With 2020 having been so unstable and challenging, making resolutions for 2021 might seem a little over optimistic. But if you have managed to get through the year of the Pandemic unscathed and are already deciding how you can improve in 2021 in other ways, then perhaps New Year financial planning might not be such a bad thing to add into the equation.

Here are a few of suggestions which might mean you can end 2021 in a better financial position than you are starting:

We all know that 2020 has been a year of constant change and uncertainty. But the year is nearly over. And one thing we all want to do is enjoy ourselves this Christmas time!  But we all also need to consider how to avoid getting into debt this Christmas.

It is possible that it is going to be more of a financial struggle than usual for some this year. With furloughs, job losses, reduced hours and added pressure all around, we are, sadly, likely to see more people getting into debt and struggling to recover in 2021.

  • Buying your first home is an exciting and a huge step. It is also one of the most important things you will ever do.

You may be in a position where you have been saving every penny possible; know exactly how much you can afford; and have even seen the property you would love to make your home.  

If so, congratulations! You are ready to take the leap onto the property ladder and apply for your first mortgage.  

But, if you are one of many thousands who seem to be spending all of your wages on rent, utilities, food and household bills, without having any spare savings, buying your first home may feel completely out of the equation.

There are several ways you can start to plan efficiently, and we may be able to help you.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. We are all conscious of playing our day-to-day part to help the environment but is there more we could be doing? According to UK Government National Statistics, residential properties account for 15% of the UK’s climate emissions, so having an energy efficient home has a huge impact in lowering our carbon footprint.

Recognising this, NatWest are now offering a Green Mortgage Product to reward customers whose homes have a high Energy Performance Rating, with preferential mortgage rates on a two-year or five-year fix.

One of the questions we hear most is 'why do I need a will?'

You might have briefly thought about it at some point, but just never got round to it.   

You might even think you have nothing to leave, so what is the point?  Or, like you have no one to leave anything to?

It is way too early to even start considering it, right?

Or, because you have been living with your partner for years, everything you have will surely be passed to them?

We have heard all these reasons for not writing a Will, so you’re not on your own! In fact, an estimated 27 million adults in England and Wales do not have a Will in place.

But if you look at it from another point of view, it might make you think again.

Your loved ones will have enough to deal with when you die. Do you really want to make it even tougher for them, just because you did not prepare?

No, of course you don’t.

With our explanation, you will see that writing a Will isn’t as difficult as you might think. And it really is important that you consider it as early as possible, so that nothing interferes with your future planning. From your home and finances through to your loved ones, children and even pets, you can get on with the rest of your life, knowing it’s all sorted, and everything will happen as you wish.

Just started at College or University? It is a whole new way of life, a whole new way of learning, and sadly and inevitably, a shock to the system when it comes to managing your money! Indeed, 71% of students who completed Save the Student'sNational Student Money Survey (NSMS 2020), commented they wish they’d had better financial education before starting College or Uni so that they could at least try to avoid student debt.

Budgeting doesn’t sound like the most enthralling subject to learn at school, or conversation to have around the dinner table. But, if we did, life might be different and so much easier for the students who had been taught how to avoid debt during the first years of independence.

With more retirement options than ever before, we explore the key differences between annuities and drawdown products while helping you choose the winning option for you.

Whether you’re flirting with retirement or are a fresh whippersnapper with the whole world at your feet, weighing up your pension options in advance is a smart move.

Two of the best ways to make your hard-earned retirement savings go further is to purchase an annuity or a flexi-access drawdown. The question is: which one is right for you?

In this blog, we explore the differences between the two products and offer valuable tips to ensure you don’t gamble away your pension pot.

Simple money-saving tips to ensure you enjoy a stress-free retirement and can experience the finer things during your later years.

Retiring stress-free sounds like a pipedream to most, especially in this current economic climate. The thought of pouring your hard-earned cash into a retirement fund for an old crinkly version of yourself, instead of living lavishly while you’re young is hard to justify.

However, retirement savings don’t have to be a drab affair and a killer to your social life. The key to success is thinking smarter and making your money stretch further.

So, if you want to enjoy a great lifestyle now and still be able to swan around Waitrose in your golden years, we suggest you put a few of these retirement saving tips into practice.

Coronavirus has caused disruption to all industries across the UK and non must be suffering more sleepless nights than business owners, large or small.  However, the government has launched a range of temporary measures to help ease your concerns and support your business throughout this uncertain time. Ensuring you are getting the right financial support and taking full advantage of any funding or assistance on offer could really help businesses get through this unprecedented time.

With Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing a stamp duty holiday to rebuild the economy, we explore the impact it’ll have on those looking to take their first or next step on the property ladder.

It’s fair to say the past few months haven’t exactly been a great time to search for your next home sweet home.

However, Rishi Sunak’s announcement regarding a stamp duty holiday last week should be enough to start planning your next move and schedule in your next Ikea trip. Here’s why…

What is the stamp duty holiday?

The new stamp duty holiday measures mean that homebuyers will pay no stamp duty on property purchases of up to £500,000 until March 2021.

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!