The bonnie highlands

Just back from a week in the Scottish Highlands to ‘blow’ some cobwebs away – and it certainly did blow! The day on the beach with my hoody pulled up and hiding in the dunes was interesting – but I did get to read a book or two – it was just what I needed. We go pretty high up to Sutherland. We have been going there since I was 8 – it’s my favourite place to relax and beach comb.

Then by stark contrast I have been in the big city today for a client planning meeting. The meeting was a presentation of her Lifetime Cashflow Forecast. She has some pretty big decisions to make about her future, her work and lifestyle goals. The work we have done has really helped her see clearly what the future could look like – if she stopped work now – and the steps she would need to take to achieve her other goals in life.

I am busy trying to update / align our investment philosophy and process and make it more friendly and understandable to those not so financially minded. No jargon etc. It’s tricky to write about asset allocation in a manner which is appealing to all and to keep ones attention!

Whilst we were in Scotland I spoke to some people I have known for 20+ years about the huge amount of choices and opportunity (and paperwork!) that retirees face now, thanks to the new pension reforms. Their situation is complicated by their long-standing Agricultural Tenancy for the farm on which my family has always stayed.

Scottish agricultural tenancies are complex and I won’t pretend to fully understand them, but I do know that some estates are offering land / farms to be purchased. The new pension freedoms may make this a realistic option for our friends to consider – access some pension funds and buy land / farm. Sounds simple – but is it their best choice? If they invest their pension fund in the farm – in an industry that is very hard work and fraught with financial hurdles – but that they love and understand – will they have enough to live in retirement? what will retirement look like? will they be able to afford the lifestyle they want?

If their children take on the farm, can they diversify enough to make it work and change with the times? and will they become dependent on their children’s ability to run the farm – for life? I should add that it seems to me that so far they are giving it a pretty good go…

Without a Lifetime Cashflow Forecast and sound financial plan these questions will remain unanswered and yet they will still at some point have to make a choice about those hard-earned pension savings.  So, best to be informed and know how the future may look?  #planitwell #financialplanning

On the road again

Last Thursday I got the email to confirm I have been re-authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority to provide financial advice. This is huge relief, as you never know how long these things will take…..So it’s all systems go! Three meetings in the diary this week and really excited to be getting to know new clients.

Thanks for any responses to my last blog with hastag ideas! I think I have settled on #motivationmonday #toptiptuesday #wisewordswednesday #thoughtforthursday #fridayfunday – so keep an eye out on Twitter @bfpwales or @planning_angel and FB page and Linked In. I am keen to develop Instagram too – but what type of pictures do I post in connection to the business is stumping me.

My aim for the social media is to have 100 followers on Twitter for @bfpwales by the end of the week. We have 33 so far – please follow or RT.

It has been very interesting to see that pension firms Just Retirement and Partnership have announced they have merged in a deal worth £1.7bn today. The pension annuity providers who specialise in selling medically underwritten annuities (Partnership also offer immediate needs annuities for long term care) have joined forces after government pension reforms have hammered their businesses. Although reports seem to indicate that annuity sales have actually increased over the last few months, the pension reforms are clearly having a serious impact in the industry.

These two providers are leaders for impaired / enhanced life annuities and their merge will certainly mean a little less choice for those making retirement choices and where an annuity purchase is suitable for them.

You can read more here:

In other news…. I travelled home to Wiltshire at the weekend and saw Dirty Dancing at The Luna Cinema, it was brilliant. If you can get to see a film outside, with a picnic and with friends, I would highly recommend it.  In Cardiff in September its Mama Mia or in Swansea its Top Gun!

Basil pawblished his first Blog, as a guest slot on ‘Hugo and his friends’ – a German cat and his Dad, that we have gotten to know via Twitter.

His followers then shot up and we are now at 1,842, I have no idea how I will get @bfpwales to that number, but I am going to try!!




Week one

So, I am up and running – well typing!!  I am still awaiting my FCA registration and approval, fingers crossed for next week. In the meantime, my new IT equipment is here and other than a few teething problems to sort, all seems to be working. I have also had a couple of meetings and I am starting to get to grips with our new back office software.

My lovely ex colleagues gave me a brightly coloured desk tidy and post-its, paperclips, stapler etc, which looks great in my temporary home office (below)

Check out the new desk!
Check out the new desk!

I have started setting up all our social media, so BFP Wales are now on Twitter (@BfpWales) and a Page on Facebook ‘BFP Wales’. I am tinkering with Hootsuite and Instagram too.

Anyone with a cat (or who follows the crazy cat world on Twitter) will know hashtags (#) for each day are key for trending on the web, for example #tunatuesday #jellybellyfriday #catboxsunday !

I’m trying to think of #’s that could accompany our messages and become our key link for each day of the week. So far I have thought of #calmthoughtmonday #toptiptuesday  and then #planitwell for a key message. Any thoughts for other days of the week?

Speaking of, here is Basil keeping me company today.

Fluffy comany
Fluffy company