Fiona McCulloch

What is your job role?

Mortgage & Protection Assistant

Where is the most beautiful place you’ve visited?

Definitely the Amalfi Coast in Italy! It’s just so picturesque.

If you were a film character, who would you be and why?

Probably Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada (my favourite film). Who wouldn’t want free designer clothes?!

Can you play any instruments?

Just a few! We’re quite a musical family so I’ve played the cornet, clarinet, piano and guitar. My sister played the tenor horn and violin too, so it was never quiet in our house.

Do you have any regrets?

I don’t really regret anything, because if things hadn’t happened the way they did I wouldn’t be where I am now – with my husband, in my new house and in a job that I love.

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

I play board games online with some friends once a week. It started during the pandemic and we’ve just kept going since. We play in person now too.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love helping clients going from the first steps of buying their first/next home to getting the keys in their hand. It’s great to be part of a major life event with clients.

What’s something you find challenging about your work?

Whenever a chain falls through for sales/purchases, it’s always quite sad to hear. I can empathise with our clients as that has happened to me too.

Dan Bullen

What is your job role?

Financial Planning Assistant.

Apart from sports, what do you do in your spare time?

We have a 1 year old golden Labrador that tends to keep us busy!

What would your pet say about you if they could talk?

I think they would tell me I’m their favourite human in the house.

What is your greatest fear?

Definitely spiders.

What’s a pet peeve you would make illegal if you could?

When people leave crumbs or bits of toast in the butter 🥴

Which is your favourite of the golf courses you’ve played at?

It is really tough to say. I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of great golf courses, with my home course being one of them. It would have to be either Muirfield or the Old Course at St. Andrews. I don’t think I can pick one!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with our clients. They always give us a good laugh during meetings!

What’s something you find challenging about your work?

I think I speak on behalf of the team when I say Jamie’s sense of humour has to be the biggest challenge!

Over time, you can pick up things that clutter your life and mean you aren’t living the lifestyle you want.

It might be material items taking up space in your house, or even habits that mean you’re distracted from focusing on your important goals.

Spring is often associated with giving your home a big clean, getting rid of the old, and starting afresh for the summer months. So, now could be the perfect time to declutter your life to help you build the lifestyle you want.

Read our latest guide for some great tips, including:

  • Advice from Netflix star Marie Kondo
  • How to create a plan to declutter your home
  • Why you should also declutter your digital life
  • The benefits of getting your finances in order
  • 5 books to read that could help you to become more organised.

Download your copy of the useful guide to decluttering your home and life to learn more.

If you have any questions about investments or your financial plan, please contact us.

The ruins of Llanthony Priory on a sunny day

If you want to get away in the UK, you don’t have to opt for a typical bed and breakfast. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, there are plenty of quirky and unusual hotels and holiday lets available to book for an Easter break or summer holiday.

Here are just 10 of the astonishing places you could spend the night, from a castle to a prison.

1. Llanthony Priory Hotel, Abergavenny

Llanthony Priory Hotel is a great place to visit if you want to escape and relax. The priory was one of the earliest houses in Augustinian canons to be founded in Britain. Today, the ruins are still atmospheric and from their position far up the Vale of Ewyas spectacular views are guaranteed.

2. Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

As the name suggests, this hotel is in the old Stock Exchange building in Manchester. Spending the night at the Stock Exchange Hotel is like stepping back in time. Built between 1904 and 1906, the hotel retains its original grandeur, which you’ll experience from the moment you walk in and are greeted by marble pillars. You’ll be able to admire the Edwardian Baroque architecture throughout your stay.

3. AirShip, Scottish Highlands

The AirShip is a quirky place to stay with beautiful views across the Scottish Highlands. The insulated aluminium pod with huge windows allows you to fully appreciate the surrounding area. Inside, the AirShip offers a cosy place to spend the night, with décor that has hints of science-fiction.

4. Amberley Castle, Sussex

Do you want to spend the night feeling like royalty? Then a stay in a castle could be perfect for you. Amberley Castle has a history that goes back centuries involving royalty, wars, and more, and a trip here is perfect for delving into British history. Today, the castle retains many stunning original features, as well as beautiful gardens. You can even find suits of armour in the hallways.

