Couple with family considering inheritance and estate planning

Don’t leave it too late

Inheritance is an emotive subject and is likely to come into focus over the next 12-18 months as the Chancellor looks to raise money for the Treasury.

The coronavirus pandemic has cost the government billions. The Office for Budget Responsibility says it could be as much as £298 billion! Such reports are focusing some people’s attention to think strategically about how they will pass their wealth to the next generation, especially if tax relief is in the Chancellor’s sights.

There has been a rise in people gifting assets to family members, a report in the Financial Times claims. It says due to the pandemic, people are not hanging onto savings and investments in case tax relief is cut.

Make a plan

It is a shame that some people are only thinking about their inheritance and financial future in light of a major event. Our advice to clients is that they should enjoy passing on their wealth while they’re able to witness its impact.

Similarly, you don’t want to give away assets without ensuring you have enough to live your own desired lifestyle. A perfect financial plan would mean leaving £5 in your bank account on the day you die, having spent it yourself enjoying life, or seeing the good it can do for others.

That isn’t as heartless as it sounds! You see, without correct inheritance and estate planning, you may hand your loved ones a large tax bill that eats into the wealth you created. And who wants that?

Don’t wait

Waiting for the Chancellor to make a decision on his future may affect yours, so don’t wait. If inheritance tax changes, especially the ‘seven-year rule’ that allows sums to be given away tax free is reduced or removed, then you may regret waiting.

Your financial plan is as distinct as a fingerprint, and we treat your circumstances individually. It’s why we don’t have a catch-all line about advice on family trusts, investments or pensions. It depends on your own personal financial circumstances and what you want to happen.

Inheritance and estate planning advice

If you want more information about financial planning, contact us today on 0191 2286130 or email enquiries@co-navigate.co.uk. We can speak to you about your financial goals over the phone or via an online ‘face-to-face’ meeting if you prefer.

Woman happy thanks to having financial well-being

Life in the past few months has been a real struggle, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies claiming that the Covid-19 pandemic will affect people’s mental health.

Struggles in the wake of lockdown and isolation is likely to have a long-term effect, which will need addressing.

One area that has hit people hard is their financial well-being, due to worries about current and future employment and any debt they have. Thousands of job losses are announced daily across many sectors. And it is likely that more will follow in the future, sadly.

While the coronavirus pandemic was unexpected, those without a financial plan will be hardest hit, no matter what sector they work in. That doesn’t just mean those with lower salaries, as even seemingly affluent people admit worrying about money – especially if they have no plan in place.

At Co-Navigate, our role is to provide clients with a realistic financial plan to help them achieve their goals. After our first meeting, we use software that includes ‘what-if’ scenarios so we can plan for the worst. As a result, if or when, the worst happens, they have peace of mind. They know there is a plan in place, even if it is plan B or plan C.

Money and happiness

Money doesn’t buy happiness, the saying goes, but a number of studies show that’s not necessarily the case. Researchers from Purdue University revealed that there is an optimal point to how much money makes us happy.

Andrew T. Jebb, the lead author and doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences, says, “It’s been debated at what point does money no longer change your level of well-being. We found that the ideal income point is $95,000 (£77,000) for life evaluation and $60,000 (£47,000) to $75,000 (£60,000) for emotional well-being.”

Having a healthy income not only gives us a chance to buy the things we need, it offers a chance to enjoy luxuries, such as new cars and holidays. It also means we can save and invest to increase our wealth, which provides security.

It is in times such as those we are living in that financial security trumps our desire to buy the latest technology! A newly released smartphone can wait as our understanding of money changes during recessions and downturns.

Increase financial well-being

Last year, leaders within the finance profession launched The Financial Wellbeing Conference. Set up to help financial planners, its aim was to show that someone’s well-being is just as important as wealth. During the conference, financial well-being was broken into five elements:

  • A clear path to achieve objectives
  • Control of daily finances
  • The ability to cope with financial shock
  • Financial options in life
  • Security for those we leave behind

What it means to us

The five elements mentioned are among those that form the bedrock at Co-Navigate. We love to hear about our clients’ goals, but nothing makes us happier than watching them achieve those objectives and take control of finances.

When it was discussed at the first conference 12 months ago, no-one would have guessed just how important the ability to cope with a financial shock would become.

So, how is your financial well-being? If you want to improve it and take control, then contact us today and talk to one of our team.

First-time buyer couple in their new home

If you are a first-time buyer, you may hear all kinds of ‘facts’ about buying your first home and obtaining a mortgage. But many of these facts are simply not true!

Getting your foot on to the property ladder is difficult enough without having to work out the financial and legal aspects for yourself. So, to help first-time buyers sort fact from fiction, we have chosen to discuss 5 of the biggest myths around mortgages and house buying.

First-time buyer myths

Myth 1: You need a big deposit

It is true to say that if you have a larger deposit you may have a wider choice of mortgages at potentially more favourable rates. It doesn’t mean you always need a big deposit, however. The coronavirus slowdown has led to some providers withdrawing mortgages that require a 5 or 10% deposit; these are known as 95% and 90% loan to value (LTV) mortgages.

Others, however, have retained their 90% LTV mortgages. This is where using an independent mortgage broker, such as Co-Navigate, is ideal because we access mortgages that individual house buyers and banks often can’t. If you have a lower deposit and can’t find a mortgage, speak to one of our experienced team members.

Myth 2: I must use the estate agent’s mortgage adviser

Estate agents and house builders often refer you to a mortgage adviser within their office. Some will tell you that it is compulsory to use their in-house adviser – that is simply not true!

You are free to use any mortgage adviser, bank or building society of your choosing. If you find your ideal house, tell the estate agent or house builder you are using your own adviser. 

The same goes for conveyancers or solicitors. You can use your own and do not have to instruct those used by the estate agent or house builder.

Myth 3: I can only get a mortgage through my bank

Banks and building societies provide mortgages – but they are not alone. Other financial institutions offer mortgages, although you often need an independent adviser to access the specialist providers.

Banks can only use their own mortgage products, whereas an independent adviser has access to many more. Even comparison websites cannot access all the products on the market. And independent brokers like us can often access better rates on mortgages than those tied to one provider.

Make sure you talk to an independent mortgage broker before you go house-hunting!

Myth 4: I do not need a mortgage until I find my dream home

If you wait until you find your dream home before considering your mortgage, it can end up as a nightmare. Unless you have checked what you can afford, your ideal house could be beyond your budget. 

Once you start considering buying your first home, it is advisable to speak to a mortgage broker or provider to find out how much you will be allowed to borrow and more importantly what is within your monthly budget.

Following the application process, if appropriate, we will ensure you receive an ‘agreement in principle’ (AIP). You often need to prove to the estate agent or house builder that you are in a position to buy and the AIP does just that. Please note that the AIP isn’t a mortgage offer. We can explain more about the AIP at a discovery meeting.

Myth 5: You only need a deposit and mortgage to buy a home

There’s more to buying a house than arranging a mortgage and having enough for a deposit. You need to remember that there are many costs included in buying a house.

Fees and expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Survey costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation costs
  • Solicitors fees
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Stamp duty (your individual circumstances dictate what this may be)

If you are looking for your first home, remember that you must budget for these additional fees. This is something that we like to help you prepare at our first meeting, so you know what you can truly afford.

When you are ready to start searching your first home, contact us so we can help you find the best mortgage deal for you and be there to make the process as easy and as stress free as possible.