So how important is performance?

We have previously talked about the importance of having a sound financial plan in place – which will be unique to you and your life’s journey. What will also be exclusive to you are the underlying investments that help you achieve your plan. Without a plan you cannot determine what these investments will look like or how you need them to perform. These investments and their inherent performance will vary for each of our clients, what is right for some clients won’t be for others, that is why we say don’t look at performance in isolation.

You will always hear a lot of background noise in the press and the media regarding performance but like a lot of news this is a distraction from the important facts and can lead people in the wrong direction.

Chasing performance is a trap that many people fall into without knowing what they really need to achieve. It is important to take time at the outset to really understand your goals and how and if you can achieve them.

Focusing on performance doesn’t tell you if you’re on target to achieve your financial goals. It’s one of many indicators to help direct you, but without a good financial plan, you have no idea if you’re heading in the right direction. You might be happy with your portfolio’s current performance, but that doesn’t mean you are prepared to ride the wave when the markets fall.

You may often hear fund managers being hailed as heroes based on the performance they have achieved. While this maybe outstanding, it is with good reason that we always state past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. It may be an indicator but not one you can rely on.

Many people compare the performance of their investments with benchmarks such as the FTSE 100, however investments aligned with the FTSE 100 may not be appropriate for you. It may not have the right combination of shares, gilts and bonds that will help you to achieve your goals or that you are comfortable with. So, save yourself the worry and focus on what’s important for you and what you can control.

Another discipline a financial plan provides is taking a long term view and not making impulsive decisions based on what is going on around us. Several studies have shown that investors as a group tend to underperform because they chase performance. This can mean they will buy investments that have recently performed well and are therefore at a high price and sell those that have not performed well when their value maybe at rock bottom. Making knee jerk decisions can often contradict your long term goals, it is much more beneficial to stay with your lifetime plan.

Of course, we will always consider performance however the main focus must be on what is important to you. This will mean that you are more likely to reach your personal goals with less to worry along the way …………….and as a result enjoy life!

Rising Star

As a Group Brunel and Pilgrim are delighted to announce their continued sponsorship of Josh Bayliss a rising star at Bath Rugby. Josh was awarded Academy Player of the Year for 2017-2018 season, before signing his first senior contract and moving to the 1st team in June 2018. We wish both Josh and Bath a successful season as he continues to add to his first team appearances.

Tea Pots for WDAA

Arnold Wills was delighted to present West Mendip Hospital with 50 tea pots on behalf of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance (WDAA). The tea pots will be used to help those living with dementia to retain their independence as they prepare to return home at the end of their hospital stay.

Pilgrim Financial Planning became founding members of the WDAA after Arnold and Julie found shops in Wells showed Arnold’s mother such kindness and assistance as she struggled living alone and trying to cope with her dementia.
The year before Sybil went into residential care was a huge struggle. Julie and Arnold found it very difficult to find out what support networks existed and where practical help and advice could be found. They set out to ensure others would find help more easily and that there would be a greater understanding of dementia across the community in Wells.
The Pilgrim team attended an awareness session and became “Dementia Friends” and to date 1,250 people across businesses and organisations in Wells and the surrounding area have become Dementia Friends.

The WDAA comprises of representatives from local businesses, civic organisations, health and social care providers, schools, faith groups and rescue services and Wells has now become a Dementia Friendly City. The Alliance aims to raise awareness and remove barriers for those living with dementia and those that care for them so they are supported by the community as whole.

For more information on how to become a Dementia Friend visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

Hiking for Children’s Hospice South West

On July 7th, with temperatures well into the 20C’s staff from the Bristol office headed off to the Lake District National Park for their two day challenge to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West.

Saturday saw a 3½ hour climb up the rocky and steep slopes of Scafell Pike to the summit and 2 hours to come down again………knowing a cool drink was waiting at a local hostelry was a great motivator. While we were all exhausted and well baked by the sun it was a great feeling to have completed the toughest climb (978metres) of the two days.

Sunday morning, we started our ascent of Old Man of Coniston, and were thrilled to stumble across a fresh water lake two thirds of the way up, we just couldn’t resist a dip. We made it up and back down the ‘Old Man’ in 5 hours.
We were all really pleased to have completed the challenge for Children’s Hospice South West who do a fantastic job supporting children with life limiting conditions and their families and are looking forward to our next trek. We raised a total of £1,300 , smashing our target by £300, a big thank thank you to all those who contributed.

Healthy Financial Habits

We all know people who aren’t sure whether they need a financial planner, don’t need a financial planner, or don’t know what a financial planner is. Two years ago, I was discussing some ‘rules of thumb’ with a friend whose son had recently left university and, for the first time, had become financially independent. My friend passed the tips on to her son and recently told me that they’ve helped him to feel financially on track.