5. Malmaison, Oxford

Do you want to spend the night in a prison? While it might not be the first thing that springs to mind, Malmaison in Oxford definitely offers a unique experience. Many of the features in the building have been retained from when it was a prison, including the walkway and cell doors. Luckily, the rooms are more spacious than a cell and have been given a contemporary renovation.

6. Trickers Mill, Suffolk

This Airbnb offers a unique place to stay. Trickers Mill is a five-storey Grade II-listed windmill with its own private courtyard. The building offers many architectural features inside, from original beams, curved walls, and spiral staircases, and you can even find some of the windmill’s machinery on the higher levels. The area itself is quiet and located in Woodbridge, a vibrant town on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to the Suffolk Coast.

7. Spice Bus, Isle of Wight

This staycation will take you right back to the 1990s – it’s the original Spice Bus from the 1997 film Spice World. On the inside, there are lots of little touches for fans of the Spice Girls to appreciate. Situated overlooking Island Harbour Marina, the local area is stunning when you step off the bus too.

8. Fingal, Edinburgh

Fingal gives you a chance to experience staying on a yacht while still being able to step off and enjoy everything Edinburgh has to offer. Fingal was commissioned in 1963 and was used to ferry lighthouse keepers, supplies, and maintenance staff to lighthouses. After a £5 million conversion, it’s now a unique, luxury hotel.

9. The Mermaid Inn, Kent

Situated close to the coast, the Mermaid Inn has connections to smugglers and is known for being one of the most haunted hotels in the UK. The cellars below the inn date back to 1156, while the current building is from 1420. With a cosy atmosphere, expect to find secret priest holes, sloping floors, and hidden passages during your stay here.

10. The Warren, Scottish Highlands

If you’re a fan of the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, this holiday let is perfect for you. The Warren is an underground cave house that will conjure up images of the Shire as you approach it. Set into the hillside with a grass roof, this property has plenty of character. Inside, you’ll find modern, comfortable living spaces to relax and enjoy the view of the Scottish Highlands, with Loch Tay right on your doorstep.

A man packing cardboard boxes to move home.

Moving into your second home and stepping up the property ladder can be just as daunting as buying your first home. While you may have built up equity and understand the buying process more than first-time buyers, there are still some things you need to know.

There are many reasons why you may be looking to move up the property ladder now. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current home, want to relocate to a new area, or are now in a position to buy a more expensive property?

Deciding to step up the property ladder can be exciting, but it can be stressful too. Getting to grips with the process and setting out your priorities first can make it smoother.

Most second-time buyers will still be using a mortgage to purchase their next home. These five questions can help you find the right mortgage and weigh up the costs of moving.

1. Could you port your current mortgage?

If you are happy with your current mortgage, you may be able to retain the interest rate terms by porting it. This is often done if you have a favourable interest rate or if you’re ready to move before your mortgage deal ends. You will still need to apply for a new mortgage with your current lender.

It’s not always possible to port your mortgage or borrow more through it, but it’s worth checking with your lender. You should expect to pay some fees to port your mortgage, so make sure you understand these first. You should also look at what other deals are on offer, as taking out a new mortgage deal with a different provider could be cheaper in the short and long term.

2. How much deposit will you put down?

As a second-time buyer, you will usually have built up equity in your current home. This means you may be able to put down a larger deposit than you did when buying your first home. You’ll likely have repaid some of your loan and the value of the property may have increased too. According to the Halifax House Price Index, the average house price increased by 9.8% in 2021.   

Keep in mind that deposits are calculated as a percentage of the total property value. So, while you may be putting down a larger sum, you will still need to consider the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

You will usually need a deposit of at least 10%, although there are some 5% deals available. The lower the LTV, the more competitive the interest rate you’ll typically be offered. There may also be reasons to retain some of the profits from the sale of your first home, for example, to carry out renovation projects in your new home.

How much you’ll place down as a deposit will usually be linked to the sale price of your home, so be realistic about how much your current property is likely to sell for.

3. How long do you want your mortgage term to be?

Traditionally, homebuyers took out a 25-year mortgage and would own their home outright after these 25 years. However, as homes have increased in price, some buyers have taken out longer mortgages and you have the option to change the term of the mortgage when you take out a new deal. Moving up the property ladder is a good time to assess how long you want to pay your mortgage for.

