What is your job role?

Director & Mortgage Adviser

What is your favourite meal to cook?

So many to choose from! I am a massive fan of a one-pot dish (limited washing up!) so something like a chicken, ham & leek pie would be up there as a favourite.

If you suddenly had 25 hour days, how would you use your extra time?

See more of my daughter and sleep longer!

If you had to play one album forever, what would it be?

Something upbeat and timeless. Tina Turner would have to be up there for Proud Mary alone.

Of all the places you’ve travelled to, what was your favourite and why?

Lapland with the family. Meeting Santa Claus in his home with my daughter was truly magical.

What is your favourite family tradition?

Watching The Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve as a family – love it!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping dreams come true – to be part of that journey with a client is a real honour.

What is something you find challenging about your work?

Paperwork and lack of time to get it done. Being regulated means there is so much to be done behind the scenes which is often challenging.

A recent survey from Direct Line showed that one in four landlords report not being able to keep up with changing regulations. Therefore, it may be a bit of a shock to many landlords to hear that from 2025, all newly rented properties will require an energy performance certificate rating of C or above, with this deadline extended to 2028 for existing tenancies (please note these dates are subject to change).

Failure to comply will lead to a property becoming unrentable.

Making changes to improve a property’s energy efficiency rating will help to improve the overall energy efficiency of the UK housing stock and to assist the government in meeting the ambitious net-carbon zero targets set out earlier this year.

But on a more direct level, making the improvements ahead of the impending 2025 deadline will ensure that properties remain commercially viable for the short and long term for landlords. Putting off making necessary changes could leave landlords exposed to extended void periods when their property can’t be rented out while works are being completed.

What can be done to improve the EPC rating?

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to prepare, especially if your rating is at E to G. You can start by making sure that you have done the following to improve your EPC rating.

1. Improve your lighting to LED light bulbs.

2. Insulate the walls and roof.

3. Improve windows with double or triple glazing.

4. Install an energy-efficient boiler.

5. Use a smart meter.

Generally, investing in renewable energy will help to improve your EPC of your rental property, especially using products such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.

But beware – analysis from Habito published late 2021 found the average cost of upgrading a property from just an EPC ‘D’ rating to ‘C’ is £6,155.  A cost that, at the moment, the landlord needs to burden. So it is inevitable that more than half (52%) of landlords with properties with an Energy Performance Certificate of D or below are considering selling due to the rules requiring them to improve their rating, according to research from The Mortgage Works (TMW).

Eco-friendly properties could also lower your mortgage costs

A growing number of banks and building societies will offer landlords a lower interest rate if their home is more energy-efficient.

Green mortgages may offer lower interest rates, as they are viewed as more valuable to prospective buyers and renters who would benefit from lower energy bills. But you will usually need an EPC rating of A or B to qualify for a green mortgage.

If you’re looking for an eco-property to let out or are carrying out work to improve a property, reviewing green mortgages could help you get more out of your investment.

Please contact us to discuss your mortgage needs.

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

Some buy-to-let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

It’s fair to say that the UK is addicted to sport.

After two years of events being affected by the Covid pandemic to some extent or another, there’s more of an excited air of anticipation than usual as we approach the summer. So, here’s a guide to 10 amazing sporting events you should put in your calendar for the coming months.

From The Derby to the Commonwealth Games being held in Birmingham, there are plenty of ways sports fans can fill their schedule this summer.

Whether you want to see if Emma Raducanu will win at Wimbledon in front of a home crowd, or see if Lewis Hamilton’s duel with Max Verstappen continues into the Formula 1 2022 season at the British Grand Prix, there’s something for everyone on this list.

Find more information, tips, and details about tickets by downloading “The top 10 sporting events coming to the UK in summer 2022” now.

View of Auckland from Mount Eden.

For many people, travelling abroad has been put on hold for the last two years. As pandemic restrictions continue to lift around the world, you may be planning a city break to explore a new culture and escape.

Keep in mind that Covid-19 rules vary around the world. You should check what restrictions are in place before you book a holiday and keep in mind that these could change. You should also check what your travel insurance would cover if Covid-19 affected your travel plans.