Passing on some common sense when it comes to personal finance can be seriously powerful and occasionally life changing. With that in mind, if you know anyone who needs help with their finances, here are a few basic tips you can pass on to them to offer a little help:

  1. Tell them to write down their income and expenditure (and tell them to be generous on expenditure, they don’t want to spend a lifetime struggling to stay within the lines). When they have this, they should review it and stick to it.
  2. It is good practice to write down financial goals (maybe they’d like to help with their children’s education or pay off large debts such as a mortgage? It’s also worth remembering that, if they haven’t already, one day they’ll want to stop working). This will help them to stay on track for a comfortable future.
  3. Should they get the urge to buy something big (I’m thinking 6 months in the Bahamas…), suggest that they give themselves a 72 hour ‘cooling off’ period before reviewing the purchase again, checking that it wouldn’t compromise their financial goals and then, if they’re still keen, have a cocktail for me!
  4. Keeping an ‘emergency cash fund’ will give them some level of security should something unexpected pop up. This could come in handy to provide them with extra time if they need to search for new employment, but more than this, it will provide them with valuable peace of mind.

These four habits require effort, practice and they are only the beginning of a true financial plan (let us not forget inflation!) but they can really build a solid foundation for a financially secure future and we all want that for the people we care about.

Finally (and this will probably be the most uncomfortable part of the conversation), tell them to plan for the worst, insure any loans that they take out (mortgages for example), find a couple of people they trust and set up Lasting Powers of Attorney and remind them that it’s only polite to your family and friends to speak to a solicitor and leave a Will.

I hope this does help someone in your life as much as it has helped those in mine, but at the very least, I hope it answers the question of whether your friends and family need a financial planner or not, or even just gives them an idea of what a financial planner is!

A Sporting Bunch

A Sporting Bunch

There have been a lot of sporting achievements and upcoming physical challenges within the team recently and we thought that it would be nice to share these in Navigator.

 After last years successful Brecon Beacon Challenge (in which the team raised over £1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society), next month half of us will be climbing up Scafell Pike to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West.

Our very own Steve Brady has been selected to represent England in the over 50’s Hockey team (and went on to win every game in their first tournament) and we have recently sponsored the exciting young Bath Rugby player Josh Bayliss.

 

Scafell Pike

On the 7th of July a team of 9 will be heading to the lakes in the very early hours of Saturday morning to climb and conquer Scafell Pike. After a long day of walking we will then nip up the Old Man of Coniston and back on the Sunday morning, before the long drive home. We are taking on this challenge to raise funds for the Children’s Hospice South West, an amazing local charity which we have had a close connection with over many years.

 

Many of us have visited the hospice at Charlton Farm in Wraxall and have seen first-hand the incredible work that they do. If you would like to sponsor us we would be very grateful for any donations, big or small – just click the link below to donate via our just giving page;

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brunel-capital-partners

We will be sure to let you know how we get on and thank you in advance for your support.

Further information about Children’s Hospice South West and their work can be found at the bottom of this article.

Steve’s Playing for England!

 

We’d like to congratulate Steve Brady, a director of the firm, on being selected to represent the England over 50’s Hockey team. This is a fantastic achievement for Steve who has now had the opportunity to represent England on the world stage. Steve has now played his first International Hockey tournament, representing England at the Home Nations competition in London. England managed to win every game without conceding a single goal.

I asked Steve if there was anything he’d like mentioned in this article and his response was ‘feel free to use words like heroic’.

A glass to Steve… Heroic!

 Sponsoring a Future Rugby Legend

We’re delighted to announce that we are sponsoring the exciting young Bath rugby player – Josh Bayliss.

A local lad, Josh is a former pupil at Millfield School in Glastonbury. He was a member of the England under 20’s squad that went on to achieve a Six Nations Grand Slam and a place in the 2017 World Rugby under 20’s Championship. He made his first team debut for Bath in 2016 and has been hailed one of the most exciting back row players in the country.

A little more about Children’s Hospice South West

 Children’s Hospice South West provide care for children with life-threatening conditions by providing hospice care and profession family support services. They are dedicated to making the most of short and previous lives through the provision of the best possible hospice care for children and your people with life-limiting conditions. The care offered is not just about medical and nursing support for sick children but is also about enriching the lives of the children and their whole family. They provide specialist palliative care, respite for the whole family, a sibling service for brothers and sisters, emergency support, end of life care and a bereavement service for as a long as it is needed.

Leading the Way to Professional Excellence

We’ve always been proud of the individuals at Brunel and Pilgrim and their academic achievements (whether that is achieving Chartered Status, Financial Planning and Paraplanning Diplomas or learning Spanish) but we’re now proud to announce that as a collective, we’re TWO of the few firms in the country to achieve Chartered Status. That’s both Brunel and Pilgrim.

