Retirement, Pensions & Financial Advice in Tunbridge Wells

Our Services

We concentrate on the areas where our experience really does make a difference.

  • Our Retirement Planning and Pensions Advice Service will help you make informed decisions about how you should draw income from your pension plans and other investments.
  • Our Investment Advice Service includes advice on portfolio construction and tax planning. We will also help you to keep your investments on track.
  • Advice to Attorneys, Deputies and Trustees is mostly concerned with investments and enables you to demonstrate that you're acting in the best interests of the donor or beneficiary at all times.
  • Advice on Care Fees funding will be of particular interest to Attorneys and Deputies but is also relevant for retired clients looking to plan ahead and for those with elderly relatives who may need help in the near future.

And because we are a truly independent investment adviser in Kent and Tunbridge Wells, we always explore the full range of products and options available to you. Please take a closer look at how we can help.

Retirement Planning

Enquire about Retirement Planning

Retirement planning isn’t just about pensions.

Retirement planning isn’t just about pensions.

Our Approach To Retirement Income Options

Before deciding what action to take on your existing plans or committing additional monies to pension plans, you should consider how and when you might draw benefits from these arrangements.

Benefits may be drawn from pension plans at any time after age 55 and you don’t have to retire from work in order to draw benefits.  Drawing benefits will not prevent you from making further contributions into pension plans.

The two main methods of drawing benefits from accumulated pension funds are:

  • Annuity Purchase
  • Flexi-Access/Income Drawdown

Tax Free Cash

Normally up to 25% of the accumulated pension plan value can be taken as tax free cash.  Most policyholders take the maximum available because they would like access to the capital so that they can spend it, pass it on to their beneficiaries, or invest it to receive an alternative stream of income.

When converting a pension fund to an annuity the tax free cash is paid in one lump sum, however, using a type of income drawdown, this tax free money can be phased (paid-out gradually) as income over a number of months or even years.  This can help mitigate exposure to higher rates of income tax.

Annuity Purchase

An annuity is intended to provide certainty of income for the annuitant’s lifetime and is taxed as earned income.  

Open Market Option

Pension policies contain an important option that enables the accumulated pension funds to be transferred to a different insurance company.  This can prove advantageous as this enables you to buy an annuity from the insurance company offering the best terms.

Annuity rates are affected by a number of factors such as age & health of the annuitant(s), the type of annuity i.e. level or increasing payments, and the yield on long-term gilts (which is affected by interest rates generally).

If you decide to buy a conventional annuity it is always worth investigating if you might qualify for some enhancement due to health conditions. Even your postcode can affect the annuity rate!   

Flexi-Access Drawdown And UFPLS

These arrangements can provide a more flexible and tax-efficient income stream whilst improving death benefits and providing prospects for continued investment growth compared to annuity purchase. 

With flexi-access drawdown you have the facility to draw taxable income as and when required directly from the pension fund and combine this with the tax free cash (or take the maximum 25% up front).  You do not have to draw an income if it's not needed and there's no upper limit on the amount that may be drawn - but all withdrawals (in excess of the 25% tax free cash limit) are taxed as earned income.

This provides the flexibility to manage your flexi-access drawdown income with your personal lifestyle and income requirements.  You might decide to reduce your working week, say, to 3 days in preparation for full retirement and need to supplement your employed earnings with an income stream from your pension plan.  With the State pension now payable far later than most people had expected, using income drawdown to bridge the income gap offers a flexible option. 

An alternative to the above is to use Uncrystallised Funds Pension Lump Sum (UFPLS) where withdrawals will consist of 25% tax free cash and the balance as taxable income up to the full value of the fund.  This could mean that your whole pension fund is encashed over a relatively short period and with careful planning, avoiding unnecessary exposure to any higher rates of income tax.

You may purchase an annuity with the remaining pension fund at any time.  The open market option and usual range of annuities remain available where your objectives and circumstances change.

Death Benefits

Pension death benefit rules changed significantly in April 2015.

You can now nominate whoever you like to receive your pension fund on your death.  This could be your spouse, children or grandchildren (in any proportions). You could even nominate someone unrelated to you if you wish, such as a friend, or even a charity.

