If your mortgage deal is coming to an end or it’s already expired, you should consider remortgaging. This guide reveals the essential things you need to know.

The government previously estimated 57% of fixed-rate mortgages ending in 2023 had an interest rate below 2%. When these mortgage deals end, it’s very likely that households will now need to pay a much higher interest rate.

While remortgaging could still mean outgoings rise, it could help secure a more competitive interest rate and save you money over the full mortgage term.

As remortgaging is something that you’ll probably do several times, it’s important to understand how it works and the steps you can take to make the process smoother.

The guide explains:

  • Why homeowners remortgage
  • How remortgaging could save you money
  • Practical steps you can take when you’re ready to remortgage
  • How a mortgage broker can be valuable during the remortgaging process.

Download your copy of ‘Remortgaging: The essential steps you should take when your mortgage ends’ now to understand why remortgaging is important and to potentially save money.

If you have any questions about mortgages and the remortgaging process, please contact us.

A couple watching hot air balloons in Turkey.

Everyone has heard the saying “money can’t buy happiness”, but research suggests it’s not accurate. 

According to a study from The Greater Good Science Center in the US, spending money can boost your wellbeing. However, simply heading to the shop and splurging on the latest technology or new clothes doesn’t yield the same results. Instead, you need to intentionally spend money on experiences and things that support your goals.  

The research found people are happier when they spend money on experiences, like travelling or going out for a meal, rather than possessions.

More than 450 participants took part in the study. They were asked to describe something they had spent money on in the last three months between $60 and $1,200, excluding everyday bills. Participants were then asked to explain how the purchase helped fulfil different goals and how they felt it contributed to happiness and life satisfaction. 

The results show there was a clear difference in how spending affected wellbeing if it was driven by intrinsic goals.

Intrinsic goals are about improving yourself and they come from your passions and values. They could include improving your health, learning new skills for personal growth, or building meaningful relationships. As a result, people usually have strong internal motivation to pursue intrinsic goals, and the rewards when you reach them can be much stronger. 

In contrast, extrinsic goals are motivated by external influence, for example, to improve your social status. So, if someone splashed out on the latest car to keep up with the Joneses, it would be an extrinsic goal. 

The research found that money can buy happiness if it’s used to pursue intrinsic goals. 

So, next time you’re spending, you may want to consider how it will contribute to your overall wellbeing. 

3 ways to spend intentionally and improve your wellbeing

When you think about getting the most out of your money, a bargain deal or finding the best interest rate may come to mind. Yet, the research suggests looking at it from a different perspective – how could the money be used to improve my happiness? – may be valuable. 

Here are three ways to spend intentionally. 

1. Set goals that are personal to you

The research suggests goals are a crucial part of getting the most out of your money in terms of wellbeing. So, take some time to really think about what you want to achieve in your life. Focus on what you value most now and what you’d like to improve. 

For instance, you may want to complete a qualification to improve your job prospects, spend more quality time with grandchildren, or visit some bucket list destinations. 

Consider questions like: 

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What projects are important to you?
  • What goals do you need to reach to secure the lifestyle you want?
  • Who do you enjoy spending time with?

Defined intrinsic goals can give your decisions and spending a clear direction. 

2. Pause before you make a purchase 

Next time you’re buying something that isn’t essential, ask yourself: why do I want to buy this? Will the purchase support your goals, or will it make you happier in the long run?

Delaying purchases, especially for big-ticket items, can curb impulsive spending based on extrinsic goals. It means you have time to reassess whether the spending is a good decision for you. In some cases, a small delay will mean you realise there are better uses for your money. And when you do decide that it’s a positive purchase, you can feel more confident that it’ll support wider aspirations. 

3. Be aware of extrinsic influences 

Everyone is affected by extrinsic goals at times. Perhaps you want to update your phone or TV after friends have done the same thing. Or you may be eager to see a new show at the theatre after a colleague said it was a must-see, even if it’s not something you’d usually be interested in.

Being influenced by outside factors is normal, and it’s not always a bad thing – maybe you’ll really enjoy that show your colleague recommended.

However, being aware of when you’re spending to meet extrinsic goals can help you get the most out of your money. It can be an opportunity to step back and consider what’s driving your decisions.  

A child watering plants outside their home.