In this section we look a little further at what this means, discuss our recent Cyberplus Accreditation (and how this safeguards you) and our Managing Director Damien talks about his new role on the Personal Finance Society’s Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel, as a leading expert to help improve the Financial Planning Industry.

Chartered Status

Chartered status is an exclusive title only awarded to firms which meet rigorous criteria relating to professionalism and capability. The award is granted by the Chartered Insurance Institute the professional body for insurance and financial planning. To achieve this status we were required to demonstrate a commitment to developing knowledge, enhancing capability and maintaining ethical standards. This provides all our clients with the reassurance that we are operate in an ethical manner, put our clients interest first and provide high quality advice based solely on our clients’ researched needs.

To date, fewer than 700 firms have achieved Chartered status which indicates that this is a highly coveted award reserved for the leading firms within the financial advice market.

We will be working hard to maintain these standards and providing a commitment to customer service and professionalism.

Cyberplus Accreditation

As a firm we have also recently achieved Cyber Essentials accreditation. Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations implement good levels of protection against cyber-attacks. In addition we have undertaken  further assessment with IASME to demonstrate that we have taken into account the requirements of the General Data protection regulation (GDPR).

The IASME Governance standard, based on international best practice, is risk-based and includes aspects such as physical security, staff awareness, and data backup. The IASME standard was recently recognised as the best cyber security standard for small companies by the UK Government.

IASME is one of just five companies appointed as Accreditation Bodies for assessing and certifying against the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. The Scheme focuses on the five most important technical security controls. These controls were identified by the government as those that, if they had been in place, would have stopped the majority of the successful cyber attacks over the last few years.

We take our client’s cyber security seriously and would urge you to look for this accreditation with other organisations you may deal with online!

Damien’s New Role on the Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel

As an organisation we are always looking for new challenges, especially in areas where we can make a difference. One of my new responsibilities, and something I’m hugely excited about, will be to sit on the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. I was delighted and honoured to be chosen as one of the inaugural members of this new panel of financial planners.

The timing couldn’t be better. There is a real buzz about the financial planning profession, and a quiet revolution of planning excellence is gathering pace.

The Vital Role of the Personal Finance Society

I’ll come on to the panel shortly but first a quick look at the PFS and why they’re so vital. They are the professional body for financial advisors in the UK and they exist to promote high standards across the financial advice community. In climates like this, where the public can be suspicious of financial institutions, we need bodies like the PFS to help strengthen confidence in our profession.

The PFS is well qualified to do it. They have a long and commendable history of championing professionalism, promoting technical knowledge and establishing high levels of client service and ethical practice.

The PFS has recently announced its new President will be Sharon Sutton. Sharon is Managing Director of Thornton Associates Ltd, Chartered Financial Planners, based on the Isle of Man, where she was the island’s first Chartered Financial Planner. Sharon’s biography on the PFS website says she “believes in educating people to take control of their lives through financial planning so they can seek to achieve their dreams and don’t run out of money”. I know Sharon personally, and I also know that we’re going to get on very well as that fits exactly with the philosophy of Brunel and Pilgrim.

My Role on the Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel

One of the ways the PFS will achieve this is through the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. The panel has been established to guide the PFS as it broadens its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to incorporate inspirational financial planning good practice. The first meeting took place earlier this month. As well as myself, the panel comprises another 11 members from the financial planning industry. Without wanting to sound immodest, Sharon Sutton commented that it brings together “a distinguished and passionate group of individuals who are willing to share what they have learned for the benefit of the wider profession.”

The PFS has established the panel to provide financial planning insight and guidance to the wider profession as part of a continued focus on consumer outcomes and business sustainability. This is great news for clients as it seeks to ensure they receive the best service from advisers who are themselves benefitting from guidance on best practice across the industry. We on the panel will meet regularly to develop guidelines and amass insight on good practice to distribute and make available for PFS members. We’ll also be seeking to arrange a series of specialist events and we’re working on a good practice guide resource for advisers.

A Foundation of Trust and Confidence

Helping people to take control of their finances, gain financial freedom and make their dreams a reality are the principles that Brunel and Pilgrim are built on. But before we can help people achieve this, we need to build a foundation of trust and confidence in the professionalism and ethical standards of financial planning. It’s a responsibility that falls to us all, as financial advisers, and extends right across our profession. As a member of the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel I’m hugely looking forward to taking on this responsibility in the new term ahead.

If you know someone that would like some guidance on their financial planning, please do drop me a line or call me on 0117 214 0870.

The Number

How much money do you need for the rest of your life? It’s a big question. More than that – it’s a big question that leads to hundreds, maybe thousands of other big questions.

So let me start again…

What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

You can’t answer the first question without the second, and you can’t achieve the second question without the first. Then there’s the third question – What will the rest of your life throw at you?

If you can answer these three questions accurately, you’ve got your number.