From Dublin, Ireland, to Merida, Mexico, these are the 10 cities you should consider a trip to this year according to Lonely Planet.

1. Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is surrounded by natural, rugged beauty, including more than 50 volcanos and several beaches. The diversity of the culture and creativity on show throughout the city led to it taking the top spot in this year’s list of incredible urban areas to visit.

A trip to New Zealand presents the perfect opportunity to learn more about Maori culture, explore vibrant night markets, and hike through lush forests. As the water is never far away, you can take a ferry to the nearby islands and thrill-seekers can try their hand at the likes of rafting, paddle boarding, and surfing.

2. Taipei, Taiwan

One of the reasons Taipei was ranked number two by Lonely Planet was the amazing culinary scene the city offers. If you’re a foodie and want to indulge your tastebuds while on holiday, this could be the destination for you. Local dishes including niu rou mian (beef noodle soup) and hujiao bing (pepper buns) are must-tries.

When you’re not sampling street food, this 300-year-old city has a lot to offer. Old buildings, from barracks to villas, have been carefully restored so you feel like you’ve stepped back in time in parts of the city.

3. Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg is an ancient university town with winding cobbled lanes, gabled townhouses, and a stunning cathedral. It’s a delightful mix of traditional quaintness and modern vibrancy thanks to the combination of history and a thriving student population.

Located at the foot of the Black Forest, there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature and the setting that inspired some of the Brothers Grimm’s best-known fairy tales.

4. Atlanta, USA

If you think of places you want to visit in the US, a few cities could spring to mind. If Atlanta isn’t one of them, you could be missing out.

The fast-growing city is a chance to experience the renowned culture, food and hospitality of the south. The city played an important role in African American history and culture, including being the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. While Atlanta is a thriving urban centre, it’s got plenty of green spaces too. In fact, more than a third of the city is covered in trees.

5. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos is a great destination if you want to explore music and art. Known for being lively, the city is bustling with creative people and promises to deliver a unique city trip. If you’re an art fan, the Nike Centre for Art and Culture is a must-visit – you’ll not only find a large collection to admire but can watch artists honing their skills too.

It’s not all about a busy city centre though. The Lekki Conservation Centre will take you back to nature and boasts the longest canopy walkway in Africa, so you have a great opportunity to spot local wildlife.

6. Nicosia/Lefkosia, Cyprus

The city of Nicosia, or “Lefkosia” in Greek, has been split since 1974. It’s one of the world’s only remaining divided capital cities, with its Greek and Turkish halves largely separate. There’s still a wall splitting the city but there are an increasing number of cross-culture projects.

The old walled city is lively and packed with bars, restaurants, and craftspeople. Be sure to take part in the café culture and try a traditional cake.

7. Dublin, Ireland

A little closer to home, Dublin is a great destination for a long weekend city break. Of course, there are plenty of traditional Irish pubs to explore, but the city has a lot more to offer too.

Dublin has a wealth of medieval castles, cathedrals, and other historical relics to visit. Well worth a visit are Dublin Castle, Trinity College Library, and Kilmainham Gaol. Booking a tour around the Guinness factory is popular – it ends at the Gravity bar, which boasts incredible views across Dublin’s skyline.

8. Merida, Mexico

Merida is steeped in colonial history and its narrow streets hold many hidden gems. From cultural museums to thriving markets, there’s something for everyone in Merida. The evenings are lively too, with a huge selection of performances, festivals, and entertainment often available to choose from.

As well as tucking into incredible Mexican dishes, you have a wealth of nature and ancient Mayan ruins close by to explore. This city is the perfect place to start exploring the stunning Yucatan region.

9. Florence, Italy

Italy is known for beautiful architecture, an interesting history, and delicious food. This year, if you want to head to the country, why not try Florence?

Situated in the region of Tuscany, its compact size means it’s perfect for a short break. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to do. There are masterpieces at every turn, from churches decorated with frescos to Michelangelo’s David housed in the Accademia Gallery of Florence. It’s also a great base for exploring more of the region, with day-trip options including San Gimignano, Pisa, and Bologna.