Beneficiaries of your pension will sometimes have the choice of taking the fund as a lump sum or leaving the fund invested and using it to provide an income.  But not all pensions are the same and some insurance companies have not aligned their pension products with the new flexible legislation.  This means that some pension plans will not automatically allow the beneficiary to take advantage of flexi-access drawdown, income drawdown or UFPLS.

The tax treatment of the death benefits in the hands of the beneficiary will depend on the age of the policyholder at their death.  This is a complex area of pensions that requires specialist knowledge in understanding what clients want to achieve for their families. 

It is possible to have unlimited successors, so a pension fund could be passed on for generations if it has not already been spent.

Pension Investment Strategy

We generally advise that a ‘pension’ investment strategy in the years leading up to retirement reflects the basis upon which benefits are likely to be drawn in retirement.

If you expect to purchase an annuity with some of your pension funds it's sensible to reduce the exposure to investment risk as you approach retirement, to provide some certainty as to the emerging level of benefits.

If it's more likely that you will draw benefits directly from the pension fund i.e. flexi-access drawdown then the pension fund will remain invested. The continuing arrangement would then require regular investment reviews.

It is vital that we understand your objectives and requirements before providing guidance on the options available (and suitable) for your circumstances.

Pension Legislation

The ever-changing complex pension and retirement planning legislation means that it can be relatively easy to fall foul of regulations and possibly incur an unwelcome penal tax charge. 

We can guide you through the latest changes including the Annual Allowance, Carry Forward and the Lifetime Allowance, which has reduced significantly in recent years.  Those that have accrued significant accrued pension benefits might need to apply for Fixed or Individual Protection 2016 and it's still even possible to take advantage of the earlier changes to these limits in 2014. 

The above information is not intended to constitute financial advice and we would strongly recommend you seek appropriate guidance from a suitably qualified and experienced Independent Financial Adviser before taking any action.

More details on our Retirement Planning Service can be found here.

Pre-retirement planning makes you aware of your future options. It covers investments and generally arranging your financial affairs so that you can retire at the earliest opportunity.

At retirement planning is deciding how you should draw benefits from pension plans and income from other investments. We’ll find the best terms if you want to buy an annuity and put together a suitable strategy if you decide to draw income from your pension and investments.

Post retirement planning involves regular reviews to check the arrangements you make at retirement continue to meet your requirements throughout.

The decisions you make at retirement will influence your financial well-being for the rest of your life so specialist advice is essential.

More details on our Retirement Planning Service here

The principles of good investment management apply regardless of the sums involved and what you want to achieve.

The principles of good investment management apply regardless of the sums involved and what you want to achieve.

Our Approach To Wealth Management

There are numerous savings and investment vehicles available to investors, some better known than others. Add to that the ever-changing, complex UK tax system with it’s various allowances and its no wonder that investors need advice to help them make the right decisions and keep their investments and financial plans on track.

Designing An Investment Portfolio

For us, building a suitable and efficient investment portfolio starts with gaining a thorough understanding of your financial circumstances, objectives, goals and tolerance to risk. We then take into account other important factors, such as taxation, to create a portfolio that has the right balance for growth, income or a combination of the two.

Asset Types And Collective Investments (‘Collectives’)

The asset types most commonly found in personal investment portfolios are cash, fixed interest securities (such as corporate bonds and gilts), shares (also known as equities) and commercial property.  Most collectives invest in one or more of these asset types.

We use collectives to achieve diversification using a blend of passive and actively managed funds. Collectives include Unit Trusts, Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) and Investment Trusts. When it comes to selecting the funds for your portfolio, our golden rule is: if we can’t understand how a manager is investing the assets in the fund, we will not recommend the fund to our clients.

Personal Preferences

Some clients might have certain ethical views and beliefs when it comes to making investments and sometimes these can be at odds with their risk tolerance and financial objectives. It’s our job as a wealth management company to find a way of balancing any conflicts to achieve a portfolio you’ll be happy with and one that will help you to achieve your financial goals.

Products And Wrappers

With careful planning, it’s usually possible to reduce the tax payable on a collective investment fund by holding it in a suitable ‘wrapper’. 