Increasing your mortgage term can make monthly repayments more affordable, as the cost is spread out over a longer period, but the total amount of interest paid will be greater. In contrast, shortening the mortgage term will increase your monthly payments but mean you pay less interest over the full term.

4. Will your new mortgage repayments still be affordable?

If you’re planning to purchase a more expensive property, assessing your affordability is important. Will you still be able to keep up with repayments?

Mortgage lenders will also assess your affordability when you apply for a new mortgage. As someone moving up the property ladder, you may be able to demonstrate that you can reliably meet mortgage repayments to lenders. However, the lender will also review your income, outgoings, and how you’d cope with an interest rate rise just as they did when you bought your first home.

Lenders will also use your credit report to assess how risky lending to you is. So, going through your report to ensure it’s accurate and highlighting any potential red flags is a step you should take.

5. What additional costs will you face?

When selling and buying a home to move up the property ladder, you will face additional costs.

You may need to pay estate agent fees and mortgage fees. As you will be both selling and buying a property, you should expect conveyancing fees to your solicitor to be higher than when you were a first-time buyer too.

If you’re hoping to buy your second home, you may not have paid Stamp Duty the first time. Stamp Duty is paid when you buy property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland. There are similar taxes in Scotland and Wales.

The rate of Stamp Duty you will pay will depend on the value of the property.

According to the Halifax House Price Index, the average property in the UK is now around £275,000, which would mean a Stamp Duty bill of £3,750. You must pay Stamp Duty within 14 days of buying a property, so it’s important to make the costs part of your budget.

If you’re ready to move up the property ladder, please contact us. We can help you secure a mortgage and make the process of buying your second home as stress-free as possible.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it.

A boy writing on a whiteboard during a school lesson.

School fees are rising. If you plan to send your child to a private school, calculating the potential expenses and creating a saving plan early can make all the difference.

Inflation has been making the headlines after the cost of living increased by 5.5% in the 12 months to January 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics, but a report in the Times suggests school fees are surpassing this. After a small increase in fees in 2020 of 1.1%, for the current school year, they have increased by as much as 6.5%.

In the UK, around 1 in 20 school children are privately educated, with the majority of these attending day school. A report from the Independent School Council (ISC) found that the average day fee for each school term is £5,056, or £15,191 for each academic year. Boarding school fees are typically more than twice those of day school fees.

So, putting a child through private education until they’re 18 could cost the best part of £200,000. If private education is something you’re thinking about, creating a savings plan early makes sense.

How to build up an education fund for your child

To make education part of your financial plan, the first step is to calculate how much you will need annually and in total. While the ISC report provides an average, keep in mind that the cost for each school term varies a lot between regions and schools. You should also consider how inflation will affect the cost of your child’s education.

Once you understand how much school fees will cost, it’s time to make it part of your wider financial plan. This could include incorporating the fees into your annual budget, setting up a savings plan, or putting a lump sum aside.

One of the things you need to consider is whether to save or invest. In some cases, a hybrid approach can make sense.

Saving has the advantage of keeping your money secure. However, as the interest rate is likely to be lower than inflation, the value of your savings could reduce in real terms.

In contrast, investing can help your education fund to grow, but it will be exposed to investment risk. As a general rule, you should only invest with a long-term goal that’s a minimum of five years away.

If you’re setting up an education fund, you will likely need to access some of the money in the short term, but some of it may be earmarked for expenses more than a decade away. As a result, holding part of it in a savings account while the rest is invested can help you balance short- and long-term needs.

We can help you make your family’s education part of your financial plan.

The average university student leaves education with more than £45,000 of debt

In addition to covering school fees until your child completes their compulsory education, you may also want to think about university.

According to the ISC report, the majority of privately educated children will choose to go to university. Just 2.2% of pupils went straight into employment and 1.1% choose further training, such as apprenticeships. So, while university can seem like a long way off, thinking about it now can help create long-term security.

UK students can take out a student loan to cover the costs of going to university, including living costs, which they don’t have to pay back until they earn above a certain income. According to the Guardian, the average student that graduated in 2020 had £45,060 of debt.