10. Gyeongju, South Korea

South Korea has become a tourist hot-spot in recent years. While Seoul is on many bucket lists, Gyeongju may have fallen off your radar.

Known as a “museum without walls”, you can expect to find temples, pagodas, tombs, rock carvings, and much more. It’s the perfect destination for history buffs, and the 1,000-year-old Bulguksa Temple is a must-visit. It’s a great location to get outdoors too, with the chance to hike around Gyeongju National Park.

Queen Elizabeth II waving in Liverpool.

This summer the Queen will celebrate an incredible 70 years on the throne. Since her reign began in 1952, the world has changed a lot – who in the 1950s would’ve thought it’d be normal to carry a computer in your pocket that lets you make calls, access the internet, and a whole lot more?

During that time, money has changed enormously too, from how it looks right through to how we use it. Here are some of the ways money has changed during the Queen’s reign.

The changing portraits of the Queen

The Queen’s portrait has been a common feature on money for almost 70 years and there have been several changes over the decades.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the Queen’s portrait appeared on a note. The image of the young queen was used on £1 notes, and then a 10 shilling note in 1961. The portrait was criticised for being severe and having an unrealistic likeness.

An updated portrait used for £5 notes in 1963 received a more favourable response.

The current image on notes and coins has been used since 1990 and shows the Queen aged 64.

Adding the likeness of the monarch isn’t just for tradition. The Bank of England (BoE) explains that using a familiar image is a useful anti-counterfeiting feature. People can detect changes in pictures of faces, especially well-known ones, much more easily than in other types of patterns.

Modern polymer notes also use the Queen’s portrait on a small, see-through window with “£5 Bank of England” printed twice around the edge as a security feature.

Images: portraits of the queen used in 1960, 1963, and 1990.

Decimalisation day: Adopting a base-10 currency in 1971

Perhaps the biggest change to money in the last 70 years occurred on 15 February 1971, dubbed “decimalisation day”.

For centuries Britain had used a coinage system of pounds, shillings and pence – 12 pennies made a shilling, and 20 shillings made a pound.

After more than 50 years of dealing with a currency based on units of 10, it can be hard to appreciate the mental arithmetic older generations were adept at doing every time they made a purchase.

The debate of changing to a simpler currency had been going on since 1847.

An MP at the time, Sir John Bowring said: “Every man who looks at his 10 fingers, saw an argument for its use, and evidence of its practicability.”

A year later, the nation’s first decimal coin appeared – the florin, which was one-tenth of a pound. But that’s as far as decimalisation went until more than a century later.

While decimalisation day on 15 February 1971 was a milestone and represented a huge change, the transition was a little more gradual than the name suggests.

5p and 10p coins had entered circulation in 1968 and had the same value as shillings and florins. The last pre-decimal coin, the florin, wasn’t pulled from circulation until 1993. To help customers, some shops also ran dual prices for a while.

Even with a transition, it was vital that everyone knew about the change and how the new coins would work. So, the government commissioned performer Max Bygraves to record a song for the occasion.

The lyrics included: “They have made it easy for every citizen, cos all we have to do is count from 1 to 10.” And if you want a trip down memory lane, you can listen to the decimalisation song online.

The rise of cashless payments

In recent years, the shift towards not using money at all has accelerated, particularly during the last two years due to the pandemic.

Barclays issued the UK’s first credit card in 1966, with debit cards following in 1987. These first cards required a signature and used a magnetic strip that could be swiped.

This trend evolved over the decades, with chip and PIN introduced in 2003 and contactless payments in 2007.

With customers now able to make contactless payments up to £100, a life without physical money is already a reality for many people in the UK.

According to the latest figures from UK Finance, more than a quarter of all payments in the UK are made using contactless methods. In contrast, cash is falling out of favour. In 2010, it accounted for 56% of all payments, although by 2020 that had reduced to 17%.

While cash is likely to play an important role for years to come, its use is becoming rarer.

Average annual inflation of 5.1% has affected how far your money will go

It’s not just the appearance of money and how we pay for goods that have changed – the value of the money in your pocket has too.

