Financial Planning In Uncertain Times: 6 Key Tips
This content is for information purposes only and should not be taken as financial advice. Every effort has been made to ensure the information is correct and up-to-date at the time of writing. For personalised and regulated advice regarding your situation, please consult an independent financial adviser here at Castlegate in Grantham, Lincoln or other local offices.
For the UK’s post-World War Two generations, it is fair to say we have never collectively experienced such an intense period of uncertainty. A pandemic which eludes comprehension and containment. Government measures (social distancing/isolation) which have never been seen before with such force in these lands. A stock market and global economy under stress and evolving, seemingly, by the hour. It’s a lot to take in.
Now, therefore, more than ever it is important to have a strong financial plan. This is true if you have yet to craft one, or if your existing plan needs development. Here at Castlegate, our financial advisers in Grantham offer this short, 6-point guide to help you along this journey. We hope you find this content useful and informative.
If you would like to discuss your own financial plan, please get in touch to arrange a no-obligation consultation, at our expense:
#1 Don’t lose sight of the goal
It’s easy for people to focus on the immediate financial situation – the markets and economy – and to forget about the bigger picture. The FTSE 100, for instance, has moved from 5,597.65 on the 15th of April up to 6,115.25 on the 29th. Yet by the 14th of May, it was back down again to 5,741.54. With this kind of volatility going on, try not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of your financial plan, which is to help achieve the life that will make you happier.
Perhaps you planned to retire early or take a short career break to travel the world for a few years with your significant other. Those dreams do not have to die, even if time might be hard across the world and many things will change due to COVID-19. A financial planner can help you assess your assets and income to chart a course towards your desired destination.
#2 Seize & release control
This global pandemic has helped remind us all of an important truth. There is much we can control, but also more which we cannot. A robust financial plan accepts this reality and makes provision for it. We cannot fully control, for instance, if something like COVID-19 will claim our life. We can, however, ensure that our estate is in order, with an airtight will and IHT-mitigation plan, should the worst happen to us.
#3 Audit your protection
This is probably the most important thing to look at with your financial adviser during a period of uncertainty. Taking time to review the contingency plans for your wealth and income could be a lifeline to your loved ones later. Here at Castlegate in Grantham, Lincoln and further afield, this often takes the form of checking your insurance policies (e.g. income protection) to make sure they are fully up-to-date, integrate well together and meet your needs.
#4 Plan for job insecurity
Some reports in April estimate that as many as 2m people in the UK have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and the lockdown. The number now, in May 2020, could be far higher. Fortunately, the Job Retention Scheme is there to support many of these people until October. Yet the future remains uncertain, and others could soon face losing work too. In these uncertain times, it can be helpful to speak with a financial adviser about your contingency plan should unemployment come your way. This might involve building up your liquid savings, cutting back on unnecessary expenses and possibly starting a “side hustle” to supplement your income.
#5 Stick to an investment strategy
When the markets are volatile and the economy weak, it can be tempting for investors to cut their losses by retreating from the stock market, perhaps putting everything into cash or a “safe haven investment” such as gold (read our article on this topic here). Here, we recommend speaking with your financial adviser if you are concerned about your investments. Unless your financial goals, investment horizon or attitude towards investment risk have changed, be careful about making any impulsive decisions about your portfolio which you may regret later.
#6 Recognise your emotions
One of the benefits of having a strong financial plan is that it helps you pre-empt a wide range of scenarios. This results in fewer things taking you by surprise, and greater peace of mind. What if the market goes down in the coming months, for instance? There’s no need to panic, since you spent time diversifying your portfolio with your financial adviser for this very reason. What if I suddenly fall seriously ill or become injured and can no longer work to support my family? Here, your financial protection measures would activate the safety net you put in place.
The list goes on. Of course, a financial planner cannot prevent bad things from happening to you. Yet they can help you craft a plan which moves you towards your goals, mitigates risks, minimises financial instability, improves your chances of growing wealth and reinforces a sense that your affairs are “in order”.
If you are interested in discussing your own financial plan or investment strategy with us, please get in touch to arrange a no-commitment financial consultation at our expense: