you are here: Home - Newsletter - September 2017 - Money Matters

"Advised clients 40,000 better off"

A recent survey by the International Longevity Centre found that those who received financial advice were, on average, 40,000 better off than those who didn’t.

There is a lot of detail in the survey but the conclusion was clear; people with Financial Advisers accumulated more money than those without - a message I have been promoting in these pages for many years, but this survey provides conclusive proof.

There are of course, all sorts of “Adviser”; some are “tied” to one company, some only offer a restricted service in one way shape or form and some are Independent.

This latter group, Independent Financial Advisers, (IFA’s) work for you and you alone; their job is to provide you with the “best advice” they can based on your personal aims and ambitions and can use the best funds and products from the whole market place to achieve them.

It’s no surprise then that people who seek advice do better than those who don’t, but I would add two points to the survey.

Firstly as all advisers (of all types) must charge fees for their advice you should compare what services you will receive at what cost before committing yourself to using an adviser.

Secondly, if you do seek advice please act on it. We had a client pass on recently; he was advised in 2016 to re-visit his will which was originally drawn up in 2007. In that will he left an Equity ISA account valued then at 43,000 to his children but he didn’t follow our advice.

Leaving money to children on the first death of a couple can be a problem as it can actually increase the Inheritance Tax liability on the second death. Will you still have the account when you die? What will it be worth? Basically you have no idea how much, if anything, you are leaving them. Moving any account to a better one during your lifetime means re-writing your will with all the associated costs etc.

In this case the ISA account had grown to almost 120,000 and passing this sum to the children has left his widow in financial difficulty, as without her husband’s full company and State pensions her income has fallen dramatically.

There is no point in having a dog and barking yourself. If your IFA suggests you do something there is normally a very good reason behind it.  Please listen to their advice; you might be 40,000 better off!
For advice and more details contact Georgina or Steve on 630873

Divorce - the crucial issues

More than 4 in 10 marriages in the UK end in divorce.  We encourage couples to communicate and seek counselling before they decide the marriage is over, but the sad fact is that sometimes nothing can save the relationship.  In this article, we outline some important considerations for those seeking a divorce:

Initially, you must decide on what basis you will divorce and who will start proceedings.  If you can agree, you will avoid a costly defended divorce. 

In this country, there is only one ground for a divorce; that the marriage has broken down beyond repair.  You can’t go to a divorce court saying that the marriage has broken down unless you are able to satisfy one of five facts; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation with consent or, if no consent, five years separation.  If you are divorcing on ‘unreasonable behaviour’ grounds, it would be wise to agree what will be cited in the divorce papers in order to preserve a good relationship with your partner. 

There are other crucial issues to work through:

-           Where will the children live and what time will they spend with the other person? 
-           Will ongoing maintenance payments be required?
-           Who will live in the home or does it need to be sold?  If so, how will the proceeds be divided?
-           Are there business interests, pensions or investments that need to be divided?

Ideally, a couple would reach agreement on these issues, but we live in the real world and we know that it is rare for them to resolve such matters themselves, even in an amicable divorce.  That doesn’t mean, however, that a collaborative approach won’t work.  Think about about how you might reach agreement, whether mediation might be suitable for you or whether you might want Birkett Long to negotiate on your behalf.  Accepting that you will have to reach a compromise is always a good starting point!

Divorce is a difficult journey but we promise to be on your side throughout.  We aim to achieve the best possible outcome in order that you can start to rebuild your life.  

Birkett Long has experts in divorce and separation law and members of Resolution, an organisation committed to the settlement of disputes in a constructive, fair and cost effective way.  For a free 15 minute phone consultation phone 01268 824938 or email