Over the last 70 years, the rate of inflation has differed. Inflation is currently higher than it has been in recent years, reaching 9% in March April.  And older generations will well remember inflation entering double digits in the 1970s. 

Inflation means the cost of goods and services rises. Day-to-day, you may not notice how much costs are rising, while over 70 years it’s clear the effect inflation has.

Annually, between 1952 and 2021, inflation has averaged 5.1%. The BoE’s inflation calculator finds that if you had £1,000 when Queen Elizabeth II began her reign, you’d need more than £30,000 now to have the same spending power.

Money has changed hugely over the last 70 years, but what remains important is setting out your goals and getting the most out of your assets. If you’d like to talk about your financial plan, 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.

A woman carrying a cardboard box as she moves house.

It’s often said that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences. So, it’s natural that some of the tasks you should tick off slip your mind.

According to a study covered in Metro, more than half of homebuyers say the process is even more stressful than they thought it was going to be. From worrying about a sale falling through to becoming stressed about the amount of admin required, there’s a lot that can make moving home taxing.

If you’ll be one of the thousands of families that will move this year, completing these seven tasks can make it that bit easier and help you to settle into your new home.

1. Update your GP and dentist details

While switching your details with utility providers is often a priority, doing the same for your medical practice and dentist can slip your mind. You may not realise it’s a step that’s been overlooked until you need to use a service, which can delay getting an appointment.

If you’ll be staying with the same provider, make sure your details, including address and phone number, are up to date. If you’ll be switching to a GP or dentist closer to your new home, register as soon as you can.

2. Review your insurance

If you’ll be taking out a mortgage to buy your home, it’s often a requirement that you take out adequate building insurance.

You will normally need to have insurance in place before the property transfers to you. In addition, contents insurance can provide you with peace of mind.

When buying a new home, you’ll often be taking on more financial responsibility. So, assessing if income protection, critical illness cover, or life insurance is right for you is also an important task.

Insurance policies can provide you or your family with financial security if something unexpected, such as needing to take time off work due to an illness, happens. We can help you with your financial protection needs and answer any questions you may have.

3. Set up a mail redirection

It’s easy to miss some accounts when you’re updating your address. Having your mail redirected when you first move can make sure you don’t miss important letters and serve as a reminder to update your details.

Royal Mail offers a redirection service that lasts for 3, 6 or 12 months so you don’t need to worry about missing mail.

It can also reduce the risk of fraud by helping to prevent your personal details from being seen by others. There is a cost to using the service, but it can be well worth it.

4. Take meter readings

To make sure that your utility bills are accurate and that you don’t overpay, taking meter readings before you leave your old home is essential.

Note down and submit readings for gas, electric, and water so that your final bill reflects your use. Taking a photo of the meters can also be useful in case there is any discrepancy.

Once you’ve received the keys to your new home, do the same to avoid paying for some of the last owner’s usage. 

5. Update your driving licence

While updating your address for bills and other services, don’t forget about your vehicle and driver’s licence.

You can change the address on your driver’s licence for free online or by post. It’s easy to overlook but you could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t notify DVLA of an address change.

You should also update the details on your vehicle registration certificate and tell your car insurer that you’ve moved.

6. Change your details on the electoral roll

Amid moving house, updating your details on the electoral roll can be missed until an election is around the corner, but it’s something you should do straight away.

You’ll need to register to vote when you change your address, even if you’re already registered at a different property. You can do this online or using a paper form.

Registering on the electoral roll can also improve your credit score, which can make borrowing more accessible and affordable in the future. 

7. Pack an essentials box

Packing up your home and preparing to move can be stressful, and sometimes things don’t go to plan.

A delay in handing over the keys or signing contracts can mean you don’t arrive at your new home until much later than expected. Being prepared and having your essential items in one box that stays with you can make the process easier if this does happen.

Are you planning to buy a new home?

If you’re planning to purchase a new home, choosing the right mortgage for you is important. We’re here to help you understand the options and navigate the mortgage process.

If you have any questions or are ready to start applying for a mortgage, 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.

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

Note that financial protection typically has no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.

Teenagers in an IT class at school.