It’s often said that buying property is one of the most stressful experiences. Delayed timescales and uncertainty about when you’ll get the keys play a role in this. Research shows the process has gotten slower since 2008. Read on to find out what you can do to speed it up. 

With so many people involved and different steps to take when you’re buying or selling a home, delays may be understandable, but they’re still frustrating. In some cases, a longer process could cost you money or even mean the sale falls through. 

The average property transaction takes 133 days to complete 

According to a report in FTAdviser, in England, it takes 133 days to complete a property transaction on average – that’s 80% longer than it was in 2007.

Some leading property organisations have written to housing secretary Michael Gove to call on the government to support improving the speed and efficiency of the process. The coalition of businesses says the current system causes needless stress and has a knock-on effect on the wider economy. 

The letter argues lengthy delays mean people hold back on large-scale spending projects, like renovating or furnishing their new home. It also leads to more property transactions falling through, particularly at a time when interest rates are rising and mortgage terms may change if an initial deal expires. 

The businesses want government support to create a “more efficient and better-connected market, where everyone benefits from shared data and insights”. 

5 practical things you can do to speed up property transactions 

While you won’t be able to avoid all delays, as many factors will be outside of your control, there are some practical steps you can take to make the transaction process smoother. 

1. Apply for a mortgage in principle 

A mortgage in principle isn’t a guarantee, but it can give you a better idea about how much you can borrow through a mortgage. It can make searching the market for a property you could realistically buy easier. 

If you’re selling a property, you can request potential buyers have a mortgage in principle in place before they put in an offer. While this could lead to fewer offers, it can also minimise the risk of the sale falling through because the buyer is unable to obtain the mortgage they need. 

2. Instruct professionals as soon as possible

When buying a property, you’ll often use the services of several professionals, including a mortgage broker, property surveyor, and conveyancing solicitor. 

It can take some time to find the right person for you. So, it may be a good idea to ask for recommendations from family or friends, and research businesses online when you’re first thinking about buying or selling property.

Once a transaction is in progress, instruct professionals to work on your behalf as soon as possible. They can then gather all your details so they can move forward quickly.

3. Get your paperwork ready

Buying or selling property involves a lot of paperwork. Getting your documents in order before they’re needed can make the process far smoother.

If you’ll be applying for a mortgage, you’ll usually need ID documents, three months of bank statements, and proof of your income. 

When you’re selling a property, there are even more documents that you’ll need or are useful to have on hand. For instance, you must order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you can market your property. Buyers may also request other documents detailing work completed on your home and guarantees. 

You may also ask a professional to look over your paperwork to ensure there aren’t any mistakes or missing information that could lead to delays. For example, you could ask a mortgage broker to review the supporting documents you’ll send as part of your mortgage application. 

4. Complete tasks when prompted quickly

During the process, you’ll be asked to complete tasks. This could be to read and sign the contract, or to send additional paperwork. Try to complete these as quickly as possible so you’re not slowing down the progress. 

Don’t be afraid to get in touch if you’re not sure about something – trying to decipher legal jargon or misreading requests could lead to delays. After you’ve completed tasks, it’s worth calling the professional you’ve appointed to ensure they have everything they need.

5. Be aware of potential issues 

If there could be issues when you’re buying or selling a property, being aware of them as soon as possible is valuable. 

For example, if you have a poor credit score and are worried about securing a mortgage, looking at your options before you put in an offer can be useful. A mortgage broker can offer advice about suitable lenders so you can search for your next home with more confidence. 

Or if the property you’re selling is affected by works planned by the local authority, being upfront about these could mean potential buyers are less likely to pull out once you’ve accepted an offer. 

Contact us to talk about your mortgage needs

If you’ll be taking out a mortgage to buy a property, finding the right deal for you could save you money. We can also help you search the market for a lender that’s more likely to approve your application and check your paperwork, so you minimise the risk of delays during this part of the process. 

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 woman using contactless payment.

You may have heard about digital currencies in the news. And now, the Bank of England (BoE) is exploring the possibility of introducing a digital pound. Read on to find out what it means and why a digital currency could come to the UK.

How we use money has changed enormously over the last few decades. 

It wasn’t too long ago that most transactions involved cash. Now, using your card, paying for goods online, or tapping your phone at a checkout are common. 