The two most common wrappers are Pensions and Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) both of which allow the funds to accumulate without giving rise to any additional income tax or capital gains tax. In the case of Pensions, it's possible to reduce tax.

With interest rates at historic lows and the introduction of the new Savings Allowance, Cash ISAs arguably have become less attractive.  Stocks & Shares ISAs could be seen as a better alternative for those wishing to invest over the medium to long term. The ISA allowance has been increased substantially in recent years and there have also been changes in tax legislation (e.g. the ability to inherit an ISA allowance from a deceased spouse/civil partner) that have boosted the appeal of this already popular investment.

Your current and likely future income tax rate can help determine the most suitable wrapper. This might include using Investment Bonds, either onshore or offshore, which can offer tax planning opportunities, such as the ability to assign parts of the investment to a lower or nil rate tax payer before encashment.

Later in life, a wealth management company can help reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax (IHT) might become an important objective for you. We’ll explain the various ways in which IHT could be reduced from simple gifting strategies to trust-based investment solutions and also certain investments that can qualify for Business Property Relief (BPR). Investments that do qualify for BPR might fall outside of the IHT net after just two years provided certain conditions are met. However, such investments tend to expose your capital to higher levels of risk.

After many years of investing, most client portfolios will comprise a mix of cash, collectives, products and wrappers – and often with a number of different providers and managers that have been merged or acquired. This can complicate administration and record keeping – and so an administration system known as a ‘Wrap’ or ‘Platform’ can provide a good solution. 

A Wrap or Platform is a computerised administration system that allows on-line access to the accounts and investments at all times. Monies can be switched easily between funds, products and wrappers and usually with reduced time and cost compared to completing the same operation between different providers or managers. 

Tax

We’ll use your personal tax allowances to help maximise the returns obtained on your investments.  Where appropriate, this includes utilising your annual Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowance, income tax thresholds and understanding whether IHT effective investments might be suitable.

Investment Reviews

Reviews, usually annually, are an integral part of our approach and are essential to ensure that your investment strategy and financial plan remains effective and stays firmly on track. 

The above information is not intended to constitute financial advice and we would strongly recommend you seek appropriate guidance from a suitably qualified and experienced Independent Financial Adviser before taking any action.

Further information about our Wealth Management Service in Tunbridge Wells and Kent can be found here

We'll guide you through the investment process from clarifying your objectives to designing a portfolio that balances risk with reward. We'll explain how you can reduce tax, simplify your financial affairs and minimise fees whilst keeping your investments flexible and accessible. 

If this is the first time you’ve seriously looked at investment planning, don’t worry. We’ll make sure you understand exactly what’s involved. We’ll talk you through the different types of investments and how they work. We’ll explain the risks involved with each option and give you a good idea of how your portfolio might look.

Our regular reviews will help to keep your investments on track. We’ll suggest adjustments to meet changes in your requirements and to reflect developments in the wider financial world. Most importantly, we work on an advisory basis so that you stay in control and have the final say before any action is taken.

More details on our Wealth Management Service here

Goodman Care Fees Advisers

Whether you’re making plans for yourself, helping a friend or relative or acting as Attorney or Deputy for someone else, we’ll advise you on the best ways to fund long-term care fees.

  • Before exploring the funding options it’s essential to have a basic understanding of how the care system works so you know which benefits you can claim now and which you might be able to claim in the future. We will ensure you’re aware of what you need to know but will also encourage you to familiarise yourself with the workings of the care system.
  • When looking at the various ways of funding care fees, we'll always take into account your specific requirements and wishes - meaning our recommendations will be highly personalised and bespoke. We'll communicate the options to you in clear terms and help you to make an informed decision.
  • Implementation of the chosen strategy is about ensuring you get the best terms, organising the paperwork and making sure everything is set up correctly. Incorrect implementation could cause delays and have cost implications in the future.
  • Where investments are being arranged as part of the funding strategy, our Investment Service includes advice on portfolio construction and tax planning. We'll also help you to keep your investments on track.
  • Our Long Term Care calculator will help you get an idea of care costs but we can also point you towards websites to help with your research when choosing a care provider. We have contacts with a number of local care providers which might also prove helpful when making your choice.

