much its likely to cost.

7. Know what you are entitled to . The rules and figures for state pensions change, but there is no harm in contact them to find out what your state pension forecast may be based on your current contributions.

8. Lastly. Don’t bury your head . Ask questions and seek assistance if necessary. Don’t just expect that it will be ok when you get to later life, which will come around quicker than you may think. Don’t rely on parents or grandparents to fund it for you through inheritance. While possible, it isn’t certain. Lots of events out of your control can very quickly prevent that.

If you want to know more about the subject of retirement, contact us to make an appointment. The first meeting is free of charge.
By Steve Monks 05 Oct, 2016
The thought of managing your finances is probably quite daunting, not to mention boring, but without a tight handle on your money it can very quickly run away with you and before you know it, you’re a week from payday and you’ve run out of it! This may not seem that bad, but future mortgage lenders may think otherwise, and if you want to buy your first house or move to a different property this could cause you a problem….So, what can you do about it?

Take it in bite size chunks…… First of all, dig out the last few month’s bank statements and if applicable credit card statements and go through them in detail. Create a spreadsheet and work out some basic spending columns. You can refer back to it if needed and it will come in very handy if and when you do look to apply for a new mortgage.

Examples could include:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Debts - credit cards etc
  • Utilities -things like Gas/ electric and phone, sky tv
  • Social – so the takeaways, gym memberships and coffee shop spends
  • Transport – petrol/bus fare etc
  • Insurances
  • Children – sports clubs / education
  • Miscellaneous – the irregular spending you may have like car insurance if paid annually or the tv licence. 
Once you’ve done this you should get a total spending figure per month that you can average. Hopefully that’s less than the total net income you receive every month. If it isn’t then you’ve very quickly worked out why you don’t have as much money as you’d like and then you can see areas where you can reduce spending. It could be that you spot things on there that you had totally forgotten you had.

The next section would be to look at areas where you can make that hard earned money go further as that is probably easier than increasing your monthly income! This could involve shopping at a different supermarket, moving your energy supplier or amending your phone and TV contract, even reducing the coffee shop visits. Some savings will be a lot easier to obtain than others, but it will all add up.

Another key is to look at your debt. You may need to contact the lenders, but it is important to find out what the interest rate is, how much you are paying monthly and what term is left. If you are making minimum payments, then look at trying to chip a little off every month. If you have a mortgage, the same applies. Find out if you are in a fixed rate period or are you on a variable rate, contact the lender for an up to date statement as this will detail the key points.

While you’re at it, now is as good a time as any to find out what employer benefits you have (if employed), if not what independent policies do you have in place and are they up to date. This would include pension and protection plans with your company or policies you’ve taken directly with insurers and pension providers. After all if you are in an accident or unable to work due to illness and you have insufficient protection in place, that list of spending you’ve just highlighted and more importantly your lifestyle could be in jeopardy.

Pensions and savings may not seem important now, depending on your life stage, but they are very important and it is key to try and budget for these where possible.

Lastly, there is no harm in asking for help. Seek the service of an independent expert who can go through this with you in detail, while also offering products and services that will really assist your financial wellbeing. Here at elite financial we have been offering financial advice for many years and pride ourselves on a good honest reliable service. So why not get in touch and arrange to see one of our friendly advisers.
By Steve Monks 14 Aug, 2016
Do you dream of owning your own home?
Do you know whether you can afford one?
Do you assume a mortgage company will not lend to you citing “affordability”?
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