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Dan Bullen from Newcastle Financial Adviser firm Co-Navigate

Name

Dan Bullen

What is your position at Co-Navigate?

Financial Planning Assistant

When did you start work at Co-Navigate?

July 2017

What was your experience before working here?

I moved to Co-Navigate straight after school after completing my A-levels at Berwick Academy and heard about the job. I started working with Lyndsey in the mortgage side of the business. 

What attracted you to Co-Navigate?

At the time it seemed like the right place. As I was living in Berwick and when you’re from there you can either go to Edinburgh or Newcastle for work as they’re about an hour away. I was looking for an apprenticeship and I met the directors and they seemed really nice.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to work with some very interesting people both as colleagues and as clients. You get to hear about all sorts of things: where they have been, what they want to do in the future and being part of that is a fantastic.

Favourite colour

Green

Favourite music

I tend to listen to radio. I usually listen to Radio 1, although I’m a fan of Coldplay.

Hobbies and interests

My big hobby is golf. I’m a 3 handicap and at the moment I play about 5 times a week. It’s pretty much what I do outside of work. I have won 3 times this year, since lockdown. I play in individual events and have been playing for a while. But I have only been playing competitively for just over a year. This summer I was going to start playing in team events and leagues, but because of lockdown that hasn’t happened yet. I’m also a big football fan and support Glasgow Celtic. I used to play but I don’t do that anymore.

If you would like to read about our other team check out our news page. Contact us today and you might even get to talk to Dan.

Couple plan finances for tough times

As the coronavirus lockdown continues, how are you managing with your finances in these tough times?

Many people are facing a few weeks, potentially months, where income may fall due to being furloughed or having their hours/wages cut.

At the same time, investments are reacting to stock market volatility while savings attract little interest.

With finances, the answer is always preparation. Having a plan in place that considers all kinds of scenarios is one of the foundations for financial planning at Co-Navigate, including tough times.

Even if the worst happens, by having something in place you won’t worry as much because you’ve already considered the situation and will have a plan.

Your task list

  • Finding savings in your budget
  • Making some cash if your hours are reduced
  • Protecting your credit score
  • Prioritising your bills if you can’t cover everything
  • Thinking through your next move if you lose your job

Look at your spending

Having a budget means you are aware of where your money is going so you can adjust it when needed.

During times of regular, uninterrupted employment it can be easy not to think about budgeting, but if you can work on your budget now, you’ll be better prepared for most eventualities.

If you’re unsure about what should be included in your budget check out an online planner like this one from the government’s Money Advice Service.

Once you’ve worked out where your cash is going you can spot spending that can be trimmed or removed. If you can save some money you can build up an emergency fund.

You don’t need a lot for an emergency fund, although we do advocate trying to save at least 3 months’ income to see you through the tough times.

Make some extra cash

This suggestion isn’t as crazy as it seems. Have you got a hobby you can make money out of? After all, this is how most successful businesses get started.

If you’ve got the materials and can make something that you can sell online, then that could bring in a bit of extra cash.

How about your current job? Can you turn your knowledge into an online course that will help others develop their skills?

Teachable allows you to set up everything you need for just over £30 a month. It could be a good investment if you can attract 5 people who pay £30 for your course. Not only will you cover the cost you will add a little bit extra to your income.

Protect your credit score

Be careful with credit cards during the lockdown. Retail therapy online might give you some pleasure but don’t allow it to cost you your future.

If you’re used to paying off your balance each month, don’t worry about having a little bit on your card. Make sure you don’t exceed your limit and if you need extra time to pay contact your card issuer as they may give you leeway during the Coronavirus.

You could switch your card to one offering 0% on balance transfers for a year or two, which would make your money go further. But beware think about credit checks and remember that having multiple credit checks can impact your credit score/rating.

Safeguarding your credit score is essential because having access to credit can help you navigate through unforeseen tough times.

Prioritise your bills

When you have a reduced cash flow unexpectedly, bills you’d normally pay without hassle may be more difficult to manage.

Look at your survival at first in these cases. You need to cover your food, home and utility costs first. After you meet those costs, you can then prioritise other bills.

Business owners are used to speaking to creditors to reassure if they hit a rough patch to extend terms. Try this in your personal finances too. If you deal with it head-on it’s better than receiving a letter and problems later.

Think through your next move

Industries that would normally get by in a normal recession could be hit badly through the coronavirus crisis. As a result, no profession is safe from job losses, sadly.

If you’re fearing for your job or business, don’t panic! If you have a game plan in place you won’t end up with brain fog should the worst happen.

For business owners there is lots of support around to try and help you through this difficult period. You can find more help here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

If you’re employed but on furlough, update your CV during lockdown and use online networking, such as LinkedIn, to catch up and create new connections. Who knows where it might lead?

Our ethos at Co-Navigate is try not to panic. Our financial plans build in worst-case scenarios so that you always have a back-up plan and financial security.

We would urge you to do the same! During lockdown spend the extra time at home to plan for the unexpected… then it won’t be quite as unexpected, and you’ll feel more in control.

If you’re still concerned during these tough times, why not get in touch?

Financial planning makes sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is every step we’ll take…

What happens at your first meeting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your financial plan

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

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

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

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

What happens next?

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us

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

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

Using software for financial planning