Gaps in financial education are leaving many teenagers unprepared for managing their money and becoming independent. The good news is that they’re keen to learn and recognise how important getting to grips with personal finance is.

Personal finance is part of the national curriculum. 73% of students surveyed as part of The London Institute of Banking and Finance’s Young Persons’ Money Index 2021-22 said they receive some form of financial education in school.

Yet, for many it’s sporadic. Fewer than half said they’d had access to financial education in the last school term. 

In many cases, personal finance is taught as part of other classes, which means it doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves.

Despite nearing a time when they’ll have to start making financial decisions for themselves, just 4% of 17- and 18-year-olds have a dedicated personal finance class.

With 4 in 5 young people already feeling anxious about money, it’s not surprising that 72% want more financial education in schools, rising to 85% among 17- and 18-year-olds.

Schools play an important role in preparing teenagers for life, but passing on essential money lessons to them at home is crucial too. If you have teenage children or grandchildren, here are eight areas to focus on.

1. How student loans work

Whether to go to university is one of the first big life decisions that teenagers will make. For many, it will mean taking out a student loan to cover tuition fees and living costs.

More than a third of teenagers said they didn’t know how student loans work. Taking out a student loan can affect their income for decades to come, so it’s important they understand the implications.

If a teenager will be heading to university in 2022, when they graduate, they will only need to make repayments when they exceed an income threshold, currently £27,295. They will then repay 9% of everything above this threshold until the loan is repaid or the loan is wiped after 30 years. As a result, many students will never repay the full loan.

For students that will be going to university on or after September 2023, the government has lowered the repayment threshold to £25,000 and increased the length of time over which a graduate repays their loan to 40 years.

2. How to create an effective budget

A budget is crucial for ensuring essential costs are covered and that other goals can be reached.

When asked what they wanted to learn more about, one of the responses students gave was understanding “essential versus discretionary” spending. A budget can be a useful way to learn this and create positive money habits.

Going through expenses with them, including household costs they will need to understand in the future, can help children understand how to prioritise spending.

Giving teenagers some financial responsibility, such as paying for a sports club or their mobile phone, can help them get to grips with budgeting early.

3. The importance of savings

If your child or grandchild will usually spend money as soon as they have it, a conversation about why saving is important and how to start can set them up for long-term success.

From saving for an item they want to a financial buffer they can fall back on, it’s a financial lesson that can lead to greater security now and in the future.

As well as why saving is important, it’s also worth looking at how interest can add up and the different types of savings accounts available.

4. How Income Tax and National Insurance are calculated and deducted

Teenagers may already be working or nearing the time when they’ll start looking for a job. While tax affairs can be complex, you can teach them the basics of Income Tax and National Insurance.

6 in 10 students said they hadn’t received any information about tax as part of their financial education in school.

PAYE means most young workers don’t need to calculate their tax liability, but it’s important to understand how it’ll affect their take-home pay.

5. Good debt vs bad debt

While you may think teenagers are too young to start thinking about debt, the reality is very different.

28% of teenagers said they’d borrowed money from parents, relatives, or friends. More worrying though is the 8% that said they’d used a pay-day lender, and the same proportion said they’d taken out a loan.

As a result, a conversation about when taking on debt is appropriate can help them make better financial decisions. In addition, explaining interest rates and credit scores can be beneficial.

6. How mortgages work

For young people still in education, buying a home can seem like a long way off. However, as house prices are rising, getting a head start and understanding the process now is useful.

How much is required for a house deposit is a good place to start as it’s one of the first hurdles aspiring homeowners need to overcome. Even if they’re not ready to buy a home yet, setting some money aside frequently for this milestone can mean they’re prepared.

7. Why paying into a pension early makes sense

The good news is that auto-enrolment means most employees will begin paying into a pension from the age of 22.

To someone who has just entered the workforce, a pension can seem like something they can afford to put off for a few years. Going through the benefits of paying into a pension early, from employer contributions to the compounding effect of investing for the long term, can demonstrate why they shouldn’t opt out of their workplace pension.

8. How to recognise financial scams

The survey found that a significant proportion of children have already been targeted by scammers.