According to UK Finance, 57% of all payments in the UK were made using cards in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic, when many businesses encouraged contactless payments, and an increased limit of £100 mean use of contactless has soared. In 2015, just 3% of payments were contactless, but by 2021 this had increased to 32%. 

In contrast, cash was used in just 15% of all payments in 2021 after an annual decline of 17%. 

So, what’s next for money in the UK? By the end of the decade, you could be using a digital pound to pay for goods and services. 

What does the digital pound mean?

The digital pound has been referred to as “digital sterling” or “Britcoin” in the press. It would be a type of central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the BoE.

While it’d be a new type of money, it would be linked to sterling and its value would be stable. 10 digital pounds would have the same value as a £10 note. 

CBDCs are often confused with cryptocurrency, but they are not the same. A cryptocurrency is issued privately and the value is often volatile. In comparison, the digital pound would be issued by the BoE and backed by the government, so the value would be far more stable. 

The currency would be held in a digital pound wallet, which you could use to pay for services by tapping your smartphone, like you do with contactless payments, or entering details online. You would also be able to transfer money to another person, a business, or between your own accounts. 

The BoE added it recognises how important cash is to many people – the digital pound wouldn’t replace the coins and notes in your wallet. 

The Bank of England says the digital pound is needed to fulfil its mission

Answering why a digital pound is needed, the BoE says: “There are new forms of money on the horizon. Some of these could pose risks to the UK’s financial stability.”

It adds: “The money we issue as the UK’s central bank is the anchor of confidence in our monetary system. This type of money supports the UK’s monetary and financial stability. Today, banknotes are the only type of money we provide for the public to use. Having a digital pound could help us to keep providing this anchor for the UK.”

As more payments become digital, the digital pound could also help keep “uniformity”. This is where you can exchange one type of money for another. For instance, you can withdraw money from your bank account as cash at an ATM. 

The digital pound could be in use by the end of the decade 

The introduction of the digital pound is still at least several years away, but it could be in use by the end of the decade. The BoE is currently reviewing the technology and policy requirements for its introduction. 

Other countries are further along in the process of introducing a CBDC. 

In October 2020, the Bahamas launched the first nationwide CBDC, known as the “Sand Dollar”. So far, four CBDCs have been launched in 11 countries. Sweden is also in the testing phase of launching its “e-krona”, and China is expected to start using the “digital yuan” later this year.  

From a consumer perspective, the digital pound would mean you have more choice and transactions may be faster, if not immediate. 

A House of Commons report suggests the technology may also open up a range of innovations that could benefit consumers and businesses, including: 

  • “Programmable money” that enables transactions to occur according to certain conditions, rules or events
  • Automatic payment of taxes at the point of sale
  • Allowing the government to make direct transfers to individuals
  • Automatic payment of dividends directly to shareholders
  • Electricity meters paying suppliers directly, based on power usage
  • Making “micropayments” at much lower costs, allowing further innovations, such as paying a few pence rather than a subscription to read an online newspaper article. 

Of course, there are challenges too. The report noted the possible risk of cyberattacks and breaches in data privacy, as electronic payment systems are less anonymous. It also stated concerns that unreliable internet connectivity might affect accessibility.

While some way off, the digital pound could revolutionise how we use money in the coming years. 

Please note:

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

A father and son playing together.

When you first seek financial advice, your goal may be to grow your wealth or make the most of tax-efficient allowances. A financial planner can provide support in these areas, but the benefits could have a much larger effect on your life and wellbeing. 

A survey conducted by Hymans Robertson asked people with more than £300,000 of investable assets about the benefits of professional financial advice. And some of the results may surprise you. 

While the report found many people seek financial advice to grow their wealth – 50% said they wanted expertise about the most appropriate investment vehicle – there are plenty of other benefits too.

Here are just five of the ways working with a financial planner could boost your wellbeing. 

1. Improve your peace of mind

You shouldn’t underestimate the value of feeling confident about your finances and future – it can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing.

In the survey, 54% of people said one of the reasons they use a financial planner is the peace of mind it delivers. Furthermore, 44% said they liked having regular reviews to ensure they were on track. 

Not worrying about whether you’re saving enough for retirement or if you have enough in your emergency fund can be a weight off your shoulders. This could allow you to better focus on enjoying life.

2. Reduce the time you spend managing finances 

While you might feel confident managing your finances, do you want to spend your time researching different investment opportunities or keeping up to date with changing government legislation? 17% of survey respondents simply said they don’t have enough time to manage their finances. 