Setting up a fund that could be used to pay for university or other milestones as your child reaches adulthood can provide them with more freedom and reduce financial pressure.

As with school fees, thinking about whether to save or invest to reach your goal is important.

If you’d like to discuss what steps you can take to create a fund for your child, please contact us.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

A busy logistics and transportation location with cargo ships.

ESG investing means considering environmental, social, and governance factors when deciding how to invest.

ESG investing continues to grow and more investors are considering how they reflect their values in financial decisions. It covers a broad range of areas, but here are some of the trends that are set to affect ESG investing this year.

The rise of net zero pledges

As part of commitments to reduce companies’ contributions to climate change, many firms have already made pledges to reduce their carbon emissions. In 2022, it’s expected that more will make net zero pledges.

A net zero pledge means a company commits to removing as much carbon from the atmosphere as it adds. This will involve companies reducing the amount of carbon they produce by making changes to their operations.

In addition, the number of companies that engage in carbon offsetting is also expected to rise. This will allow firms to offset those emissions they can’t remove from their process by supporting projects that remove emissions.

Some companies have already made net zero targets, including Microsoft, BT, Sainsbury’s, and PwC. The range of companies that have already committed highlights how it’s a trend that will cross different industries.

However, investors still need to keep greenwashing in mind. Greenwashing is where a company brands products or initiatives as eco-friendly when this is not the case.

Analysis conducted by the NewClimate Institute found that the climate pledges of 25 of the world’s largest companies in reality only commit to reducing their emissions by 40%, not 100% as terms like net zero suggest.

Addressing the social effects of climate change

Climate change has been high on the agenda for ESG investors for years. Now, social factors are gradually being incorporated into this to understand how the consequences of climate change and policies will affect people and communities.

It’s a complex area that can cover many different things. For instance, it may consider how the direct consequences of climate change, such as more extreme weather events, will affect communities and how companies should respond to these events. Or it may look at how the transition away from fossil fuels will affect the progress of countries that are still developing.

The push to consider the social effects of climate change is partly being driven by a pledge made at the COP26 climate conference in November 2021.

The conference brought together governments and other parties to agree on action towards climate change goals. During the conference, more than 30 countries pledged to support workers and communities that will be harmed by the transition to a green economy.

As ESG becomes more mainstream, we’ll likely see more issues that combine the three core areas in some way to tackle complicated challenges.

Scrutinising supply chains

The last two years have highlighted how important supply chains for businesses are, and just how global.

Due to the pandemic, many firms experienced a disruption in their supplies and operations, with the effects being felt across entire supply chains. Even now, some businesses are still struggling to access the materials and products they need to operate at the same level they did before the pandemic.

A robust supply chain can provide security for businesses. On top of this, whether a supply chain reflects a company’s ESG commitments will also come under closer scrutiny.

While this trend can provide more confidence for ESG investors, reviewing complex supply chains could present challenges for both companies and investors.

Pressure for companies to pay their “fair share”

The amount of tax that companies pay in the regions they operate has made headlines in the last few years. Again, the effects of the pandemic mean this trend will be in the spotlight even more.

As governments were forced to borrow more money to provide health and social support during the pandemic, taxes are expected to rise. As the tax burden increases for individuals, it’s anticipated there will be growing pressure for businesses to pay their “fair share”, particularly if they benefited from government support during the pandemic.

While large companies hire whole teams to ensure they pay the correct amount of tax in each jurisdiction, these teams will also use loopholes and reliefs to pay as little tax as possible. As pressure grows for companies to pay a “fair share” it will be interesting to see how this translates to company policy and investor action in 2022 and beyond.

Increasing demand for standardised reporting 

As greenwashing becomes a key concern for investors, there will be an increased demand for regulation and reporting standards.

At the moment, it can be difficult to hold firms accountable if they make claims or set vague targets in their reports. This can also make it challenging for investors to compare different investment opportunities against their ESG criteria. To combat this, there will be an increase in demand for more standards.

This is a process that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has already begun. Last year, the FCA published a discussion paper on potential criteria for classifying and labelling investment products that would provide investors with more clarity. However, it’s likely to be a slow process and many years before standard reporting is seen across the industry.