29% of teenagers said they’d received a fraudulent email, call or text asking for their bank details. Scammers are also increasingly using social media platforms to target younger generations.

Highlighting the red flags they need to be aware of and the sensitive information they need to keep secure can reduce the risk of teenagers falling victim to fraud.

Creating financial security for your children and grandchildren

As well as passing on your knowledge and vital money lessons, you may want to take other steps to ensure the long-term financial security of your children or grandchildren.

This could include building a nest egg that will help them reach milestones in adulthood or setting aside an inheritance. If you want to discuss how you can help young adults and children financially and how it could affect your other plans, 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.

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. 

Workplace pensions are regulated by The Pension Regulator.

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

A supermarket trolley filled with groceries.

Over the last few months, you’ve probably heard a lot about inflation and the effect it can have on your cost of living. While you may be familiar with the headline figures, how is it calculated?

The key figure that you normally see is the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

IIn the 12 months to April 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the CPI rose to 9%. This is the highest rate of inflation for 40 years and was driven by rising fuel and energy costs, which has been linked to the war in Ukraine.

The Bank of England (BoE) has a target of keeping inflation around 2%. However, the BoE expects inflation to rise to around 8% and then fall back over the next two to three years. It noted that even though the rate of inflation is expected to slow down, the prices of some things may stay at a high level when compared to the past.

To control inflation, the BoE can increase interest rates. It’s a step the Bank has already taken three times this year and could take again in the future.

The ONS uses around 700 items to calculate the rate of inflation

Measuring how prices are rising is a huge task, and it’s impossible to keep an accurate record of prices for every good or service that’s available in the UK.

So, ONS creates a virtual “shopping basket” of around 700 items.

The items that are included in the basket are chosen to represent an average person’s spending. It includes a huge range of goods and services, such as grocery shopping, clothing, meals out, furniture, recreational activities, and transport.

The organisation then looks at around 180,000 prices for these items to understand the average cost.

Rather than measuring prices, the CPI measures price changes. So, the ONS can produce a monthly inflation figure by comparing how prices have changed over 12 months.

While CPI provides an overview of how inflation is rising, the measure does have some limitations.

For a start, it only measures what’s in the basket. As a result, inflation calculations are based on only a sample of what’s available. This can create some blind spots and it may not accurately reflect your spending.

It’s also worth noting that the CPI doesn’t include housing costs, such as rent or mortgage repayments, despite them being a significant outgoing for most families. There is a separate measure of inflation – CPIH – that includes these costs.

What’s in the CPI basket? Suits are out but hand sanitiser is in

The ONS updates the items that are in the shopping basket regularly to reflect changing consumer habits.

This year, men’s suits were removed to reflect the growing trend of working from home and casual clothing. As more people have chosen a vegan diet or reduced the amount of meat they eat, meat-free sausages were added to the basket.

In 2021, hand sanitiser was added to the basket, as sales soared during the pandemic, and so were hybrid and electric cars following the announcement that sales of new diesel and petrol cars would be banned after 2030.

The changes can help ensure that the inflation rates reflect consumer spending as much as possible.

It also offers an interesting insight into how spending habits have changed.

The ONS has been using a basket of goods to calculate inflation since 1946 when the nation was still suffering from the after-effects of the second world war.

In the 1940s, condensed milk was a staple as it helped rations to go further and lasted longer than fresh milk. It remained in the basket until 1987.

Post-war fashion also influenced what was included in the very first shopping basket, with corsets and men’s three-piece suits featuring. Now, thanks to the growing trend for athleisure, you’ll find exercise leggings instead.

Technology entering homes is also demonstrated by how the shopping basket has changed. The washing machine entered the shopping basket in 1956 and the refrigerator in 1962.

Home entertainment shows how quickly technology has progressed. In 1987, video rental was included in the inflation measure as families around the UK went to Blockbuster to rent a video for an evening in. As DVD prices became as affordable as renting and streaming services took off, video rentals were removed.

How will the rate of inflation affect you?

As the rate of inflation rises in the UK, it could affect your budget and long-term financial plans.