Your Number

Your number is the amount you need to live the way you want to live for the rest of your life, confident that you will never run out of money. Complete financial independence, or, if you prefer, freedom.

Most people don’t take the time to find out their Number and those who do find that it’s ever changing. You can work out your Number at, say, 30 and then find that it’s a completely different Number when you’ve reached 40. Your lifestyle will have changed, your aspirations may have changed, and then there’s the costs of living and potentially long term healthcare provisions to compete with! It’s not easy finding your Number but it’s certainly necessary.

Finding your Number

Remember those three tricky questions? Well let’s take a closer look at them.

What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

We’ve heard the same answer to this question over and over again: ‘After I’ve retired I want to maintain my current lifestyle without ever running out of money’. But after delving deeper we’ve found that this is never the case. Some people want to support a charity or pass money onto their children, some people want to pursue a passion with their new found time, and some folk just want to live a simpler and calmer life – these are the people who find that their number is smaller than they thought. The point is that the very nature of your lifestyle will change in retirement so to just ‘maintain your current lifestyle’ is never enough. Which brings us to our next question:

What will the rest of your life throw at you?

This question addresses those uncertainties that will change your future and that are beyond your control. Maybe one of your children will unexpectedly boomerang back into your home, or maybe, hopefully, you’ll win big on the horses. One unfortunate scenario that keeps popping up these days is the increasing need for long term care, the cost of which is often grossly underestimated (fingers crossed for those horses eh?) To be truly comfortable with your number you need to prepare for all of these uncertainties.

Finally, how much money do you need for the rest of your life?

Of course there isn’t a definite answer to this, but if you know what you want to do with the rest of your life it’s possible to make a rough estimation as to how much that might cost. Then, using the various possible answers for what the rest of your life might throw at you, it’s possible to create different scenarios to see how you would fair financially under each circumstance. Finally, you factor in your life expectancy, and let’s be generous here – no-one wants to fear living too long!

When you think you might have an idea of what your number is, you plan for it, and then you update it, and then you plan for it again. You keep on top of your number, and eventually, when you’ve got it, you use it.

Using your number

Finding your number involves a lot of hard to answer questions, but once you’ve found it you’ll have a great deal of answers too. You may already have savings, but now you’ll know what you’re saving for and this will help you to save effectively. You might want an early retirement but may not be sure how early your savings will manage, but if you know your number, you’ve got your date.

But it goes further than that – just thinking seriously about your number now might change how you retire later, maybe you’ve been spending too much and need to cut back slightly now to live the rest of your life exactly how you want to live it. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve already reached your number…

How much money do you need for the rest of your life? It is a big question that can lead to hundreds, maybe thousands of other big questions, but knowing your number may well change your life.

By Tim Ewins, Paraplanner, Brunel Capital Partners

In Case Of Emergency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know that everyone is different. We all want different things in our lifetime, we all have different desires and objectives and similarly, although we may not like to talk about it, we all have different wants for when we die as well.

But it is because of our differences that is important to talk about what we want to happen when we die. There can be a lot to sort out for whoever you leave behind. We have developed ‘In Case of Emergency’ (I.C.E) packs to help make talking about what you want easier, and to make the process for your loved ones as pain free as possible.

In these packs you can keep an up to date and simple record of anything anyone would need to know about your financial affairs after you pass away. This includes things like:

  • Who to inform when you die
  • Your inheritance tax position
  • Where your investments are currently held
  • Details of your wishes for your funeral (if you want a funeral that is)
  • Information about your home and insurances

There are also booklets included from Age UK, providing you with details of what the key duties on death are and what to expect if you are asked to be an executor.

Of course, we will be on hand to help your loved ones in any way possible in such an event, but these packs will help those that you love to understand what you want when you die and will help the process to run as efficiently as possible to give them the time they need to focus on what really matters.

By Naomi Davidson, Client Services Administrator

Hold for Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can ring us anytime and we will always be happy to chat. It took us by surprise then, when we recently received a phone call from one of our long-standing clients who, after being put through to their Planner, requested to be put back on hold.

Should we have been offended? What had we done wrong? No one likes to be put on hold, right?

As many of you will know, we joined forces with our sister company, Pilgrim Financial Planning in Wells 18 months ago, and we’ve discovered some incredible talent in and outside of the financial planning world. It is the talent of Hannah in particular (Pilgrim directors, Arnold and Julie Wills’ daughter) that has started the odd requests to be put on hold.

Since starting her singer career as a child at home around the piano with her father, Hannah has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall and Barcelona Cathedral along with numerous venues across China and Hong Kong.

So, as always, we’d be delighted if you’d like to ring us for a chat, but, strange as it may sound, if you ring and simply ask to be put on hold, that’s fine too!

By Tim Ewins, Paraplanner, Brunel Capital Partners

Brunel Capital Partners is a sister company of Pilgrim Financial Planning