Financial planning makes sense

Planning your finances sounds like such a good idea – and that’s because it is. But many people either never get around to it or fear they don’t earn enough to use a financial adviser.

But, as the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail! You’ll never achieve your financial goals if you never take a proper look at your situation.

And you mustn’t keep leaving it until next year or when you get a minute… planning your finances must start now.

It is an ongoing process that needs monitoring if you’re going to get the best out of it.

Ultimately, our process isn’t just about your money – it’s about what you want out of life.

At Co-Navigate, we have helped dozens of people across Newcastle and the North East achieve their dreams through financial planning. We do this by being different.

If you believe that dealing with a financial adviser means you will be bombarded with information and simply sold an ISA or a pension, then think again.

The first thing we do, is listen. What do you want to achieve with your finances? Whatever they are we will show you how to get there.

We will never shy away from giving you an honest appraisal. So if your plans for early retirement mean you need to invest more than you originally thought, we will tell you.

If you decide to go ahead and turn the proposals into reality, we are with you every step of the way.

And here is every step we’ll take…

What happens at your first meeting?

As we’ve already mentioned, we listen to you. What are your plans? Is it to retire early? Do you want to accrue enough cash to buy a holiday home.

Whatever your goals, we need to hear about them. They may seem like nothing but a dream but they can become reality with sensible decision making about your money.

We need to get to know all about you, so that is why we make sure we sit down first to listen to you.

It’s not until we have all the information that we go away to work out your plan.

Don’t worry about being sold a product at your first meeting, we never do that. Our first meeting is about getting to know you and to hear about your goals.

The advice we give is based solely on you and that means we won’t recommend products or investments until we fully understand you and your goals.

Your adviser is someone with almost 20 years in the profession of financial advice, so you know you’re talking to someone with experience.

Your financial plan

After our first meeting, the Co-Navigate team gets to work. We look at your current and future positions and also what-if scenarios.

A complex piece of software that we use then uses this data to calculate how all those issues might affect your goals.

It’s no good planning if you don’t take every eventuality into consideration. Even if the life event is highly unlikely, you must be aware of any issues that could derail your dream.

Once we discuss our findings, we’ll help empower you to see your dreams become reality.

What happens next?

If you have decided to take allow us to navigate you to your financial goal, then we are with you every step of the way.

Financial planning is an ongoing situation. That is why your adviser will build a relationship with you.

We meet you at least once a year to not only review your situation but to hold you accountable.

Don’t worry, we won’t put you on a naughty step or anything like that!

We hold you accountable because your financial goals are so important to us. Consider us to be like a coach, if you’re not held accountable then you won’t make progress.

Contact us

If our personal approach to planning your financial future sounds ideal for you, then get in touch with us today.

Tell us about what you want out of life and we can show you how to get there. There’s no obligation and if nothing else, you’ll have experienced our great coffee!

Model of couple saving pensions for future Newcastle pension adviser

Pensions. Even the mention of the word sends some people drowsy.

But if you think you’ve a good few years to think about putting cash into a pension you may end up missing out later in life.

At Co-Navigate we like to hear about your life plans first and then we can advise you on the best way to get you there.

Whatever advice we may give you, don’t write off a pension before you start planning.

Here, we look at the common reasons that people give for not having a pension.

I want to enjoy my money now

The life expectancy age keeps rising, so you need to consider how you’ll fund your lifestyle when you get older.

It is tempting to say you might be hit by a bus tomorrow, but if that happened you wouldn’t be able to enjoy what’s in your bank either!

But what if you don’t get hit by that bus? A state pension that is diminishing is a good reason for having a private pension in place.

Also, if something were to happen to you, you can pass on the money in a pension to your beneficiaries.

It’s usually treated more kindly by the taxman too, so you know your money can stay with your loved ones.

I’m too young

As soon as you’re working you need to consider a pension. Depending on your age and earnings, you should be automatically opted in to a workplace pension which forces your employer to pay in on your behalf.

But if you are looking far ahead to the future, financial planning is essential and a pension could be part of the answer.

The sooner you start a pension plan the more money you are likely to get back,. Because of the compounded growth someone starting at age 20 could have almost twice the pension than someone starting at 30.

It could also mean you might be able to retire early. If that’s one of your goals then then you might need a financial plan.

I’m too old

Pensions changed massively in 2015. You no longer need to purchase an annuity, and can instead take pension income flexibly. So while you are earning why wouldn’t you benefit from the tax-relief benefits to build your pension fund? The longer you leave it the less you will have!

Pensions are boring

It’s a word that fails to excite. Maybe there needs to be a new word for it!

The truth is your ‘pension’ is money that is being put aside with the aim of offering you a better lifestyle as you get older.

It could also mean you can finish working at an earlier age to pursue your dreams – and that’s not boring!

I don’t want to tie my money up

It is understandable that you don’t want cash locked away so you can’t get to it for a rainy day. But again, that’s the beauty of financial planning and why we do this before we recommend any products.

