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

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