Reviewing your plan and making your money go further is crucial for maintaining and growing your wealth during periods of high inflation. If you’d like to talk to us about the effects of inflation on your assets, please give us a call.

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

A mature couple jogging across a bridge.

Do you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place? If you don’t, it could leave you in a vulnerable position if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, such as after an accident or illness.

Losing the mental capacity or ability to make decisions for yourself is something no one likes to think about. However, by taking steps just in case, you can improve your security and wellbeing.

An LPA gives someone you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf. These decisions could be related to medical treatment or finance to ensure you continue to meet commitments.

Having an LPA in place can provide you with peace of mind and security if you can’t, or don’t want to, make decisions.

4 in 5 over-55s don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney

An LPA is an important step at any stage in your life. Accidents can happen, so even among younger generations, it can provide valuable security.

However, an LPA is most likely to be used later in life when some illnesses are more common or recovery times may be longer. So, it’s worrying that 80% of over-55s haven’t named an LPA according to a Lloyds Bank survey.

Almost a third said they hadn’t set up an LPA because they believe it’s only put in place if they become ill. This is incorrect.

You must have the mental capacity to decide to name an LPA. So, it’s a step that must be taken before it’s needed. If it’s something you’ve yet to do, you should think about it now.

Without an LPA, your loved ones would need to apply for a deputyship to act on your behalf. This can be more costly and time-consuming than setting up an LPA. As the process can be lengthy, it could mean no one can make decisions for you for some time while you may be vulnerable.

64% of UK adults don’t understand how a Lasting Power of Attorney works. Here’s what you need to know

Another reason that some people aren’t naming an LPA is that they don’t understand how it works. Almost two-thirds of people surveyed couldn’t explain what an attorney can do. So, here are five things you need to know.

1. An LPA can make decisions when you’re unable or unwilling to do so

An LPA will only make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to, or you decide you’d prefer not to make them. In some cases, the powers an attorney has can be temporary. For example, if you’re ill and recover.

Your named attorney cannot make decisions for you if you still have mental capacity and want to do so.

2. There are two types of LPA

There are two different types of LPA that grant the attorney the ability to make different decisions. You should have both types in place, and you can choose the same person for both or different people for each.

The first type is a health and welfare LPA. This would provide someone with the ability to make decisions relating to your health and care. This could include decisions about moving into a care home, medical treatment, and life-sustaining treatment.

The second is a property and financial affairs LPA. This would allow someone to manage your financial affairs on your behalf, such as paying bills, collecting your pension, or selling property.

3. An LPA grants someone the power to make decisions during your life

A quarter of people are unaware of the differences between an LPA and a will.

In essence, an LPA gives someone the ability to make decisions on your behalf during your life. They cannot decide how your assets will be distributed when you pass away. This is what a will is used for – it allows you to set out what you want to happen to your assets when you die.

You should have both a will and LPA in place. 

4. You can name more than one LPA

As mentioned above, there are two types of LPA, and you can name different people to fill these roles.

If you want, you can also name multiple LPAs, for instance, your partner and child. You can specify whether they can make decisions independently or must work together.

You should think carefully about who your LPA should be. Speaking to them about whether they’re comfortable with the role and what your wishes would be in various circumstances is important.

5. You should still name an LPA if you’re married

It’s a common misconception that your partner will be able to make decisions for you if you’re married or in a civil partnership. However, this isn’t always the case.

Your partner, for instance, does not have an automatic right to manage your bank account for you, even if it’s a joint account. As a result, naming an LPA, whether this is your partner or someone else, is still an important step.

How to name a Lasting Power of Attorney

You can download the forms to start the process of naming an LPA online or by contacting the Office for the Public Guardian.

You can choose to fill out the forms yourself or use the services of a solicitor. While you will need to pay a fee for a solicitor, they can help prevent issues from arising.

The forms will need to be signed by a certificate provider, who will verify you haven’t been placed under pressure to complete the forms. This can either be someone you know well or a professional like a doctor or solicitor.

Once the forms are complete, you must register the LPA with the Office for Public Guardian, and you may need to pay a fee of £82.

If you have any questions about LPAs or how they can fit into your financial plan, 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 Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning or will writing.