By Rob Simpson

Why?

Having a personal financial plan is an empowering experience and the consultation we take you through to produce your personal financial plan will excite you, motivate you and give you peace of mind.   

What happens?

We start with discussing your over the short, medium and long term.  What are you trying to achieve? When do you want to get there? And where are you currently at?

This helps us establish how close and achievable your goalsand objectives are from a financial point of view, where the gaps are, what the risks are of not making it are and what you could do to improve the chances of your plans for the futurefalling perfectly into place.

We usually model different scenarios and approaches with you and let you see the impact of these alternatives.  This allows you to understand more thoroughly the implications of taking a course of action before you do.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted many weaknesses in the economy and business operations, casting a shadow over the emergence of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. The question is, is it a turning point for the better or a major stumbling block?

The outbreak of the global pandemic has made us think about its impact on environmental, social and governance factors. Since we’ve adapted to a new way of life in a fight against the virus, can we not deter a climate disaster?

In the aftermath, how will we manage the drop in trade and the withdrawal of capital from blossoming markets which threaten a humanitarian disaster? Will the world work together to aid recovery, or will a singular approach protecting self-interest and nationalism be prioritised?

While we can’t possibly answer all of these questions, we can explore the changes already in motion and how it will shape the future of ESG investing.

Welcome to your latest update in what is a fast moving fast changing mortgage market.

Let’s take a breath first and remember what happened about 10 weeks ago.

HM Government pulled the shutters down on UK PLC which effectively closed the country and confined us to our homes in an effort to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus.

Lenders responded by pulling up the lending drawbridge and many stopped lending all together, with some still not back in the lending arena as of last week.

After a shutdown of the housing market for the last 6-8 weeks, the Government has announced that viewings, house moves, and property valuations can recommence but with added social distancing measures.

No doubt this might make you feel nervous, but fear not brave people, the property market has the matter well in hand and will figure it all out in quick time and if you are selling a property the estate agent will run through what it is you will need to do to get your property on the market and how viewings will happen. So be prepared to adjourn to a safe space whilst prospective buyers visit your property with a view to buying it.

Estate agents’ offices can re-open along with new development show homes as well again conditional on them initiating acceptable social distancing measures.

Surveyors (the people who turn up to value properties on behalf of the lenders) and removal companies are among professions allowed out again too.

As it’s National Conversation Week #NATCONVWEEK - today we want to share with you a personal budget action plan…

Step 1 - grab your bank statements for the last month

Step 2 - write down all your regular bills (date, who to, how much, what is it and what do you get)

Step 3 - shop around and see if you can reduce the cost or improve of each individual item or improve the “what you get” for the same money (Key areas to target are utilities, phone/broadband bills, insurance (buildings/contents/life), TV packages.)

If you spend 10 hours on this and can save yourself £10 per month, that will equate to saving you £1200 over the next ten years OR much more if you divert the saving methods to overpaying on your mortgage! We are talking THOUSANDS of pounds of savings year on year!

The following is based on our current understanding of ‘Help to Buy’ criteria which may change prior to publication of this article on 21.04.2020

Hands up those of you who remember when HM Government showed up with a much-needed shot in the arm for the housing market then?

Help to Buy Equity Loans from HM Government had arrived in 2013 and this enabled house buyers with modest deposits to get financial assistance when looking at buying a property. For the purpose of speed (and to make it easier for me) I am shortening the name of these loans to HTB throughout this blog.

To remind you, the scheme helped buyers with a 5% deposit and, providing they were buying a new build property worth less than £600,000 (in England different levels applied for Wales) they could apply to the government for an interest free loan of a further 20% (40% if you were buying in London) which meant that the you the buyer then had a deposit of 25%.

This made the banks and building societies happy as they only had to lend 75% of the value of the property being purchased.

To make this easier to understand, say you were buying a new build house from a developer for £100,000 (hypothetical of course… we both know that’s highly unlikely! Haha) but £100,000 is a nice round number for the mathematics behind this analogy.

So, £100,000 for a new build house.

You have saved up £5,000 and the government lend you £20,000 for 5 years interest free.

Happy days.

As it’s ‘National teach your children how to save day’ 2020  – it makes sense that we share with you some tips of things you can do…

Like everything, the process of conveyancing (which is the process of legally sorting out the purchase of a property for you) has been affected.

The Conveyancing Association (CA) have advised where possible for electronic contracts to be used to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. They have also warned their members to prepare for sales not going through because of obvious reasons.

Below are some points that will keep you well informed and hopefully help you in your discussions with your solicitor/ conveyancer:

Written by Malcolm Clarke

Well lets first start by saying here at Simpson FS we don’t sell parachutes, but in a way we do.

Let me explain.