And because we are truly independent we always advise on the full range of products and options. Take a closer look at how we can help.


Understanding the care system

Understanding The Care System

The UK care system is notoriously complicated.

There's much confusion around what financial assistance is and isn’t available from either the Local Authority (LA) or the State. 

New funding rules were due to be introduced in April 2016 under the second part of the Care Act 2014. The significant changes included higher means test levels and the introduction of a £72,000 cap on care costs. However, in July 2015, the Government announced that the changes would be delayed until 2020.

Most of us will have assets in excess of the current means test capital level of £23,250 and will, at least initially, have to self-fund care fees. Contrary to popular belief, it's not possible simply to give assets away to family members so that LA assistance can be claimed. However, some benefits can be claimed that are currently not means tested. A good example is Attendance Allowance, payable to those who are receiving care. Click here for further information or if you wish to claim Attendance Allowance.

We will explain in plain English the rules that are relevant to your own situation and ensure that you're receiving the benefits you're entitled to receive – where you aren't, we'll advise how you can claim them. If you need to pay for care and your capital is below £23,250 the LA will make an assessment to see how much you have to pay towards your fees and what assistance they will provide.

In certain cases the NHS may fund care fees. NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of continuing care provided outside hospital, arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is for people with a complex medical condition that requires a lot of care and support or those who need highly specialised nursing support. Click here for details about NHS Continuing Healthcare.


Exploring the funding options

Exploring The Funding Options

One size doesn’t fit all!

The main objective is to find a way to meet the cost of care fees so that you can always receive the care you require in the place of your choice without worrying about running out of money. Of course, this isn't always possible but there are certain steps that can be taken to make your capital go further.

Your financial arrangements can be organised in a variety of ways and often the best approach can be to use a combination of options.

In many cases people express a desire to leave an inheritance to their loved ones as well as being able to pay for their care for the rest of their lives. We’ll always take this into account when considering the options and will ensure that the arrangements are simple to administer and tax efficient.

We see our role as making you aware of the various options, explaining clearly how they work and helping you to reach an informed decision that you feel happy with.


Implementing the chosen strategy

Implementing The Chosen Strategy

It's vital that the arrangements are set up correctly to avoid any future problems.

Having decided on a strategy to meet the cost of care fees and any other objectives, the next step will be to implement the arrangements.

As we're completely independent of any financial institution we can find the most competitive terms for your chosen arrangements and assist you with the completion of the necessary paperwork.

We'll then check that the arrangements are set up correctly to avoid any potential problems in the future.

We offer a variety of review services that can be tailored to your particular circumstances and wishes. Reviewing your arrangements is important because your situation could change and the financial world is constantly changing so you need to ensure your arrangements remain suitable and on track.

Care Cost Calculators

Why not spend a few minutes exploring the care cost calculators?

Click here for a link to some useful care cost calculators to give you an idea of the cost of funding care fees, based on the current funding rules.

This is only intended to give you some guidance and, clearly, your financial affairs need to be looked at carefully before you reach any firm conclusions. However, we hope you find this tool helpful.

Pre-retirement planning makes you aware of your future options. It covers investments and generally arranging your financial affairs so that you can retire at the earliest opportunity.

At retirement planning is deciding how you should draw benefits from pension plans and income from other investments. We’ll find the best terms if you want to buy an annuity and put together a suitable strategy if you decide to draw income from your pension and investments.

Post retirement planning involves regular reviews to check the arrangements you make at retirement continue to meet your requirements throughout.

The decisions you make at retirement will influence your financial well-being for the rest of your life so specialist advice is essential.

More details on our Retirement Planning Service here


Goodman Chartered Financial Planners is a trading name of Fairstone Financial Management Ltd. Fairstone Financial Management Ltd., is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – FRN: 475973 Registered in England and Wales no: 05574120. Part of the Fairstone Group. Where you have a complaint or dispute with us and we are unable to resolve this to your satisfaction then we are obliged to offer you the Financial Ombudsman Service to help resolve this. Please see the following link for further details: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.