Your time is precious, and working with a financial planner could mean you can spend time on the things that are most important to you.

A financial planner can add value to your life by giving you more time. 

3. Access the information you need to make decisions 

One of the challenges of managing your finances is knowing where to access the information you need to make decisions that are right for you. In fact, 28% of people said a lack of information was a disadvantage to a DIY approach. 

A financial planner can present the information you need to better understand your finances and options. Armed with the right information, you’re more likely to make decisions that suit your needs and long-term goals. 

A financial planner could also point you in the right direction of reliable information if you do want to carry out your own research. 

4. Help you cut through financial jargon

Even when you find trustworthy information, understanding it is a different matter. Financial communications are often filled with jargon and acronyms that are difficult to decipher. 

The survey found 25% of people want financial communications to contain less jargon. A financial planner can help you cut through the jargon, so you clearly understand what communications are saying and how they’re relevant to you. It’s a process that could boost your confidence and mean dealing with your finances is less stressful.  

5. Help avoid short-term thinking 

To create an effective financial plan, you need to think long term and reflect this in the decisions you make. But that can be easier said than done at times.

Take investing, for example. When the market is experiencing volatility or the value of your investments falls, it’s common for investors to consider changing their strategy. However, when you look at long-term trends, sticking to your strategy to ride out the ups and downs often makes financial sense.

Having someone you can speak to about your concerns before you act can reduce bias and knee-jerk decisions that might affect your long-term plans. Working with a financial planner could help you assess your options carefully and decide what is right for you.  

Contact us to talk about how financial planning could benefit you

We can work with you to create a tailored financial plan that suits your lifestyle and goals. We aim to give you confidence in the future so you can get the most out of life and focus on what’s important to you. 

Contact us to arrange a meeting to discover how a financial plan could benefit you. 

Please note:

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

A man reading a book

When you think about investing, it’s probably the actions you take that come to mind. That could be researching a fund or actively investing in a company by purchasing shares. However, the steps you don’t take are just as important for your portfolio to be successful.

That may sound strange, but not acting on impulses or short-term market movement is a crucial part of investing. And it can be more difficult than you think. 

Reacting to market movements could harm your long-term returns 

Investing should be logical. Yet, emotions and bias play a huge role in how investors feel and act towards their portfolios.

Think about when you read a headline that states the economy is on track for recession, or markets are plummeting. It’s natural to worry about what that means for your investments, and it can lead you to feel that you need to respond in some way by making changes to your portfolio.

Yet, long-term trends show that creating an investment portfolio that suits your long-term goals and then sticking with it often makes sense for the average investor. So, recognising when not to act is essential when you’re investing for long-term growth. 

Research from Schroders demonstrates how emotional investing could harm outcomes.

If you invested £1,000 in the FTSE 250 at the start of 1986 for 35 years, you’d have received returns of 11.4% a year on average. 

However, if you responded to news or other information and disinvested, returns could be lower. Investors that missed out on just the 10 best days of the FTSE 250 during that period would have annual returns of 9.5%. Miss out on the best 30 days over the 35 years and returns fall to 7%. 

During those 35 years, there were periods of volatility. Investors that held their nerve and didn’t act may have benefited in the long run. 

That’s why when it comes to investing, deciding not to act can be a positive action in itself. 

4 useful ways you can curb impulsive actions when investing 

1. Take your time when making a decision 

One of the simplest ways to prevent action that could harm your long-term wealth is to take your time.

Sensationalist headlines can make it seem like you need to be quick to get the most out of investments. However, making snap decisions is more likely to lead to outcomes that aren’t right for you because you haven’t had time to think through the consequences.

Don’t feel pressured to make speedy decisions when it comes to investing – give yourself the time to weigh up the pros and cons. 

2. Focus on the long-term results 

Everyone would love to choose an investment that delivers an immediate return, but you need to take a long-term approach to investing.

Historically, markets have delivered real terms growth over long time frames. So, next time you read about markets falling or experiencing volatility, remember to focus on the bigger picture. The value of your investments could fall in the short term, yet history suggests if you hold tight, markets bounce back.

Of course, investment returns cannot be guaranteed and it’s important that your portfolio reflects your risk profile.