Get in touch

Would you like to consider ESG factors when you invest or review your investment portfolio? We’re here to help you understand how investing can help you reach your goals.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

A father teaching his young son to ride a bike.

Official figures show that the amount paid in Inheritance Tax (IHT) has increased again. As the IHT thresholds are set to remain the same despite rising inflation, more people will need to consider how IHT could affect what they leave behind for their families.

According to a report in FT Adviser, IHT receipts between April and November 2021 totalled £4.1 billion. It represents a rise of £600 million when compared to the same period a year earlier. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also said it expects receipts to be higher over the next reporting period due to higher wealth transfers during the pandemic.

In addition to this, in 2021 the chancellor froze two key thresholds for IHT for five years. Usually, these allowances would increase in line with inflation but will now remain the same until 2026. For some families, this will mean they face a larger IHT bill when a loved one passes away.

If your estate may be affected by IHT, planning is important as there are often steps you can take to reduce how much IHT is paid on your estate.

The IHT nil-rate band for the 2022/23 tax year is £325,000 and will remain at this level until 2026. If the total value of your estate is below this threshold your estate will not be liable for any IHT.

If you will be passing on your main home to your children or grandchildren, you may also use the residence nil-rate band, which means you can pass on an additional £175,000 in the 2022/23 tax year before paying IHT. Again, this allowance is frozen until 2026.

Both of these thresholds are for individuals. So, if you’re estate planning with a partner, you could pass on up to £1 million without IHT being due. This is because a spouse or civil partner can pass on unused allowances to their partner.

If the value of your estate does exceed these allowances, the standard IHT rate is 40%. It can significantly reduce what you pass on to loved ones.

7 things to do if your estate could be liable for Inheritance Tax

1. Value your estate

To understand what steps you can take to reduce a potential IHT bill, you must first understand what is included in your estate and how much it is worth. Your estate includes most of your assets, from property to material goods, and it’s important to accurately value items to make an estate plan that’s right for you.

As well as considering the value of assets now, you should also think about how they may change during your lifetime. Your home, for instance, is likely to rise in value significantly. In 2021 alone, house prices increased by 9.7%, according to Halifax house price index data.

2. Write a will

Even if IHT isn’t a concern, you should write a will. It’s the only way you can ensure your wishes are carried out.

From an IHT perspective, a will can help you make full use of your allowances. For instance, leaving your home to your child in your will means you can use the residence nil-rate band.

3. Pass on gifts to your loved ones

Some gifts could be considered part of your estate when you pass away for up to seven years. These are known as “potentially exempt transfers”.

In contrast, there are some gifts that you can make that are considered outside of your estate straight away. Making use of these can allow you to pass on assets to loved ones without worrying if they’ll be included in IHT calculations.

These gifts include gifting up to £3,000 each tax year, known as your “annual exemption”, and small gifts of up to £250 to individuals. If you’d like to reduce a potential IHT bill through gifting, please contact us.

4. Create a charitable legacy

You can leave gifts to charities in your will. Any gifts that you leave to charities will be considered outside of your estate for IHT purposes. As a result, you can use these gifts to bring the total value of your estate under IHT thresholds while supporting good causes.

In addition, if you leave at least 10% of your entire estate to charitable causes, the rate of IHT you pay will fall from 40% to 36%. For some estates, this could mean leaving more to loved ones.

5. Place your assets in a trust

In some cases, placing some of your assets in a trust can make sense. Using a trust may remove some of your assets from your estate so they are not considered when IHT is calculated. You may still be able to benefit from the assets held in trusts, for example, taking an income from your investments.

There are several types of trust and once set up it can be difficult or impossible to dissolve a trust. So, as well as considering the financial aspect, you should consider taking legal advice before moving forward.

6. Take out a life insurance policy

A life insurance policy won’t reduce the amount of IHT due. However, it can provide your beneficiaries with a way to pay the bill.

A whole of life insurance policy will pay out a lump sum when you pass away. You will need to pay policy premiums or the cover will lapse. You should also have an accurate value of your estate and the amount of IHT that will be due to ensure that the lump sum will cover the full IHT bill.

It’s important to note that the life insurance policy must be written in trust. Otherwise, the payout will be considered part of your estate and the amount of IHT due could increase.