I personally use this analogy when explain protection insurance to my clients.

Imagine you are on an aircraft and it’s crashing - you want to be the one with the parachute and ideally the best one you can lay your hands on too!

What I mean by this is that should anything happen to you, during the term of your mortgage then we need to make sure you have a protection policy in force that takes care of the mortgage for you so you are left with the home and not the loan if anything happens.

Whether you’ve been considering setting up a Trustee Bank Account for a while, or it’s completely new to you, we’ve put together 8 reasons why you should set one up.

Hopefully this will help you understand the benefits of setting one up.

If you’d like our support with this, it’s what we do best – you can find out more on our Trustee Accounts website here: https://www.trusteeaccounts.co.uk/

Reason 1 – Managing Assets

A Trust Bank Account can help you to manage assets on behalf of beneficiaries e.g. who may lack mental capacity, be minors, have a disability.

Reason 2 - Protecting Assets

A Trust Bank Account can help you to protect assets from creditors, from those who may influence beneficiaries. For example, other family members may get involved when it comes to discussing the money left for beneficiaries upon death. However, by putting it in a Trustee Bank Account, there will be no dispute as it’s full protected to go ONLY to the beneficiary listed. 

Unless you have been sleeping in a cave then it’s hard to not know that the world is currently dealing with a global health crisis. 

It is having an effect on everything and everyone. 

It is far from ‘business as usual’ and this has resulted in many people losing their incomes through no fault of their own. 

With this in mind, it leaves people worrying about how they are going to pay their bills. The biggest of which for most people is their regular monthly mortgage payment. 

Halifax, Santander and NatWest made the decision to suspend sending their surveyors to value properties that are being considered for the security of a mortgage with them.

This will influence the overall time it takes to complete the house buying process.

Some valuations are being re booked for x3 weeks’ time but event these may be pushed back if the situation has not improved and the Government lockdown is still in force.

However, this gives the banks the opportunity to explore alternative methods of valuing the properties being offered for security for a mortgage by using what is known as Desk Top Valuation or DTV.

Although Spring is coming, you wouldn’t think it with all this cold and wet weather we are having here in the UK.

No doubt you’re starting to plan your holidays for the year to escape for a week or two. Maybe you’re after a long weekend to soak up some sunshine? Whatever your reason for ‘getting away’, we have put together this blog to help you choose your holiday destinations wisely.

Here are 6 holiday destinations where your pound will go the furthest.

  • Turkish Lira (TRY spot rate 7.90 as of 18/02/2020) … (aside from crash in strength of Lira Oct 2018, rate is highest it has been as far as records show since 2012)
  • Hungarian Forint (HUF spot rate 403.97 as of 18/02) … (Highest it has been since end of May 2016)
  • Euro (EUR spot rate 1.21 as of 18/02) …. (Although this looks like you are not getting a lot of ‘bang for your buck’, this is the highest it has been since April 2017)
  • Australian Dollar (AUD spot rate 1.95 as of 18/02) … (highest it has been since June 2016)
  • Jamaican Dollars (JMD spot rate 180.92 as of 18/02) …. (Highest it has been since June 2016)
  • Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR spot rate 236.37 as of 18/02) …. (highest it has been as far as records show up to 2012) – Restricted currency. Each traveller can only take 5,000 LKR cash which is roughly £25 at the current rate. However, it tends to be possible to purchase from the airport when you land.

Over the last 14 years we’ve helped a lot of people purchase their first property  and they have always thanked us not only as their independent mortgage broker but for also guiding them through the complex property buying process facing many first time buyers.

To help first time buyers we have asked one of our own mortgage brokers, Kamal Mattu, for some practical guidance on buying your first home.

“As a first-time buyer what do you need to know about the process of buying your first home? For instance, when do you make an offer to buy a property and at what stage do you actually apply for a mortgage. But before you even consider these steps how about these points:

The mortgage broker industry is ever changing with numerous new lenders entering the market trying to compete with their more traditional competitors.  Keeping mortgage knowledge up to date and informed with all lenders criteria and products is crucial for any mortgage broker to provide the best possible lending to their clients. 

Here at Simpson Financial Services we pride ourselves with this and take every step possible to maintain a high standard of service through making sure we continuously develop our knowledge and professionalism.

Therefore on 7th September 2017 Kamal & James attended an ‘Out of this World’ experience at the National Space Centre in Leicester for the Family Building Society’s Mortgage Broker Roadshow.

The event provided an insight into the Family Building Society’s strategic business overview, USP’s covering innovative products, criteria, flexible underwriting and meeting differing customer needs. This allowed for a great opportunity to put questions to the Society’s key business leaders, boost professional development and network with peers afterwards before taking a tour around the National Space Centre.