Brecon’s Trek and Row

Saturday and Sunday, 22nd – 23rd October, 2016

Seven members of Brunel Capital Partners are walking and canoeing a 38km circle of the Brecon Beacons

We are fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society.

When we sat down as a team to decide on a cause we would like to raise money for it was clear that many of our lives had been touched by dementia and Alzheimers. We have witnessed this disease slowly erase the personalities of those we love and the effect this has on those around them. It is therefore a cause close to our hearts and we want to do our small part to help a society that provides support to those affected by dementia and to help support research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

If you feel able to support us, please do at Just Giving/Team Brunel Capital Partners

Finding your number, it may change how you retire

By Tim Ewins, Technical Analyst, Brunel Capital Partners

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.

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’re on the way to knowing 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.

Since the introduction of pension freedoms your number has never been more relevant. Pension freedom puts the rest of your life in your hands. You have the freedom to take all of your pension funds at once (albeit taxed), but you also have the freedom to potentially run out of money. Pension freedoms could as easily have been called pension responsibilities.

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?

I’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’. After delving deeper I’ve found that this is never really 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 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 receive a windfall, an unexpected bonus. One unfortunate scenario that keeps emerging these days is the increasing need for long term care, the cost of which is often grossly underestimated. 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.

When you think you might have an idea of what your number is:

  • You plan for it
  • Then you update it
  • 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.

Knowing your number can be especially beneficial to business owners

It answers a whole range of ugly questions: at what point should you sell your business, when should you still be growing your business, and for what true purpose? It’s not just a case of what is your business worth, it’s a case of how much do you need it to be worth. If you know your number, these questions, and many others, answer themselves.

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…

Knowing your number may well change your life.

Please talk to us if you want to find out more.

Tim Ewins, 0117 214 0870,

Will you Cruise into long term care

Or check into ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ in India?

By Dan Hiles, Chartered Financial Planner, Brunel Capital Partners

Once you have reached the point you can no longer enjoy an active lifestyle how will you enjoy peace of mind and comfort in later life?

I was sent an interesting article recently which suggested that a world cruise could be a viable alternative to entering a care home.

Whilst the point was slightly tongue in cheek it did raise a pertinent point about the affordability of long term care. This, in turn, made me wonder how much people consider long term care in their wider plans.

The average nursing home in the South West cost £851 per week in 2014/15 which is over £44,000 a year according to a LaingBuisson survey of care homes. Just for residential care the cost is still over £30,000 a year. A three plus month cruise could cost £675 a week which starts to look quite the bargain in comparison. It should also be pointed out that this is an average.

How do you feel about living in an average care home for your final years?

The more comfort you want to live in the more it will cost and over £1,750 a week is increasingly a reality.

The average person, self-funding their care, will spend nearly four years in a care home. That again puts the ‘average’ cost at £176,000. Not an insubstantial sum to still have in your bucket in later life. BUPA even has a resident who has been in one of their homes for 24 years. I daren’t get the calculator out for the cost of that!

Isn’t there supposed to be a cap on care costs of £72,000?

Unfortunately, as is often the case, the headlines mask the reality. As well as delaying implementation to 2020, the amount the government count towards this cap is just £251 a week regardless of what you actually pay. It would therefore take over five years (287 weeks) to reach the cap. By that point the average nursing home resident in the South West would actually have spent £244,000. And afterwards you are still liable to ‘hotel costs’ which could be in excess of £20,000 a year.

How likely is it you will actually need care?

Government studies suggest 70% of people reaching 65 will require some level of care in their lifetimes. Clearly this will come at different levels and most will not need to leave their own homes. Industry projections suggest that those requiring residential care will be closer to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men albeit an ageing population is only likely to send the numbers in one direction.

Is everything lost?

Should you stop spending and enjoying your life and start saving every penny again? Fortunately, there are a range of ways to mitigate the potential cost of long term care but it does involve careful consideration and planning.

Whilst this may not be an immediate concern for you, we are finding that an increasing number of clients have parents reaching the position where long term care is an issue.

If this sounds familiar or you feel may become an issue in the future, please give us a call to talk things over.

Dan Hiles, 0117 214 0870,

Quantity and quality – Brunel Capital Partners successfully renew industry accreditations.

We’re pleased to say we’ve not been resting on our laurels here at Brunel! We recently had our British Standard Audit and have just heard that we have passed again, meaning we can carry our BS8577 accreditation on for another year. This Standard evaluates the ‘framework for the provision of financial advice and planning services’ and is one we place great value on as it reflects our commitment to quality and continuous improvement.       Read more …

The context behind last month’s ‘God bless the Brits’ article…

Last month our Client’s Corner feature was an article entitled ‘God bless the Brits’ and expressed some pretty strong views in favour of the Brexit result.

It certainly produced some strong reactions from some of you and so we’d just like to explain the background behind it. We included the piece, which was written by Nick Murray, as an alternative view from across the pond. Nick is based in Southold, NY, in the States and is in his 50th year in the profession of financial advice. He is a well-known speaker within the industry and is the author of eleven books for financial services professionals. Read more …

The Telegraph’s ‘perfect’ financial plans won’t work. Here’s why.

Earlier this year, the Telegraph published a short series of two articles entitled, ‘In your 40s with ‘peaking’ earnings? Here’s your perfect financial plan’ and, ‘In your late 50s or early 60s? Here’s your perfect financial plan’.

Like a lot of ‘financial planning’ published in the mainstream press, there are some good pointers, tips and highlighting of common issues. ‘Recalibrating your budget so that you can save,’ for example, is a strong recommendation for most people at most stages of life. As a nation, we still typically don’t save enough, especially if we do not have a financial plan in place, so spending a little less and putting a little more away can help individuals to move towards a better retirement. Read more …

Summer Saving lessons for the kids

With the Summer holidays approaching, it’s time once again for the parents among us to put our thinking caps on and attempt to come up with six weeks’ worth of fun and activity!

We’ve long talked about how schools should include a level of personal finance education within their curriculums but, until that happens formally, it’s down to Mum and Dad to provide some guidance around money matters for the younger generation. Read more …

Help To Buy vs Lifetime: Which ISA is best?

Set to be introduced in April 2017, the Lifetime ISA essentially offers an alternative to the Help To Buy ISA. With two competing options on the table, it’s important to know which is best for you and your needs, as whilst they have some similarities, there are also key differences between the two. Read more …

What’s on in Bristol this summer?

As fellow Bristol residents will probably already know, we’re lucky to live in and around an active city, full of events, things to do and places to see. Summer 2016 promises to be no exception, with Bristol offering some fantastic ways to get out and about and enjoy all that the city has to offer. A quick search on the Visit Bristol website reveals 456 events scheduled before the end of August, so what are some of the highlights we should all be taking note of over the coming months?  Read more …

May Market Comment

As the days have been lengthening, so markets have developed a rather different feel to that which had been established as spring blossomed, following a difficult start to the year. Shares in the UK touched an eight week low recently, with investors spooked by worsening economic data in the US (jobs growth there was way below expectations), growing evidence of the slowdown in China and seemingly rising expectations of Britain voting to leave the European Union.

Market comment 12th May

Brunel Capital Partners is a sister company of Pilgrim Financial Planning