7. Arrange a meeting with us

Depending on your assets and wishes, there may be other options that are appropriate for you. Please contact us to arrange a meeting with a financial planner to discuss what steps you can take to reduce the amount of IHT due on your estate and pass on more of your wealth to loved ones.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax or estate planning.

A couple walking through the Lake District, UK.

As you may know, inflation (or the “cost of living”) has been rising at a faster pace than usual. If you’re retired, the effect of inflation can be more pronounced and it’s important to understand how it could affect your lifestyle now and in the future.

The Bank of England (BoE) aims to keep inflation at 2% a year. However, according to the Office for National Statistics, the rate of inflation in the 12 months to February 2022 was 6.2%. While the effect of inflation can seem small day-to-day, it adds up.

Why inflation is important if you’re a retiree

If you’ve already retired, inflation can affect your lifestyle more than if you were still working. This may be because your income is static rather than rising with inflation. You may also need to consider how you will use your assets over your retirement. Taking more now to ensure your income rises in line with inflation could mean you face a shortfall in the future.

In addition, energy and food are two of the areas that inflation has affected the most. Traditionally, pensioners have spent a larger part of their income on these two expenditures than workers. So, rising inflation could affect your expenses more than you expect.

While the State Pension will rise in the new tax year in April, it won’t rise at the same pace as inflation. For the 2022/23 tax year, the State Pension will increase by 3.1%. This is because it will rise by the rate of inflation as measured in September 2021.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the gap between the State Pension increase and the current pace of inflation will mean pensioners are £169 a year worse off in real terms. 

So, if you’re retired, what can you do about inflation?

5 things retirees should do to manage the effects of inflation

1. Review your income needs

Looking at how your expenses have changed over the last few months can help you create a realistic budget. Does your current income still allow you to live the same lifestyle, or have you had to make adjustments? Looking at which outgoings have increased can help you see if you need to make any changes.

2. Check your reliable sources of income

As part of your retirement income, you may have some sources that provide a reliable income. You should review these and check if they’ll increase in line with inflation in the new tax year.

As mentioned above, the State Pension will rise but not at the same pace as inflation. You may also have a defined benefit (DB) pension, which pays a guaranteed income throughout retirement. A DB pension will often increase at the same pace as inflation, providing you with some financial security even as the cost of living rises.

If you had a defined contribution (DC) pension, you may have chosen to purchase an annuity that will pay an income for the rest of your life. When purchasing an annuity, you can choose whether the income will increase in line with inflation.

3. Assess investment performance if you’re using flexi-access drawdown

If you have a DC pension, an alternative to an annuity is flexi-access drawdown. This option allows you to take a flexible income, with the rest of your pension usually remaining invested. As a result, the remainder of your pension may increase to keep pace with inflation depending on how the investments perform.

In addition to investments held in a pension, you may also have a separate investment portfolio that could deliver growth that matches or exceeds inflation.

Investing can provide you with a chance to grow your wealth, but you should keep in mind that returns cannot be guaranteed.

4. Review your cash savings

Some cash savings are important as they can provide a valuable safety net if you face an unexpected expense. However, as inflation is likely higher than the interest rate you are earning on your cash savings, the value of your savings could be falling in real terms.

In some cases, moving the money to a different account or investing a portion of the savings can help you reduce the effects of inflation on your wealth.

5. Arrange a meeting with your financial planner

If you’d like help in understanding how inflation is affecting your income now, and the effect it could have in the future, a meeting with a financial planner can help. Please contact us to discuss your income needs and what you can do to protect against the effect of inflation.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts. 

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

Brenda Bailey

What is your job role?

Financial Planning Assistant

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?

Spending time with my family, especially my grandson.

What’s your favourite theatre show?

Mamma Mia – it’s fun, you can sing along and it makes you smile.

Where is your favourite holiday destination, and why?

The Algarve in Portugal. As well as being a beautiful place, it’s the first place we went on our own after our daughters had grown up.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?

Painting. I would love to be able to paint landscapes.

What are some causes that you care about?

Macmillan Nurses, Breast Cancer Care, Alzheimer’s Society are all causes close to my heart.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with a great team, we all get on really well.

What is something you find challenging about your work?

Spending time ‘on hold’ when trying to contact providers.