3. Try to ignore the noise

One of the reasons investors make impulsive decisions is that there’s often a lot of noise about what you should be doing. Whether you read the newspaper that informs you of an impending market crash or speak to a colleague about an investment opportunity you “must” get involved in, it can be difficult not to act. Try to tune out this noise. 

Having confidence in your long-term investment strategy can make it easier. If you know your portfolio reflects your aspirations and circumstances, dismissing calls to action is less challenging. 

4. Speak to us

As financial planners, we can help you manage your investment and wider financial plan.

We’ll take the time to understand what you want to achieve, so your investment portfolio and strategy are built with this in mind. The peace of mind that comes from working with a professional could mean you feel more comfortable taking an inactive approach to investing for the long term. 

If you’re worried you should be doing something, we’re also here to answer questions and offer guidance. Simply having someone that has your best interest in mind to talk to could prevent hasty decisions that you may regret later. 

Please contact us to arrange a meeting. 

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.

Older couple cycling past a field.

Retiring early is an aspiration for many workers looking forward to greater freedom. If early retirement is something you’re dreaming about, a survey suggests financial planning could help you turn it into a reality and enjoy the next chapter of your life more. 

A Standard Life study found, on average, people receiving financial advice plan to retire at 66 – three years earlier than those that aren’t seeking professional guidance. 

As you’ll often be responsible for creating a sustainable income in retirement, it’s essential you understand how long your savings will last – you don’t want to risk running out of money in your later years. If you want to retire early, considering life expectancy is even more important.

According to the Office for National Statistics, a man aged 66 has an average life expectancy of 85 and has a 1 in 4 chance of celebrating his 92nd birthday. For a 66-year-old woman, the average life expectancy is 87, with a 1 in 4 chance of reaching 94. 

So, if you’re planning an early retirement, you need to consider how your pension could provide an income over several decades. 

The Standard Life survey also suggests that those working with a financial planner are more confident about their finances in retirement. Advised workers believe their pension and other assets can fund their lifestyle for 23 years. Among those not taking advice, this falls to 17 years.

Creating a tailored financial plan could mean you retire early with greater certainty about the lifestyle your pension will deliver. 

A financial plan could boost your wellbeing in retirement too

While a financial plan can help get your pension and other assets in order, the survey also revealed it could improve your overall wellbeing.

A huge 96% of people who said they did a “great deal” of financial planning before retiring say they are enjoying the next chapter of their life. In comparison, 72% of people who didn’t do any financial planning said the same. 

Engaging with your finances and thinking about what you want your lifestyle to look like in retirement before the milestone could help you get more out of life. 

Non-advised retirees are also more likely to have regrets. 23% of people that didn’t work with a financial planner say they need more money. The same proportion says they wished they’d planned more thoroughly. 

3 amazing reasons why financial planning could help you retire early 

1. It can help you create a long-term plan

Often, you’ll be saving for retirement over decades. The long time frame can make it difficult to understand if you’re doing enough to retire when you want.

As well as calculating if you’re contributing enough to your pension, you may need to consider how investment returns will affect its value, or how you could use other assets to create an income. A financial plan can pull together all these different aspects, so they support your aspiration of early retirement. 

With the steps you need to take to be financially secure in retirement clearly set out, you’re more likely to remain on track. 

2. It can highlight ways to get the most out of your money

The funds you need to build to create a sustainable income for retirement can be daunting, especially if you hope to retire sooner than average. 

One of the ways a financial plan can add value is by highlighting how to get the most out of your money. For example, if you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer are you claiming all the available tax relief from your pension contributions? Or is your investment portfolio aligned with your goals and risk profile?

3. It can give you the confidence to take the next step

Retiring early successfully isn’t just about ensuring you have your finances in order – you need to prepare mentally too.

It can be more difficult than you expect to give up work. Perhaps you’re worried about whether you’ll have enough income? Or you might delay plans because you’re nervous about what the next chapter of your life will look like?

A retirement plan that’s been tailored to you can give you the confidence to take the plunge and retire when you’re ready. As you’ll already have considered areas like how you’ll spend your time and how long your savings need to last, you can retire with confidence.  

Contact us to talk about your retirement plans

Whether you want to understand if you have enough to retire early or how long your pension will last, please contact us. We’re here to help you get to grips with your retirement savings and have the confidence to look forward to the milestone. 

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.