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Having agreed to work together, we’ll usually start with Perspectives, which will then establish the foundations for everything else. However, if you just want to focus on a specific issue, requiring advice on financial products, we can move straight to Recommend & Implement.

Perspectives is designed to clarify your financial objectives, arrangements and circumstances and the interaction between them, identifying any weaknesses and inconsistencies. It has two components: gathering information, followed by analysing and evaluating.

Gathering information

There are two categories of data to establish: ’hard’ facts and ’soft’ facts. Hard facts are tangible and include things like age, family, taxable income, investment and pension arrangements. Soft facts include clarifying your objectives, priorities and attitudes (including investment risk tolerance), together with any potential changes. Helping you articulate these can often provide real value, clarifying issues in your own mind.

Analysing and evaluating

Having established what you want to achieve, and the financial resources you have available, we can consider how well the two match.

We use specialist interactive software to model how long your financial resources will last, under a variety of different assumptions and scenarios (such as different retirement ages or investment growth rates). It’s as close as we can get to a financial planning ’crystal ball’ and can really help you to understand the impact of different factors on your chances of achieving what you want.

We’ll often be able to suggest ways to make your arrangements more tax-efficient, which can increase the net returns you achieve. This can apply not only during your lifetime, but also to your intergenerational planning. There are excellent planning opportunities in some of the more complex areas of financial planning, such as using pension funds or mitigating inheritance tax. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know, and we’ll often be able to make you aware of options which you didn’t realise existed. Once we’ve completed our discussions, we’ll provide you with a report, so that you have a permanent record.