We’d never suggest you put all your eggs in one basket. We listen to your life goals and can advise a number of ways to reach them and get the most out of your money.

The advantage of pensions is you and your employer can contribute, with both of you able to claim generous tax relief.

So having some money in a pension could be a wise way for you to reach your financial goals.

I’m self-employed

A pension is probably even more important, as you don’t have the advantage of your employer paying in to one for you.
While you won’t benefit from employer contributions you still get tax relief when saving into a pension scheme.

If you own a limited company you could choose to make employer contributions and help reduce your corporation tax bill.

I move jobs regularly

You may think that by moving jobs often means that you won’t save enough to make it worthwhile. You may also be concerned that fees could eat into your pension pot.

One way of overcoming this is to consolidate your pensions into a single plan.

If you have saved into different pensions, we will be able to look at what you have and give the best advice depending on individual cases.

Pensions really don’t have to be boring and as part of a financial plan it can be interesting to check if you’re on track to reach your retirement goals. Our advice is to keep an open mind until we have chance to listen to you.

For a no-obligation chat to see how we can help you, contact us today. We’re based in Newcastle but give pensions and financial planning advice across the North East.

Couple celebrate after gaining first time buyer mortgage

First-time buyers are understandably nervous when it comes to buying their first home. There is so much information out there and there are a lot of steps involved.

Your home is the likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, so having a checklist really helps.

At Co-Navigate, we’ve been helping first-time buyers in Newcastle and beyond with mortgages for years.

So here is our advice:

Can you afford it?

Before you think any further about buying a house, you have to check out your budget. Can you afford a home?
There are many occasions where your monthly mortgage payment may be cheaper than your monthly rent payments. This means buying is often a better prospect because you will, one day, own the property.
But remember, when you’re buying a property, you’re also responsible for every bill. That includes building repairs, decoration, gardens and any associated costs, such as management company bills if you’re living in an apartment.
The best way to work out if you can afford a mortgage (or if you need to know when you’ll reach that point) is to speak to an expert. This is where Co-Navigate can help.
There are free calculators available online and this one from The Money Advice Service is very useful. But whilst it gives you an idea of affordability it doesn’t give you the full picture. Sitting with Lyndsey at Co-Navigate, you can discuss your options that will really help you to find a mortgage to suit your needs.

A deposit

Saving for a deposit is essential. You cannot get a mortgage without a deposit.
Why do you need a deposit? Well, lenders don’t want to take all the responsibility for the purchase, so you need to show you are serious and prepared to take a risk with your money too.
If you’re in the early stages of considering buying your own home, start saving now. Housing charity Shelter says it can take young families 12 years to save for a deposit of 20%.

Your mortgage

It’s a word you’ll have heard but what is a mortgage?
It is, quite simply, a loan from a specialist mortgage provider that you pay back over a number of years. The actual number of years varies massively from person to person and no one solution fits all.
Like any loan, there is interest to pay as well as the sum that you borrowed.
Remember that you must pay what you owe as your home could be at risk if you fail to do so. Failure to pay means the mortgage provider can and will take your home from you!
So where can you find a mortgage? You could try a bank or building society, but they’ll only offer you their own products and limited advice, or you could try an independent mortgage broker, like Co-Navigate. We are based in Newcastle but we have clients with mortgages from across the North East and the whole of the UK.
Why choose an independent mortgage broker? We can access mortgage deals from across the whole of the market whereas a bank or building society can only offer you their own products.
Not only do we have access to more deals, we often have exclusive mortgages that you won’t find on any comparison sites or from banks and building societies direct.
But more importantly you’ll have someone to hold your hand through the whole process. Someone who deals with mortgages day in and day out – an expert in their field.

Remember all your costs

We will look at buying a home and whether to choose new-build or pre-loved homes in a future blog, but the next point to remember is your costs.
Buying a house involves getting a number of professionals involved and they need to be paid.
For example, you will need a solicitor to carry out many of the legal aspects, including ‘conveyancing searches’. House sales website Zoopla explains what searches are here.
As well as the solicitor’s fee, there will be fees for those searches.
And we also advise looking at options around which survey needs to be completed. A Homebuyers Report, which can highlight any structural issues can often be useful. If there is anything seriously wrong, you can renegotiate the price and/or request issues are rectified before you complete. There are different types of survey report so make sure you find out more.
Many mortgage providers will offer a basic free valuation, but some will charge for this and can cost around £100-£400.
Stamp Duty is an often forgotten about tax which can significantly add to your purchase costs, especially if you already own another property. You can work out how much stamp duty will be here.
As you can see, fees can add up even before you complete on your home and you need to make sure you have the funds available.

What to do next?

Whether you’ve seen your first home or are just thinking about buying, why not contact Lyndsey today for a free no-obligation meeting to see how close you are to finding your first home.

Your home is at risk if you don’t keep up repayments on your mortgage.